One of the most enjoyable parts of my job as the blogger for Acton Ford is that I get to learn about, and test drive, a variety of vehicles. Today it is the new 2013 Ford Fusion Energi. There is one on the lot ready to test drive! Though I am very intrigued by hybrid vehicles, as a consumer creature comforts, safety, reliability, and, of course, fuel economy are also very important. Hybrids were out of reach for some in the past, mostly due to cost. But as they become more common in the marketplace, the price is starting to be more inline with mid priced vehicles. The Energi line is Ford’s first plug-in hybrid line.
My first impressions of the Fusion Energi:
On first walk around I see a sharp looking mid-range sedan. One thing I did notice is two gas caps on the drive’s side. One is behind the back seat door, the other placed right in front of the driver door. Being a plug-in hybrid means that it runs on a battery, rechargeable by plugging in, and a gas engine. This is a plus because a plug-in hybrid comes with a larger battery than a traditional hybrid, allowing for more supplemental battery power. The Fusion Energy can act as a traditional hybrid, but to get the most out of it, you really want to utilize the plug-in charging feature.
This brings me to charging time. I am a busy person, mother, blogger, business owner, always on the go. The charge time on the Fusion Energi with a traditional 120V outlet is 7 hours. You can get a special charging station installed, a 240V capacity, that will charge in 2.5 hours. While I love the idea of plugging in, it has to be convenient for me to do it. The charging station can be installed for an additional fee through a program with Best Buy, which I would consider if I were to purchase an Energi, as quick charge time would be very important. The longer charge time may work for some, but you have to plug in to get all the benefits. Another point to keep in mind is you need a place to charge the Fusion Energi. This could be a con for some.
No denying, it is a sharp looking car. The view from the inside is not unlike many other cars in it’s class. The first thing I do when getting in a car is to adjust seating. The automatic adjustable seats have plenty of ways to adjust for comfort. Being on the shorter side, I was able to find a comfortable driving position in no time. I prefer to be up higher than most cars allow. The seats were able to be adjusted to a height I was very comfortable with. Even at my height, I did feel the headroom was a bit lacking, though this may not be an issue for everyone. The Fusion Energi does have 39 inches of headroom in the front and 37 inches in back. Just a comparison, the C-Max Energi has 41 inches of head room, and I could tell a big difference when I test drove the C-Max version of the Energi.
The dash has a large, wrap around feel. I prefer a more open feel in my vehicle, but again, may suit some just fine. Everything did seem in easy reach and viewable. I really like the touch screen panel on the console that controls every aspect of the car from a rear view camera when backing up, to the GPS, to climate and audio controls. It was easy to navigate and very responsive. The shift also sits in the middle, in front of two cup holders, a comfortable spot for me. The cup holders were in an easily accessible spot, and appear to be hold your beverage of choice very securely. I also liked the keyless start, but that could take a bit of time for some to get used to.
Easing it out of the parking lot was an effortless exercise, interior noise was at a minimum. The windows appeared a bit small, limiting my range of view somewhat. The only time I noticed an increase in noise level was when accelerating up a hill, the car appeared to have to work a bit. In basic level driving conditions I found the car to respond quickly, and handle effortlessly. The instrument panel of the Fusion Energi is full of customizable features that can be very handy for learning about your fuel economy and driving habits, but are likely most useful when at a full stop.
The Fusion offers leather seats, and ample passenger leg room, 44 inches in the front and 38 inches in the rear. While I am height challenged, I did note that not only was I comfortable with the room in back, there was plenty of additional room to accommodate taller passengers as well.
As with most hybrids, the battery does take up some trunk space, but with the 60/40 split fold down rear seats, there is still plenty of room to pack for a road trip, making this mid-sized sedan a very viable option for a lot of people.
This car is loaded with features and it would take a while to go over all of them. Some useful ones are the front and rear sensors, helpful when parking. The adaptive cruise control works to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles and will automatically adjust your speed to do so if cruise control is on. Leather seats are standard on the Fusion Energi, as are heated seats and individual climate controls. Voice activated navigation and a very handy back up camera are two of my favorite features.
The other thing I like about the Energi is that it can be used as a plug-in hybrid, or a traditional hybrid. This is an ideal commuter car. One thing that causes me a bit of pause is the price increase over the regular Fusion hybrid. The difference in price may well be worth it to those with a shorter commute that could often utilize solely battery power, not even tapping into the gas tank unless needed. Fortunately, the available tax credits may make economic sense for many drivers. For those that like a comfortable mid-sized sedan, and have an interest in fuel economy and driving “Green,” the Ford Fusion Energi is a very viable option.
Ford Focus Electric Charge Times
Charging Questions – Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi