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2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium Review By John Heilig


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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium
ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: ECVT
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 147 @ 6,000 rpm (188 combined hp)/129 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 112.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.8 x 72.9 x 58.0 in.
TIRES: P255/45R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 12.0 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 43 mpg city/41 mpg highway/42.6 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 14.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,668 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord
STICKER: $35,155 (includes $875 delivery, $3,760 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Ford Fusion Hybrid offers very good fuel economy. However, it is hampered by a whining electronic continuously variable transmission. 

Some day I hope to drive a “normal” Ford Fusion. It seems that every Fusion I have driven has been a hybrid. I’m not complaining. The base car is still the same and the fuel economy is great. I just wonder….

Fusion is Ford’s mid-size entry and it’s a good one. The styling is conservative, just like the others in its class. You don’t want to get too aggressive in the styling department in the fear that you might alienate a segment of the population. Over the years, the Fusion’s grille has grown and has become more Aston Martin-like.

The 2.0-liter engine has good power. We had two long Interstate runs sandwiching a spell of city driving. We also had some horrendous traffic, thanks to an accident, and then ridiculous tie-ups on the detour. The Fusion handled all well and was maneuverable in tight spaces including a parking garage. 

In our center-city run, we ran into a spate of one-way streets and had to make four right turns at one time just to find the parking garage. 

Adaptive cruise control worked well. It seemed every time I allowed my concentration to lapse, the car in front of me would brake and a string of red lights would light up at the base of the windshield. Fortunately, I was able to stop in time and didn’t test if the car would stop on its own. We also had a lane keeping assist option. The switch was at the end of the turn signal lever. There was a slight vibration of the steering wheel whenever you “strayed” from the middle of the lane. 

After we had been driving for a while, an alarm went off and the Fusion’s information panel alerted me that it was time for a rest. I pushed the OK button to turn off the alert, but it came back about a half hour later it came on again. And again. And again. It’s a good idea to encourage resting on long rides, but after a while it was too much.

Interior styling is nice with a contoured dash, clear instrument panel and exceptionally clear infotainment screen on the center stack. Eight buttons for the HVAC are too many, however. There were times when my wife and I almost gave up trying to find the correct combination to get the ambient temperature we desired. 

Front seats are comfortable with some side support. Between the front seats is a deep center console with a USB port. There’s also room for water bottles in the doors. Four assist handles aid in entry and egress. Rear seats offer good leg room. The pull-down arm rest has a pair of cupholders. Rear passengers also have access to a 110-vole outlet at the rear of the center console. 

The trunk is “only” 12.2 cubic feet, but the rear seat backs fold to increase that volume. The trunk is interesting. At the back is a “shelf” that is a result of the battery storage below. While it does reduce the volume a bit, it provides a convenient location for carrying some packages. When the the rear seat backs fold, they are level with this shelf.

The biggest complaint I had with the Fusion was with the ECVT transmission. It seemed that it whined every time I removed my foot from the accelerator and coasted, as when I was approaching a stop light. I haven’t run into this since my first CVT back in the 1990s with a Subaru Justy. There was no fault with its operation, it was just that the noise - and it wasn’t really that loud - detracted from what was a very nice vehicle. 

While I seem to be fated to drive Ford Fusion Hybrids, the package is a good one. The concept of hybrids is usually thought more as smaller vehicles, like the Toyota Prius. But the Fusion is a practical size for a family, with the added utility of great economy. Before you start sending letters of complaint, I know that there are other mid-size hybrids and there are a few very large hybrids.

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