Ford Fusion Hybrid & Energi
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Overall

With nary a six-cylinder engine in sight, the Fusion remains one of the best-looking sedans on the market, regardless of price.

Drivetrain

A 170-horsepower four-cylinder plus two optional turbocharged four-cylinders worth 179 and 237 horsepower; two versions of gasoline-electric hybrids available in regular or plug-in guise.

Talk about contrasts. The previous Fusion was a smart choice, but the current version adds a certain star power to draw in a much broader range of buyers. The posture of the overly upright-and-blunt nose takes some getting used to, but the overall shape with the sloped roofline is simply gorgeous. During the redesign, the Fusion abandoned its V6 options, but now there are no fewer than six distinctive engine picks, including two Prius-like gasoline-electric hybrid systems. It all begins with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, topping out with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder “EcoBoost” engine with 237 horsepower. The latter is optional but a requirement for all-wheel-drive Fusions. In between is a 1.6-liter EcoBoost that carries over for 2014, but joining the lineup is an all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost. Both produce an identical 179 horsepower, but the older 1.6 beats the newcomer in torque by a slight margin. The big difference is that the 1.6 will now only be offered with a six-speed manual transmission while the 1.5 picks up the slack with a six-speed automatic. The 1.5 is billed as the thriftiest of the three EcoBoost options thanks to auto start-stop technology, but in terms of fuel savings, the Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid are really where it’s at. Both employ a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor to produce 188 net horsepower. The Hybrid’s system allows for maximum electric-only velocity of 62 mph, and has raised the fuel-economy bar to 47 mph city and 44 highway. The Fusion Energi plug ‘n’ play model uses the same basic tech as the Hybrid, but gets a 100-mpg equivalency rating; an all-electric range of 21 miles and a total EPA-estimated range of 620 miles. Available communications and safety content includes keep-you-in-line lane-monitoring system, keep-your-distance adaptive cruise control, confidence-boosting parking-spot assist and shoulder-check-augmenting blind spot and cross-traffic alerts, while inflatable belts in the rear seats are optional for 2014.

Base price (incl. destination): $22,800
Type: Four-door mid-size sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I6 (170)
Optional engines (hp): 1.5-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (179); 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (179); 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (237); 2.0-liter I4 with AC electric motor (188, net)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.); continuously variable (Hybrid)
MPG (city/hwy): 22/34 (2.4)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,320