2017 Ford Fusion Energi

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$33,120–$41,120 MSRP range
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Seamless electric-to-gas driving experience
  • Comfortable, stylish interior
  • Attractive exterior styling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Sync 3 multimedia system is big improvement

The Bad

  • Styling update barely noticeable
  • Backseat is cramped
  • Battery pack cuts trunk room
  • Thick pillars diminish forward visibility
  • Brakes feel artificial
  • Dynamics suffer from portly curb weight
2017 Ford Fusion Energi exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

  • Refreshed mid-size, five-seat, plug-in hybrid sedan
  • Front-wheel drive
  • 22-mile EV range, 2.0-liter gas range extender
  • Redesigned center console offers more storage
  • Fully charges in 7 (120 volts) or 2.5 (240 volts) hours
  • Two trim levels

2017 Ford Fusion Energi Road Test

Aaron Bragman
The Verdict:

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is an efficient and comfortable plug-in hybrid commuter sedan, but its cramped trunk limits its utility.

Versus The Competition:

There aren’t many plug-in-hybrid mid-size sedans (Hyundai makes the only other one), but the Fusion Energi is bigger and more comfortable than compact plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Nero.

Hybrid-electric vehicles have become so mainstream in the American marketplace, so widespread, they’re no longer novel. Plug-in hybrids, however, are still a bit more rare, offering up limited electric-only operation augmented by an onboard gasoline engine to extend their range. These types of vehicles come in two flavors: plug-in versions of existing gas-electric hybrids (with larger batteries and longer range), and electric cars with small engines that primarily run a backup generator.

Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 are the latter type: EVs with so-called range extenders. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is the other kind of plug-in hybrid. It shares most of its bits with the plain old Ford Fusion Hybrid but has a significantly bigger battery pack.

The entire Ford Fusion lineup got a face-lift and various tweaks for 2017 (compare 2016 and 2017 models here), including some better sound insulation, a new shifter, a mild restyling and more. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is mechanically unchanged from the 2016 version — no increased range, no difference to its performance at all. We put it to a week’s testing to see how efficient it is — and to see whether living with one is an enjoyable experience.

Exterior & Styling

The 2017 Fusion lineup's visual changes are very subtle but build well upon the car’s already successful styling. The front end features a new grille, new headlights and a new bumper design, while the back ...

Hybrid-electric vehicles have become so mainstream in the American marketplace, so widespread, they’re no longer novel. Plug-in hybrids, however, are still a bit more rare, offering up limited electric-only operation augmented by an onboard gasoline engine to extend their range. These types of vehicles come in two flavors: plug-in versions of existing gas-electric hybrids (with larger batteries and longer range), and electric cars with small engines that primarily run a backup generator.

Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 are the latter type: EVs with so-called range extenders. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is the other kind of plug-in hybrid. It shares most of its bits with the plain old Ford Fusion Hybrid but has a significantly bigger battery pack.

The entire Ford Fusion lineup got a face-lift and various tweaks for 2017 (compare 2016 and 2017 models here), including some better sound insulation, a new shifter, a mild restyling and more. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is mechanically unchanged from the 2016 version — no increased range, no difference to its performance at all. We put it to a week’s testing to see how efficient it is — and to see whether living with one is an enjoyable experience.

Exterior & Styling

The 2017 Fusion lineup's visual changes are very subtle but build well upon the car’s already successful styling. The front end features a new grille, new headlights and a new bumper design, while the back end has a new taillight pattern. The Fusion already was one of the best-looking sedans on the market, and the new one safely maintains that distinction. The Energi plug-in version really isn’t distinguishable from more conventional models; the only clue is a round charge door on the front left fender. That door features a light-up ring that illuminates when the car is plugged in, showing a visual representation of the battery’s state of charge.

How It Drives

The great thing about EVs is how silent and smooth they typically are, and the Fusion Energi is no exception. Startup brings some dings and chimes as the digital display dash and center console screen fire up, but unless it’s chilly out — or your Energi has no energy — the engine remains silent.

The Ford Fusion Energi can be operated in normal or EV mode, provided there’s sufficient charge in the battery. The Energi is powered by a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack — considerably larger than the 1.4-kilowatt-hour pack in the normal Fusion Hybrid. It enables the Energi to travel up to 22 EPA-rated miles in full electric mode before employing its 141-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to keep the car going. Combined, the gas and electric motor system provides 188 hp, which isn’t a lot for a car this heavy.

Around town, electric operation is pretty punchy and swift thanks to the characteristics of electric motors, which provide maximum torque right off the line. That smooth, rapid acceleration peters out, however, once you get above roughly 40 mph, making highway on-ramps an exercise in patiently planning your actions well in advance. The Energi is an extremely quiet car even with the gasoline engine in operation, making for a serene cruising experience at just about any speed.

One thing I noticed is that you can never truly, fully turn off the gasoline engine: Even in EV mode, if the Fusion Energi decides it needs to run the motor for whatever reason, it will. I discovered this after having left the car to sit overnight and cool down before a desired EV drive the next day.

Steering feel is reasonably good, but handling is not the Fusion Energi’s strongest attribute: The car’s 3,900-pound-plus curb weight is portly — 300 pounds more than the standard Fusion Hybrid and nearly 500 pounds more than a gas-only Fusion SE with front-wheel drive. It leans through corners with considerably more body roll than its siblings, and its tires are better suited for fuel economy than spirited grip. The Fusion Energi will be most pleasing to drivers who prefer to use it as an efficient commuter, not a back-road canyon carver.

And efficient it is: It’s rated by the EPA at 97 mpg-equivalent, but since nobody really understands what that is (and there’s no easy way to explain it), a better way to put it is to say that the Fusion is rated to go 22 miles on electricity alone, after which it gets about 42 mpg combined. Altogether, it can go an estimated 610 miles on a full charge and a full tank of gas. I was able to coax just over 29 electric miles out of it in one test without trying too hard, and it would likely go even farther in more heavily stop-and-go traffic. (Hybrids recover a lot of energy when they decelerate, making them more efficient for city driving than going flat-out on a highway.)

The Fusion Energi’s closest competitor is the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, another mid-size sedan with a similar powertrain. It has a slightly larger battery pack than the Fusion Energi, enabling it to go a rated 27 miles before the gas engine kicks in, then achieving 39 mpg combined. Its total predicted range is 590 miles. In a similar test I performed on the latest Sonata Plug-In, though, I was able to travel a superior 37.7 miles before switching to gasoline.

Joining the market in November will be the new Toyota Prius Prime, a plug-in version of the popular hybrid with an 8.8-kilowatt-hour battery and an all-electric range rating of 25 miles, followed by a 54-mpg combined rating for a total range of 640 miles. (See the review.)

Interior

The changes to the 2017 Ford Fusion’s interior are subtle, as well, limited to a redesigned center console featuring a new rotary-style gear selector. It’s a type similar to those found on automatic transmissions in some Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cars and trucks. It operates well enough, but it’s odd not to have a shifter stalk to rest your right hand on.

Comfort in the Ford Fusion Energi is decent, with supportive seats both front and rear covered in leather that’s truly black, not dark charcoal gray — a rarity in cars these days. It lends the Fusion Energi’s interior an ambiance that’s more classy and formal than somber; it’s a high-tech look in keeping with the car’s abilities. Thick windshield pillars, however, still obscure an inordinate amount of one's forward view.

The front seats are sufficiently adjustable to any body type or configuration, but the rear seats still suffer from cramped conditions. Legroom doesn’t feel as copious as in some other mid-size sedans (the Sonata has tons), and the low roofline makes getting into and out of the backseat a yoga session. Materials quality is good throughout, and the elimination of the old Ford touch-sensitive controls in favor of real knobs and buttons is something I still find worthy of praise.

Ergonomics & Electronics

One area that’s received a massive upgrade is Ford’s multimedia system, now called Sync 3. The new format for the touchscreen is a combination of the old Ford Sync and a strip of icons on the bottom of the screen, similar to FCA’s Uconnect. The screen is now divided into three regions instead of the more cluttered quadrants of the old system. It’s fast, clear, easy to use and has graphics that are a lot more user-friendly than any of Ford’s previous systems — or even many competing automakers’ systems. Connecting personal electronic devices is a breeze, voice commands worked far more often than not, and the entire system felt up-to-date and functional. Kudos to Ford for finally getting it right.

The hybrid and electric vehicle displays are also easy to use and well-integrated into the existing gauge cluster. Reconfigurable LCDs to the left and right of the central speedometer show total EV range, battery charge level, engine usage and more. All of it is controlled through two five-way controllers on the thick, comfortable steering wheel. The Fusion Energi has a well-done interior for front occupants.

Cargo & Storage

The biggest problem with turning an existing hybrid into a plug-in hybrid is where to put the extra batteries. In normal hybrids, batteries usually fit under the seats, but when you increase the size of them severalfold, they have to be placed somewhere else. That usually means eating up space in the trunk, and that’s the case in the Energi. While the regular Fusion Hybrid has a 12.0-cubic-foot trunk, that drops to just 8.2 cubic feet in the Fusion Energi. By contrast, the Fusion Energi’s main competitor (the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid) maintains the trunk room of its regular hybrid sibling, offering 13.3 cubic feet of cargo room. 

Safety

The Ford Fusion Energi has not yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the conventionally powered 2017 Fusion a Top Safety Pick Plus, representing top crashworthiness performance, but according to the IIHS, the ratings for the gas-powered Fusion do not carry over to the plug-in-hybrid Energi. See IIHS’ ratings for the 2017 Fusion here and for all mid-size cars here.

Ford has been on the forefront of modern electronic safety features, and the Fusion Energi offers just about all of them — if you’re willing to pony up some cash. My test car came with the optional Driver Assistance Package, which includes lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, blind spot warning and cross-traffic alert. A backup camera is standard, and if you want to add things like distance-keeping cruise control with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, all it takes is additional money.

Value in Its Class

Hybrids are always a little more expensive than their conventional counterparts and the Fusion is no exception. A base Energi plug-in hybrid starts at $33,995 for an SE trim, which includes things like LED headlights and foglights, dual-zone electronic climate control, leather seats and a premium sound system. It’s pricey, but it’s very well-equipped. Add some extras, such as more electronic safety systems and navigation, and you’ll come to my car’s as-tested price of $36,110, before Ford’s own “Energi Discount” of $2,000 brings that back down to $34,110.

The only direct competitor to the Ford Fusion Energi is the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, which is the other mid-size plug-in hybrid sedan on the market. There are smaller plug-in hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius Prime and the new Chevrolet Volt, but these are hatchbacks with open cargo areas, not enclosed trunks. And despite Chevrolet’s inclusion of a fifth seat belt in back, the Volt is really only usable for four people. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid performs in very similar fashion to the Fusion Energi but is able to go farther on a full charge than the Fusion; it can travel almost as far as a first-generation Volt if you drive it calmly and carefully. It’s priced a little higher than the Fusion, starting at $35,435 including destination, but it’s also a bit more powerful and has more standard equipment. Compare the Ford Fusion Energi with its competitors here.


Latest 2017 Fusion Energi Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Very nice car.

by Tacoma, Wa Driver from Tacoma, Wa on April 13, 2018

This car is a pleasure to drive. We love the electric mode, it's like driving for free. We would recommend this car to anyone wanting to have fun learning to drive an electric. Read full review

(5.0)

Loving the honeymoon period ...

by systemBuilder from Palo Alto, CA on March 15, 2018

We looked at Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Clarity Gas/Electric, and Chevy Bolt EV. The Fusion is a highly refined midwestern car. It will soak up washboard pavement and Interstates (like I-74) paved in ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi currently has 0 recalls

NHTSA Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Ford

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement up to $30 per day, full tank of gas, vehicle history report, new wiper blades and fresh oil and filter

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7 years from original new vehicle warranty start date or 100,000 miles. Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12- month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. See dealer for details. $100 deductible per visit.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Fusion Energi received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker