I was happy to see “Big Blue” dropped off for review this week. The Ford Fusion has been towards the top of my list of vehicles to spend time in, since having rented its European cousin, the Mondeo, for a month in 2010. A discerning friend had purchased one a few months back in Carbon Black, trading in her Prius, and had raved about it since. This car lives up to the hype.
First up, my gripes. The trunk is killed by the battery pack. So much so, there isn’t even a spare tire. Just an air pump nestled alongside the 120v charger. The side mirrors don’t fold in when the car is locked, like the Euro model did. The interior fit and finish could go the extra mile. The aluminum ring around the center stack screen sometimes is lower than the edge of the dash that surrounds it, and on the other side, it is higher. The way the dash wraps into the door, the trim components don’t line up edge for edge, breaking the flow of an otherwise well executed passenger compartment. Lastly, the window switch panel on both front doors tapers off and down as it trails away toward the front of the car, making for an unpleasant reach when you need to open or close your front windows, and finding the natural grab/rest position to be the rear window switches, when you actually want and expect the front one.
This is a big car, which is a good thing. The sure footed-ness is evident whether accelerating on a straightaway, or diving into a corner. The power driver seat is immensely comfortable, locking you in as if it was molded for your torso by the factory race team. There are times where if the road you’re on has some waviness to it, and you’re driving at highway speed, the car’s rear end can bob up and down. As if a nose tackle is standing on the bumper, flexing his knees to make the car bounce. It feels as though the shock setup isn’t quite strong enough to control the inertia of the massive battery pack. That being said, most car buyers would not notice this behavior if it wasn’t described and pointed out to them by a gear head.
I love plugging this thing in! I don’t have a 240v charger installed at my home, but I loved knowing at night when I whipped the cord out and fumbled to get it plugged in due to the dark (please put a small LED on the plug to act as a flashlight), that in the morning the first 15-20 miles would be petroleum free. The Energi model is fully capable in town and as a highway car. It has the getup and go when you need it, yet feels like a glider soaring effortlessly with the wind beneath its wings, while purring along on the highway. Thanks to the ability to monitor my electricity consumption at home on a day to day basis, I noticed a definite usage spike (double my typical) on the days I kept the car plugged in. That being said, electricity costs are nominal, even in California, compared to gasoline.
The Ford Fusion Energi takes what you like about a hybrid, the fuel efficiency savings and forward thinking design, coupled with a trusted pedigree and a quality product, and gives you happiness and value. The Deep Impact Blue colored test vehicle had a MSRP of $41,325, including destination charges. However using the TrueCar app (www.truecar.com) gets you to more of a ‘street price’, under invoice at $37,591. This is a good starting point to use if you visit a non-TrueCar dealer, as I’ve found they will compete on price in order to earn your business. Coupled with other incentives and $1500 for California buyers through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, the sticker to drive solo in the HOV lane is icing on the cake.