Ford Fusion Hybrid: Big time ride in the family car field–and for good reason

13 Oct 2014 | 765 views | No Comment
  By Don Hammonds The more often you get behind the wheel of a certain car, it begins to explain its own story. What I mean by that is that products that are at the head of the pack are usually popular for good reason--and that's the story of the latest generation Ford Fusion in a nutshell. It has everything you want--and more.  And if this car doesn't personify the future of the family car, I don't know what make does so. It's so far ahead of its competitors in so many ways, I'm beginning to wonder if the others ought to just take a time-out, take a breather, get some new ideas and mercifully, some new styling themes to compete with the almost unbeatable Ford Fusion. What's so great?  It feels so solid.  The mileage on the hybrid Fusion is outta sight.  We got almost 60 thumpin' miles a gallon on ours in combined city and highway driving.  And don't ask us how.  We honestly don't know.  When we stopped the car at our door, our jaws dropped when we saw the informative gauge, just as yours is probably dropping too--and we're pretty certain we will get a call from Ford asking how we did. Again, we don't know!  All we know is that we drove with the cruise control system engaged, and our trip, as we recall was about an hour each way. That's it. The Fusion Hybrid, even in the mid-line  hybrid version, the SE, is almost luxury car in its ambiance.  It's stretch out in the back seat and take a nap comfortable. And the quality of materials and construction inside is top drawer, too.  The instrumentation is easy and informative to use, and of course, it's always fun to see how many leaves you are awarded for your driving! And guess what?  This is the FIRST Ford we've driven in a long time that didn't give us a pain in our rear end trying to use the Ford My Touch.  We don't know if some modofications were made for the 2014 model year, but it worked like a charm.  no complaints here. And the driving demeanor has smoothed out, too. I also think that this year's Fusion Hybrid is much, much smoother and quieter, especially in making transitions in various phases of its operations such as shifting, changing modes, etc.  The last one we drove was a bit bumpy in some areas and needed some refinement to match the competition. Base price of this  car is $27,200, and this sample came to us chock full of options--over $7,00 worth, in fact.  That brought the final price to $35,855. Standard equipment was generous, including automatic halogen headlights, easy fuel capless filter, bright exhaust tips, keyless entry, 60-40 split fold rear seat, center console with armrest, dual zone automatic vlimate control,, tilt steering wheel with cruise and audio cotnnrols, power steering, brakes and seats, hill start assist, global open and close windows, My Key, power door locks, rear window defroster, Sirius satellite radio, four wheel disc brakes, all kinds of airbags including passenger and driver knee, dual stage front, mounted side impact, side air curtain and so forth. Options included ruby red clearcoat paint, SE Hybrid technology/MyFord Touch package, rear view video camera, active park assist, through which the car can park itself automatically, adaptive cruise control, naviagation, driver assist package, lane keeping system, BLIS/with cross traffic alert, and on and on. And of all those items help explain why this car is way ahead of the class on technology. Nobody else comes even close.   Of course, job one for a hybrid is to deliver high fuel  economy. The Fusion Hybrid comes with a  2.0-liter  four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, and the mileage rating is 47 miles per gallon over all, with 47 city and 47 highway. The federal government says that by buying the Fusion Hybrid, you are saving $6000 in fuel costs over five y3ars compared to the average new vehicle.  Annual fuel cost is about $1,100 a  year, based on driving 15,000 miles annually with gasoline costing $3.50 a gallon. But we aren't the only ones that think the Fusion Hybrid (as well as the gasoline Fusion) outclass the competition. Here's what Edmunds.com said: "Although the Camry is a solid choice in this class, we  prefer the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid for its more engaging style and personality.  We'd also recommend the Fusion Hybrid over the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia  Optima Hybrid, neither of which matches the Fusion's refinement. Indeed, the  Ford Fusion came out on top in Edmunds' most recent hybrid  sedan comparison test. The closest competitor this year is the new Honda  Accord Hybrid which beats the Fusion in fuel mileage numbers, largely matches it  in terms of road manners, interior quality and feature content, and trails it  in terms of ride comfort and noise isolation. A Volkswagen Passat equipped with  the fuel-efficient turbocharged diesel engine (TDI) might be another  alternative if you do a lot of highway driving." We frankly couldn't see a single thing to fault on the Fusion or Fusion Hybrid except rear visibility is a bit tough because of the fastback roof design.  But even that won't be a problem for the 2015 version because it gets  a parking alert system as standard equipment. The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is available in three trim levels:  S, SE and Titanium. Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch alloy wheels,  automatic headlights, full power accessories, cruise control, dual-zone automatic  climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, a  60/40-split fold-down rear seat, the voice-activated Sync audio/cell phone  interface and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio  jack and USB port/iPod interface. The SE adds color-keyed rocker moldings, heated mirrors, a  keyless entry keypad, rear air vents, an eight-way power driver seat (with  power lumbar), a rear seat center armrest and satellite radio. A few option packages are also available for the SE. The  Appearance package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights and a  leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Luxury package includes foglights,  auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver memory  settings and a four-way power passenger seat. Opting for the Technology package  equips the SE with the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with 8-inch  touchscreen and two 4-inch configurable gauge cluster displays), an upgraded  version of Sync, a rearview camera and a 110-volt power outlet. Eighteen-inch  wheels and keyless ignition/entry are also optional. Springing for the top-of-the-line Titanium effectively gets  you the SE's optional features listed above as standard as well as remote  start, sport front seats and an upgraded Sony 12-speaker audio system (with HD  radio). The Fusion Hybrid SE (with the Technology package selected) and  Titanium can also be equipped with a navigation system, an automated parallel-parking  system, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control with collision warning  system and brake intervention. For the SE and Titanium, Ford additionally offers  the Luxury Driver Assist package, which includes automatic high-beam control, a  110-volt power outlet, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure  warning and lane assist. A sunroof is optional for both the SE and Titanium,  and the Titanium can be had with ventilated front seats. Overall, though, the Fusion Hybrid is a must-see for hybrid  shoppers and perhaps even those just looking at midsize sedans in general. Buy another mid sized car if you wish, but you will live to regret it if you don't consider the Fusion Hybrid and the gasoline model before buying.            

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