The Ford Fusion Energi Titanium is a plug-in hybrid that adds exemplary efficiency to the Fusion’s virtues.
What is it?
The Fusion is a familiar sight on U.S. roads. Its styling set the pace for most mid-sized sedans after its 2013 debut, and the look hasn’t changed much since.
Instead, the improvements have come under the Fusion’s still-attractive skin. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains have broadened the Fusion’s appeal, and here we’re examining a plug-in Fusion Energi.
Pricing and trims
Internal-combustion-only Fusions have four trim levels – S, SE, SEL, and Titanium. Hybrids clip off the S to be available in the higher three. Plug-in hybrids like the tester are limited to the top Titanium.
The only option on this Fusion Energi Titanium is the power moonroof ($1,095).
Add that to the $35,595 base price along with the $895 destination charge, then subtract the $2,000 Fusion Energi Discount (from Ford), and the result is a total MSRP that’s $10 less than the base price ($36,585).
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety charts the Fusion with top crash test ratings but dings it for poor headlights.
All Fusions come standard with Ford Co-Pilot360, a package of active and passive safety features. Notable for commuters is Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, which counters the stress of inching along in traffic.
The Fusion Energi shares its 188 total system horsepower with the Fusion Hybrid, and it feels about the same, with the elastic response found in other hybrids countered by the tested Fusion Energi Titanium’s with luxurious smoothness. Acceleration off the line is strong, particularly in Sport mode.
For 2019, Ford notes that the Fusion’s projected EV-only range is 25 miles. If you live on level ground and are sensible with the throttle, then it’s possible you could end up using very little gasoline on the errand run.
The CVT transmission has an occasionally ballooned response to the hybrid powertrain’s demands, and mid-range acceleration can feel slushy and indirect. The L button maximizes engine braking, but the owner’s manual recommends prioritizing the brakes over this feature on steep downgrades.
For even steeper grades, a SUV-like descent assist button holds the Fusion Energi Titanium in check.
Ride and handling
The Fusion Energi Titanium’s handling is a delight. European-inspired suppleness and firmness imbued the test car’s response as it sliced through curves while sending usable feedback to the steering wheel. No slop, and this Fusion Energi Titanium felt ready to go wherever you pointed it.
Supple and firm also describes the Fusion’s front buckets. The lower cushion tips up for thigh support, and the side bolsters are grippy while allowing for a wide range of bodies.
The driver’s lumbar support isn’t adjustable for height, and it pressed into the hips of your 6’1″ author – too low.
The Fusion Energi Titanium’s rear seat has large-car legroom, more than 38 inches. And 37.8 inches of headroom is enough for six-footers, even under the slanted roof.
The trunk is where the Fusion Energi Titanium makes the most hybrid concessions. The battery hump eats up a chunk of room, and the trunk lid’s hinge housings eat up useful space as well. It’s a mere 8.2 cubic feet of capacity, very nearly half that of a non-hybrid Fusion.
A run for the mail and groceries is no sweat, but the trunk won’t take much more than that. And, the rear seat does not fold down.
Underneath there’s no spare tire, only a tire repair kit of conditional usefulness.
Infotainment and controls
Ford’s SYNC 3 system is straightforward, with clear graphics and consistent responses.
The Fusion Energi Titanium has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, and it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Waze navigation.
The screens facing the driver have useful functionality. The right side can access phone, navigation and other essentials.
The left side can display an “Engage” screen, which aims to encourage a fuel-saving driving style.
The Fusion Energi Titanium is slated to be phased out, as are all Fusions, in deference to ever-growing crossover demand. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer car, as the Fusion Energi Titanium does so much right.
The Fusion is built to a generally high standard, however the collection of plastics that formed the exterior door handles creaked sometimes when pulled. It’s a small flaw, one that has followed the Fusion throughout its product cycle, but an element in constant use should be unfailingly solid.
Niggles aside, the Fusion Energi Titanium is roomy and comfortable, and it’s loaded with up-to-date technology that backs up this plug-in hybrid’s parsimony with confident handling.
That’s not as common a combination as it should be, and the Fusion Energi Titanium will be missed after the last one is built.
2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium
Base price: $36,595
Fusion Energi Discount: $2,000
Price as tested, including $895 destination charge: $36,585
Power moonroof: $1,095
- Enduring styling
- European driving feel
- Comfortable ride
- Slushy mid-range CVT response
- Limited cargo capacity
- Creaky exterior door handles