The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE is our test drive this week, and up front I’ll admit this car surprised the heck out of me. Fusion Energi works on electric, gas or a combination of both and for a full week, I put over 500 miles on the odometer and still had a quarter tank of fuel left.
For the record, 2014 Ford Fusion Energi is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid sedan that comes in two trim levels, SE and Titanium, with both utilizing CVT transmissions.
With Fusion Energi, Ford delivers a true hybrid plug in vehicle that combines the best passenger comfort, electric/gasoline performance and mid-size dimensions that outpaces the competition.
Utilizing a 2.0-Liter Atkinson-Cycle inline-4 Energi Plug-In Hybrid Engine that develops a total of 188 horses, the Energi can run completely on electric for 21 miles and deliver 100 MPGe electricity only rating. When in combination with the inline-4, the combined EPA rating comes in at 43 combined.
The Fusion Energi model doesn’t come cheap, especially since Ford offers a non-plug in, 300 pound lighter sibling Fusion Hybrid that starts at $27,280 and delivers an impressive 47/47 EPA numbers.
Could the regular Fusion Hybrid be the better value for most consumers? Yes, it can, as the $10,000 base price differential can buy lots of fuel along the way.
Still, Fusion Energi delivers what Fusion Hybrid doesn’t and is the “greener” of the two. Specifically, Energi offers three distinct drive modes at the press of a button. An EV Now “all-electric mode” allows Fusion Energi to accelerate to 85-MPH and still go 21 miles on full electric. Acceleration in electric only is slow, but it will get you up to turnpike speeds.
Next, there’s an EV Automatic mode that utilizes both electric and gas, and is similar to Fusion Hybrid. The final mode is nearly full gas engine power, which allows the battery to build more energy for later use.
Major drawbacks? Yes, two worth mentioning.
First is the trunk, where the much larger Energi battery system shrinks cargo capacity to a scant 8.2 cu. ft. This number is far from a regular Fusion’s 16 cu. ft., and smaller than Fusion Hybrid’s 12 cu. ft.
Second is price. As noted, a $10,000 base price differential can’t be ignored. However, if you want the most advanced electric plug in on the road, 2014 Fusion Energi is a good choice.
Similar to competitors Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius plug-ins, once you use up the allotted “electric only” capacity, Fusion Energi operates like its sibling Fusion Hybrid. Personally, I drive a 32-mile work commute, which means I am able to utilize electric only and perhaps a quart of fuel when the gas engine finally kicks in. (You’ve got to love this.)
Our Energi tester came with amenities and standard features like leather interior, 17-inch alloys, foglamps, heated auto-dimming mirrors, power heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, tilt-and-telescoping, cruise, MyFord Touch eight-inch LCD screen and a six-speaker stereo Sirius satellite setup with CD, iPod and USB.
Options on our tester included an $895 Park Assist, $190 Rear inflatable airbag seatbelt, $1,140 Driver Assist package, $295 rearview camera, $520 Intel Access with pushbutton start, $795 navigation system, $295 reverse sensing, and a $995 adaptive cruise control system with collision warning and brake assist.
The plug in is mounted on the driver side front fender and is easy to hook up. Remember your electric bill will go up, but the return on investment is clearly in Ford’s favor. Energi will fully charge in 7-hours using a 120 outlet or just 2.5-hours using a 240. All modern safety items are standard and Fusion receives an overall Five Star NHTSA safety rating.
Energi’s cabin is top notch, too, with “Lincoln-like” enhancements greeting driver and passenger. Your Ford dealer will explain everything about the Fusion Hybrids when you visit the showroom.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, 3,913 lb. curb weight, and a 14 gal. fuel tank.
In summary, competitors Toyota Prius Plug-In comes in at 95 MPGe while Chevrolet Volt comes in at 98 MPGe , both delivered in smaller footprints than the larger Fusion. (Volt is a four passenger). New this year is a 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid which seems closer to Fusion Energi on paper and we’re hoping to test one soon.
Bottom line? I loved the 2014 Fusion Energi, although the Fusion Hybrid might be your better choice based on price alone.
Likes: Plug in system, MPGe ratings, safety, beautiful car overall.
Dislikes: Rear camera an option, trunk space, high price.
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for BestRide.com, More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications)