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2014 Ford Fusion Energi - Heels On Wheels Review +VIDEO


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2014 Ford Fusion Energi

KATRINA SAYS - The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi's plug-in hybrid system optimizes your vehicle’s relationship with fossil fuels while still being able to output 188 horsepower in a quick manner.



HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE FUSION ENERGI VEHICLE
The Fusion Energi remains on the short list for smart powertrain technology, able to harness 188 horsepower and reach 620 miles on when fully charged. That’s an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 100 miles-per-gallon equivalent –or 43 MPG with gas only as this vehicle survives on a system that still uses a 2-liter Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a lithium-ion battery and electric motor.

I drove a 2014 Ford Fusion Energi with the 188-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Available in two grades – SE and Titanium – my Titanium trim came with the following standard features: leather upholstery; front power seats; steering wheel mounted controls; Ford MyKey; the voice-activated SYNC with MyFord Touch entertainment system; upgraded twelve-speaker Sony audio system with XM and HD Radio; reverse sensing system; rearview camera; fog lamps; seventeen-inch wheels; chrome exhaust tips; keyless keypad entry; and push-button start. Price as described came to $40,500.

The Fusion underwent refreshed interior and exterior styling last year. Main competitors include a round-up of other green-minded yet elegant sedans like the Chevrolet Volt, Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Honda Accord Plug-in and Toyota Avalon Hybrid.


Watch "Ford Fusion - Challenging Expectations"


HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Inside is a spacious interior that beats the Nissan Leaf and four-passenger Chevrolet Volt sedan by a long shot that’s both plush and tech-focused. Yet my top-of-the-line Titanium was without a few standard features like a moonroof, heated and cooled seats, and even a navigation system – you have to pay extra for these, along with a suite of safety technology (likely in next model year if nothing exciting changes, some of these options will become standards under the Titanium trim to keep competitive).Touch-sensitive icons on the center stack replace tradition button controls. The display screen graphics are incredible, but unfortunately the system ignites frustration due to slow-responding commands and SYNC’s complexity: prepare to tap repeatedly and pull out the user manual.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi is a Top Safety Pick “+” with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Ford Fusion Hybrid its highest overall score of 5-Stars.

Cost Issues: At a starting price of $34,700, the Fusion Energi is one of the more expensive hybrid options – as is the Chevrolet Volt at $34,185. And like most Fords, the price continues to grow with each desirable option: additions to my Titanium trim included a $895 Active Park Assist; $995 Adaptive Cruise Control system; $795 navigation system; $190 inflatable rear seatbelts; and $1,140 Driver Assist Package that gave me a lane keeping system and blindside with cross traffic alert. That rocked my total price to $44,515.

Activity & Performance Ability: Charging requires just a simple connector cord plugged into vehicle’s side charge port, with illuminating visual quadrants indicating the level of charge. It takes as little as two-and-a-half hours using a common household 240-volt outlet for a full recharge; and just overnight with a 120-volt. Performance feedback is relatively the same as the Hybrid model, with the major trademarks being sufficient highway power, quite cabin environment, and improved road feel due to suspension tweaking. The Energi does have better cadence when inching the vehicle in and out of parking spaces at low speeds.

The Green Concern: The Fusion Energi delivers more than 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent – that’s 8 more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 more than the Toyota Prius Plug-in. When it switches to gasoline, fuel economy is 43 miles-per-gallon, which is better than the Toyota Avalon Hybrid’s 40MPG and Volkswagen Jetta’s TDI diesel system at 34MPG.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
Bold power, sporty style, safe results and excellent fuel economy make the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi a tempting eco-sedan choice, but shoppers should consider the significant price increase the options can cause along with a finicky SYNC tech system.

©2014 Katrina Ramser