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Oct 02

Road Test – 2017 Ford Fusion Energi SE

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford EnergiI’ve loved the look of the present generation Fusion sever since I laid eyes on it – when it’s approaching from the opposite direction it looks a lot like an Aston Martin from the front. However, for 2017 Ford has seen fit to re-style the Fusion to make it look more like a Ford. In addition to the new grill and front fascia it also gets LED headlights, tail lights and fog lights, along a new rear fascia and spiffy redesigned 17-inch wheels. Inside, there is now a rotary-style gear selector – very Jaguaresque, a longer armrest and improved access to the open storage area in the lower dashboard.

This is the first of three electric vehicles I’ll be reviewing back-to-back and it’s also part of a Road-Test Special: Living With An Electric Vehicle – A Day-To-Day Comparison of Three Models (Ford Fusion Energi, Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt). Read HERE

If you just want to know how the Fusion Energi faired, you can find it at the end of this review…

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford EnergiWhat Is It?   

  • Mid-sized 4-door sedan, seating for 5 people
  • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
  • Part Gas. Part Electric. It gives you the additional option to plug in or not – no change in your routine is required
  • Provides the best of both worlds – drive like an electric vehicle for short trips and/or like a hybrid at higher speeds
  • Comes in three trim levels: SE, Titanium and Platinum
  • 0L iVCT Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder PHEV engine with permanent-magnet AC-synchronous electric motor
  • Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT)
  • The engine automatically and seamlessly engages

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehicleUnique Fusion Energi Features

  • Plug one end of the 120-volt convenience charge cord into your home outlet and the other end into the vehicle’s illuminated charge port
  • Recharge in about 2.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet or 7 hours using your home outlet
  • Use MyFord Mobile app and website (more info at end of this review)
  • On short commutes, it may run all-electric and use no gasoline at all – even while cruising at highway speeds
  • An all-electric driving range of up to 35 km
  • Gas-plus-electric driving range of up to 982 km
  • Regenerative Braking System captures over 90% of the energy spent during braking and uses it to help recharge the battery
  • Large-capacity Lithium-ion battery – 7.6-kWh (the Fusion Hybrid makes do with a much smaller 1.4-kWh battery)
  • In front of the driver is a Dual 4.2″ configurable colour LCD screens in instrument cluster with SmartGauge with EcoGuide providing real-time information to help enhance efficiency. The MyView screen lets you customize screens to your liking. You can set it to see separate gauges for engine power and lithium-ion battery power and “EV” displayed when the vehicle is operating on battery power only. As your driving efficiency increases, the right-side cluster display grows green “Efficiency Leaves.”
  • EV mode button – The EV button allows you to switch vehicle operation between three modes so you can choose to use electric, gasoline, or a combination of gas and electric.
    • EV Now mode operates mostly using plug-in power;
    • Auto EV mode: uses plug-in power when possible and switches to gas engine when needed
    • EV Later mode: saves plug-in power for future use. For example, initial drive is at higher speeds on the highway, but later driving will be at lower speeds in residential areas

How Does It Look?

  • I like the look – even in the dreaded silver colour
  • The test vehicle had the optional 18″ Machined Face Aluminum with Painted Pockets rims (standard on the Energi Platinum), but the standard rims are a little bit nicer to these eyes – plus they don’t cost $700 extra
  • Other than the badging and the round plug in socket, there’s virtually no way to distinguish the Energi from the regular Fusion… that could be good or bad depending on your viewpoint

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehicleWhat’s It Like Inside?       

  • Driver’s seating position is quite good and thanks to the tilt and telescope wheel is easy to get comfortable
  • Leather-trimmed heated seating comes standard but they feel kind of flat in the seat area (probably perfect for overweight people though)
  • The driver’s seat comes with a 10-way power adjustment (fore/aft, up/down, tilt, recline, 2-way power lumbar) and two memory settings
  • The memory setting was a hit and miss affair – every 3 or 4 times I’d get in the car it wouldn’t return to the pre-set configuration. That would happen for about three or four times and then suddenly it would work again – very annoying!
  • One of my pet-peeves is the lack of support under the knees/back of the thighs and the Fusion has that same issue. I’m short at 5’7” so if it bugs me, surely it must bug people that are much taller than me. Perhaps if the seat also had a tilt feature instead of just forward/back it would alleviate that issue
  • The passenger seat is 6-way power (fore/aft, up/down with recline)
  • I loved that the heated seats and steering wheel stay on even after switching the car off – not that they keep running … but – no need to continually switch them on again when you come back to the car
  • The standard “Premium audio system” with 11 speakers sounds very good – I’ve heard expensive optional systems on other vehicles that don’t sound this good
  • Rear seat space is very good with plenty of legroom
  • The seat is sharply angled for comfort – I’m sure anyone sitting there will have no complaints – unlike the front seats, the thigh support is very good
  • Cargo/trunk volume is quite limited at 8.2 cu.ft (232 litres). Now when I say “limited” what I mean is, almost useless (see pictures)
  • The rear seats fold 60/40 which is perfect if you have to pick up a really long envelope from the post office. With the miniscule slit for an opening, the question I came up with was – Why? Why not just have a fixed rear seat?
  • As a comparison the gas-powered Fusion trunk space is 16.0 (453L) and the Hybrid version is 12.0 (340L)

Navigation System
Ford navigation systems are a special breed and get a section all by themselves. The new one in the Fusion Energi is Voice-activated and includes a pinch-to-zoom function that works really well – just like your mobile phone. You can zoom and scroll through interactive maps complete with available 3-D mapping and receive voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. That’s the good aspect… here is how it works in the real-world…

We were out and about in a different city. We were hungry and wanted to find a particular restaurant – we knew there was one in this city, just didn’t know where it was. So we used the navigation to find it and it once again proved how useless the Ford system really is. First up, we used the “Voice-activated” version: We asked for a specific restaurant in the city and it couldn’t find it (or in the neighbouring city), but came up with ‘suggestions’ by asking us what line we wanted (tell me why is that safe – to take your eyes off the road and read several lines of addresses, then touch the screen to choose, but your passenger can’t program it from the passenger seat?). There were more to choose from, but it wouldn’t allow you to scroll down without shutting off the navigation without warning!! Talking and communicating with it verbally results in dead-ends and frustration with the system abruptly disconnecting you because it didn’t like what you were trying to tell it.

We tried using the touchscreen version…Looking for a restaurant should be easy – when you’re in the restaurant category right?  Well, yes if you’re looking for McDonalds, Tim Horton’s or PizzaPizza – that’s quite literally all that came up! We were looking for a real restaurant that serves real food, but it didn’t come up in the listings. Burlington is full of literally hundreds of restaurants, but only a couple-dozen came up in the listing. When we punched in the actual name of the restaurant it came up – right beside the McDonalds and PizzaPizza listings that had previously shown up! Only 1.3 kms away… now this all happened while we were parked in front of a bookstore – how is anyone supposed to use this while actually driving? Especially since it will not allow the passenger to operate it while in motion. I’d hate the thought of actually using this in an unfamiliar city/province/state! Completely useless… this is why I never request a Ford anymore whenever I travel.

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehicleSo How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?

  • Mash the gas and flip over the sand timer… this thing is slooooooower than a week in jail.
  • According to Ford it’s got an 8.6 seconds 0-60 mph – it feels much closer to 18.6
  • Granted, this isn’t ever supposed to be a sporty car – get the Fusion Sport if that’s what you require
  • It doesn’t really matter if its off the line or just switching lanes to pass a slower vehicle on the highway – plan for your pass
  • Climbing a hill in fully electric mode is painfully slow even with the throttle buried
  • It handles somewhat soft – as you’d expect with this type of car but very comfortable
  • Steering feedback is VERY good – perfectly weighted

Horsepower: 195 (net) ~ Engine: 141 hp + 118 hp electric motor = 188 total
Torque (lb-ft): Engine: 129 + Electric motor: 117
Top Speed: 169 kph / 105 mph
0 – 60 mph: 8.6 seconds (Electric only14.6 seconds)

 What Does It Cost?  For up-to-date pricing and options in your region visit:  www.Ford.ca

To Buy…   
Base Price: $35,088 // $32,088 (internet price)
As Tested: $40,638
NOTE: Up to $7,730 in Ontario Government EV Rebates available for the Fusion Energi.

To Operate…
Fuel consumption is rated at:

  • 4L e/100 km (electricity + gas) combined city/hwy
  • 6L/100 km (gas only) combined city/hwy
  • I averaged 6.3L/100 km on the highway at a fairly constant 100 kph and 4.9 – 5.3 L/100 km over the entire week I had the Energi2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Provincial Incentive Programs
Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have announced provincially run Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs towards the purchase or lease of new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicles
Click here to learn more about Ontario’s, Click here to learn more about Quebec’s and click here to learn more about British Columbia’s program.

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehicleNoteworthy Standard Equipment on the test vehicle:

  • Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control – work great, unlike a lot of vehicles
  • Reverse Sensing System – works great in busy car parks
  • Sync3 and a 8″ colour LCD capacitive touchscreen with swiping capability
  • 110-volt power point + 12-volt power points (3) – I didn’t see the 110-volt plug anywhere
  • Intelligent Access Keyless entry with Remote Start System – (a simple touch of the driver door handle locks/unlocks the car)
  • Tire inflator and sealant kit – that means there ain’t no spare tire…
  • Leather-wrapped Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • MyKey®
  • Remote Start System
  • SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad – love this, use it all the time on my car

There is only one package/group available for the Energi: Driver Assist Package ($1,650) includes MyFord Mobile, heated steering wheel, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert, Lane-Keeping System, auto high beams, and rain-sensing windshield wipers

Individual Options on test vehicle:
Moonroof ($1,250)
Active Part Assist ($600) – for those that can’t park
Navigation ($800) – waste of money

Unique Warranty

  • Hybrid/Electric Unique Component Covers the vehicle’s unique hybrid/electric components for 8 years or 160,000 km.
  • This in addition to the standard Basic Coverage: 3 years/60,000 km & Roadside Assistance: 5 years/100,000 km

 The Competition
Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Sonata plug-in, 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  • The Good: Looks great – still one of the best-looking sedans around
  • The Bad: Lethargic if you want to floor the gas pedal and get’r going
  • The Ugly: Very limited in pure electric mode – only “up to” 35 kilometres
  • Very Ugly: Trunk space/folding rear seat – at least it has more room than the electric Focus
  • Extremely Ugly: Navigation system still by far the worst I’ve ever experienced (Honda’s was better – way back in 2005!) There’s a special place in hell for the creator of Ford navigation systems

What’s The Verdict?  
Ford EV’s have come a long way – it used to be the maximum speed was around 25 kph before the gas engine would kick in, with the Energi that number is up to 137 kph!! Unfortunately it’s a safe bet you’ll never get close to achieving the 35 kilometres in all-electric distance at those speeds, in fact I only got to 29 in a best-case scenario at no more than 80 kph before the gas engine kicked in. Based on my review you may think I didn’t like the Fusion Energi, but that’s definitely not the case, I liked it a lot and would recommend it – but you have to know its idiosyncrasies and accept the various compromises that I hope I’ve highlighted enough for you to make an informed decision. It’s not perfect, but most cars aren’t, they all have compromises. This car is perfect for my mother-in-law…she doesn’t drive far and stays in town for 99.9% of her road trips. She could plug it in every night and probably fill it with gas every other year. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there just like her. Thanks to the programming feature she could plug it in any time and not worry about electric company gouging her for electricity during peak rates.2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehicleAdditional info…
~ MyFord® Mobile app and website lets you monitor and schedule the charging of your Fusion Energi from just about anywhere to help you extend your range. It gives you remote charging status updates, so you can check charge levels and available range. It also provides you with the location of your vehicle if you’re not in it, where you can find the nearest charging stations (powered by PlugShare) and the most efficient route to get there. The app also estimates the amount of CO2 emissions and litres of gas saved, based on your driving style. (MyFord Mobile subscription complimentary for 5 years from the vehicle sale date, subscription fees apply after that)

Comprehensive Day-To-Day Life With The Ford Fusion Energi

Recharge Time (approximate): 120-volt – 7 hours // 240-volt – 2.5 hours
Programmable to come on to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates – plug it in the car takes care of the rest

 Day One…

  • Picked up the car and drove it home
  • Thanks the on-board engine, no need to worry about range or getting stranded
  • The battery was essentially empty, so not much “electric drive” other than what I generate while braking
  • Waited till after 7pm to plug it in and recharge the battery (that’s when electricity get “cheap” around here)
  • After reading the instructions, this is very easy… unwind the 25 foot cord, plug into socket, plug into Energi
  • The blue light goes around three times and then slowly turns solid as it reaches full charge – couldn’t have been any easier than that

Day Two…

    • It started raining as I went out to check on the Energi… got a bit anxious as water and electricity aren’t exactly compatible
    • I unplugged the socket from the car and wound up the cord. Popped the trunk and the blue light from the socket came on telling me the battery is full
    • We’ll take it out for a spin later, but we’re starting out on the highway, so I’ll set it to use the electricity later when we reach town

Day Three…

    • Pretty uneventful. You don’t get far with only 35 kms of range, so the Energi spends most of its time using the engine.

Day Four…

  • Used the electric mode for our entire trip into a neighbouring city
  • Drove very conservatively and rolled through stop signs to try and get the maximum out of the car
  • Reached our destination and clocked up 30.4 kms before the battery was dead and it switched the engine on. That’s almost 5 kms short of Fords prediction, the only way I could have squeezed more out would have been to run on flat land
  • I regenerated (regen) 3.4 kms as it was with the downhill portion/braking of our journey, so in reality I got 27 kms of electric travel
  • Drove home using the engine
  • Programmed the car to switch on at 7pm and charge till 3am – 8 hours allotted to fill the battery that the car says should take 6.5
  • It wouldn’t allow me to program it for today even though I’d set it for weekdays and weekends. It wanted to charge right now (4pm) and shut off at 7pm – not enough time to charge – error
  • I’ll plug it in at 7ish and see what happens. Not impressed

Day Five…

  • Drove to sister-in-law’s in the next city over – distance each way: 28.4 kms
  • This is the perfect opportunity to check out electric vs. Gas – We drove there using electric only and had about 4 kms left over, so that is an estimated 32 kms on electric only with about 4 kms added for regen
  • In reality then, the max I could get was 28 kms on pure electricity
  • This was quite hard to achieve as I drove VERY conservatively, not coming to a full stop at two stop signs and a set of lights as well as travelling completely level or downhill the entire journey
  • On return trip I switched to Auto and got 11.7 EV kms.
  • The 11.7 EV kms was achieved using the engine in combination with the battery (plus the 4 left over from the initial trip) + 2.0 Regen kms
  • Once the engine kicked on we used 4.8 L/100 km of gas (it didn’t say how much gas I actually used though)
  • Plugged it in for tomorrow

Day Six…

  • Used a combination of all electric and gas
  • Loved that there was absolutely no “range anxiety” when we couldn’t stay in all electric
  • However with only 26 or so kms in full electric mode it’s all about range anxiety if that’s what you’re trying to achieve
  • Ford claims 35 kms, but that was impossible to even get close to

Day Seven…

  • Used the gas and electric combo once again
  • It’s really remarkable how quiet it is when running only on electricity
  • Heading into the city tomorrow, so won’t bother plugging it in
2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Glovebox: Actually larger than the trunk!!

To Operate…
Total kilometres travelled: 725 kms
Gasoline used: 45.6L / 6.2L/100 km
Actual Fuel Cost: $51.44

2017 Ford Fusion Energi, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, EV, PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle


Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland
Copyright © 2017 by Iain Shankland

Also published at: Road-Test.org

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