5 Reasons Not To Buy A Ford Fusion Energi (And 2 Reasons You Should)

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NOV 18 2018 BY JOHN NEFF 64

Even with some mild updates, it’s no match for the Chevy Volt.

The Ford Fusion Energi has been updated for 2019 with a refreshed look and larger battery pack, but does that make it suddenly competitive in a plug-in hybrid class that’s constantly growing with worthy contenders? The quick answer is no, a nip/tuck and a few more miles of range does not a Volt-killer make. So here are five reasons you shouldn’t buy the 2019 Ford Energi Fusion, and because we’re always fair and balanced, two reasons you should.

*Flip through the slides above for our why not to buy and why to.

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Range Envy

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi offers an electric-only range of 26 miles, which is up five miles compared to last year’s model thanks to an increase in battery pack size from 7.6 kilowatt-hours to 9.0 kwh. Even with that boost, the Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is still a far cry from the 50+ miles offered by the Chevy Volt and Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. And after those 26 all-electric miles are gone, the Fusion Energi’s 2.0-liter gas engine ignites and drags its fuel efficiency down from the equivalent of 103 miles per gallon combined to a dirtier 42 miles per gallon.

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Seriously Compromised Cargo

The Fusion Energi’s trunk is severely compromised by the battery pack intruding into the space. A regular Fusion offers 16.0 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Energi model’s is nearly cut in half to just 8.2 cubes. That’s a little trunk for such a big sedan, and might not even handle a full load of groceries for a small family.

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Not The Purest Of PHEVs

At its heart, the Fusion Energi has always been a gas-powered car converted to become a plug-in hybrid. On account of that, it comes with inherent flaws and limitations that cars designed from the outset as plug-in hybrids – like the aforementioned Volt and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and others like the Prius Plug-in Prime – don’t have. The aforementioned tiny trunk is one. Another is the fact its body is not as aerodynamic as it could be. Yet another is weight, which wasn’t as significant a consideration for Fusion engineers when this generation of the car was being developed.

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No Selectable Regen Levels

One of the best selling points for modern PHEVs is selectable regenerative braking levels. PHEVs that offer this feature allow you to choose the intensity level of regenerative breaking, with higher levels helping to slow the car down more before traditional friction brakes are needed. In some cases, the driver can choose a level of regenerative braking resistance that’s so high, the car can be stopped without ever touching the friction brakes – this is called one-pedal braking. Alas, the Fusion Energi offers no selectable levels of regenerative braking. Its standard level is very mild and its effect on slowing the car down is barely perceptible.

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High Price

The Energi model is only offered in one of the Fusion’s trim levels, and it happens to be the Titanium trim level, which is the most expensive one. On account of that, the Fusion Energi’s starting price is a relatively high $34,595. Thanks to its larger battery pack for 2019, its federal hybrid tax credit has increased from $4,007 to $4,609, but the Fusion Energi still costs nearly $30,000 while a Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid with nearly double the range starts at $33,400 and is eligible for the federal government’s full $7,500 tax credit. While it has a bit smaller cabin, the Clarity’s trunk is significantly larger at 15.5 cubic-feet.

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Why You Should Buy It: Looks

Despite being on the market relatively unchanged since 2013, this generation of the Ford Fusion has always been a looker. Its grille-and-headlight combination have always looked Aston Marting-esque, and the car’s sleek silhouette was like a four-door coupe before that became an industry catchphrase. If looking good is as important to you as doing good, the Fusion Energi is a smart choice.

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Why You Should Buy It: Trick Charge Port Door

Perhaps I’m grasping at straws trying to find nice things to say about the Fusion Energi, but how its charge port door opens did genuinely surprise and delight me. Why? The way it pops out and rotates over to the right felt like what I imagined cars in the future would do when I was but a wee tot. I still don’t have the flying cars I was promised, but at least this charge port door doesn’t open like fuel filler doors have opened for the last 70 years.

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64 Comments on "5 Reasons Not To Buy A Ford Fusion Energi (And 2 Reasons You Should)"

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Spoonman.

Unless they’ve toned down the “L” mode on the Energi vehicles, it’s certainly not imperceptible regen.

But if you use it with a full battery the engine starts, so…

Spoonman.

Also, no liquid cooling on the battery. The air cooling does something but heavy users of the Energi vehicles have definitely seen decay.

Mark.ca

I was on the fence about buying it but once i saw number 8 I’m completely sold! With a thick charge port door like that i can sleep well at night not worrying someone would steal my electrons.

Al D

Fortunately, people are not stealing as much gas as they were during the days of high gas prices. That’s just one reason why I’m keeping my Camry or a newer conventional vehicle until solid-state arrives.

Andrew

Solid state will be here just after hydrogen
🙂 our 30kw leaf has done us proud for two years you don’t know what your missing. But carry on paying the oil billionaires if you like I save and smile every mile 🙂

Mark.ca

Meanwhile OPEC has both hands in your pockets….but you are happy no one is stealing your gas…lol…dude, you are comical!

drp

Please don’t become one of these sites that does stories using slides. I really love this site, but if you go to using this format, I will need to find a new place for my EV fix.

Steven Loveday

We do an occasional slideshow because some people like them, and also, content partners will pick them up and broadcast them to to a wider audience. Being that one of our goals is to promote EV education and adoption, this is something that is very important. However, you will never see this website relying on slideshows for very many articles.

Assaf

You got thumbs up from me Steven, as long as it’s not 50 slides to leaf through 🙂

menorman

Or LEAF through, right?

Al D

I agree. I much prefer a line of photos on one page. It’s a lot quicker for me to scroll down on my old Windows XP desktop.

SJC

Oooo, you threaten to leave…BYE!

Bill Howland

Of the 7 reasons I only saw 1 – he likes the filler port.

Spider-Dan

He also likes the looks, which is an oft-cited reason not to buy a Leaf or Bolt.

Tan

The article is incorrect, the Energi does have two levels of regen. The amount of regen while in L is quite high and very effective. It’s also convenient to change between regen levels since you don’t have to drill down into menu to change back and forth.

Tom
There are a couple other things too. The statement that the vehicle is expensive is a bit off base in my opinion. Ford sells Fusions by the hundreds of thousands so presumably customers think it is priced correctly. The PHEV is an absolute steal compared to the regular Titanium. Ford Fusion Titanium (gas): Starts at $34,340 Ford Fusion Titanium HEV: Starts at $34,480 (there’s a lower trim level HEV but trying to compare apples here). Ford Fusion Titanium PHEV: Starts at $34,595. In other words exactly the same price and in fact with the govt credit (plus more in places like CA) then the Titanium PHEV is thousands and thousands less money. Additionally some of its competition: Chevy Volt: Starts at $33,520. and that’s the base model. Similarly equipped with leather and goodies and you’re $5000 higher on a Volt. Same issue with the article comparing to the base model Honda. And as far as the Prime goes again compare to the advanced that starts at $33,000 and leather seats aren’t even available. Given the obvious price advantage of the PHEV over a regular or hybrid Fusion, the only reason they aren’t selling more is because they aren’t building more.… Read more »
Mark.ca

+1

Wayne

as someone that is 6’2″ and has a need to put people in the back seat the Volt was a non starter. its just too small inside. If you are shorter, then it is the better car, but be aware that inside is cramped (especially compared to the ford). the Prius Prime is also roomy, but effectively the same mileage on electric only. I’ve got an energy, and my commute to work and back is 16 miles, so i make it on electric only. I love this car. I’m averaging 53 MPG over 25k miles, which is fantastic. the trunk is the only real dealbreaker, its is horrendous. i had to install a roof rack (lame). Why ford didn’t put the FFE into a station wagon with a flat but high load floor I’ll never understand (plus the ford (mondeo) wagon is a beautiful machine.

Assaf

Thank you for sharing. But how do you average 53 MPG which is far closer to non-plug hybrids than to other PHEVs? I’m counting ~80 gas-free miles every week from your commute, plus the first 15-20 miles of any weekend drive. Do you take it on many long drives every weekend?

Tom
My other car (I have a Niro PHEV too) is a 2015 (non-hybrid) Fusion Titanium. Ohhh the love/hate. Rather than go on about the hate, I’ll mention a few clearly good features of my Fusion. 1. Roomy….very roomy in back. 2. Coffin levels of quite. 3. smooooth ride. My kids (and I agree) say it is like riding in a limo back there. Big leather seats, copious room in rear seats (way more than most SUVs I test drove), smooth and quiet. One of those negatives though? Gets nowhere near advertised EPA range. Not.Even.Close. Way worse than most cars. Ford is notorious for this with the eco-boost turbos (the punchy 4 banger is one of the pluses too). 25 or 26 mpg about all it can do in regular driving. My presumption on the PHEV version is that once the batter is dead, the gas engine isn’t as efficient as you’d think. You want a car to take a road trip in with 4 people? This is it. You can have a really nice conversation among back seat and front seat passengers at normal voice levels. That’s not possible in most cars.
BenGRN

I regularly get 40-45 mpg in hybrid mode. The PHEV doesnt have a turbo. Efficiency is. Posted by the Hyatt rid drive unit.

Mint

The amount of space they used for a mere 8kWh extra over the regular hybrid is a joke.

8 kWh of batteries takes 14-20 L of space, so 40L is a reasonable expectation for low density hybrid batteries. That’s 1.5 cu ft, not 8!

By comparison, a Model 3 module is 20kWh in 1.6 cu ft.

Spoonman.

For what it’s worth my 2013 C-Max Energi reports 88 MPGe over the past 15 months and ~8,000 miles.

It gets ~38 MPG on gas.

Dan F.

A vanishingly small number of traditional station wagons are sold here in the US. The trunk stinks! but otherwise it is a nice (though too big for me) car. Ford is dropping the whole Fusion line along with the rest of its non pony cars. I think this car will likely be significantly discounted, especially as it nears the end of its life, so take the list price with a lump of salt.

Assaf

I don’t know why auto journalists keep gushing about the Fusion’s looks. To me with its huge “mouth”, it looks like some tortured fish frozen in a permanent scream.

Domenick Yoney

Looks are subjective. I’m not always on the same page as this writer, but also think the Fusion design was strong. It’s held up pretty well over the years.

Kirk

I agree. You can see the Jaguar influence in the design.

Tom

When it was new the big comparison was with Astin Martin. Now everybody seems to have big grilles and most are ugly and overwrought. Also remember the Fusion’s competition are cars like the Camry which went from bland to ‘looks like it was beaten with an ugly stick’. So relative to its competitors, it’s doing fine for looks.

Spider-Dan

Aston Martin, actually. When Ford still owned them, they aped some of the design language for the Fusion (and later, the Focus).

You can see a strong resemblance with the DB9:
comment image

Steve

No matter what others will say do not buy a pure electric. A phev with a range of say 50 miles will give you at least 80 percent pure electric miles with zero range anxiety. Long distance trip charging is terrible even in the best tesla made.

David Cary

And your experience with long distance trip charging in a Tesla is…? Just got back from a camping trip in my S. It wasn’t really long range but I needed to supercharge. A quick rest stop at a Sheetz was all I needed. The bad experience – the Sheetz had a huge line and I didn’t want to spend that much time there.

Kirk

I looked at a Tesla as well. I didn’t like having to plan my trips with their app to map out “rest” stops for me to either partially of fully charge the battery. They are sure are nice on the inside and outside however. Man… those cars are REALLY nice!

Dan F.

What the heck is a Sheetz?

Andrew

Sorry I had to cut and paste from a previous answer but I took out the annoying smileys

Solid state will be here just after hydrogen.
Our 30kw leaf has done us proud for two years you don’t know what your missing. But carry on paying the oil billionaires if you like I save and smile with every mile.
Big oil must be getting flustered with all the FUD the’re writing on here.

Spider-Dan

I don’t think the oil billionaires are getting rich off 1-2 tanks of gas per year from a Volt.

Chad Johnson

Here are a couple of other reasons.
* it is a Union Made vehicle. While this may not matter to some, butt given the well documented anti worker problems at Tesla, Toyota, and Honda in the US. The Ford can offer a Union made vehicle.

* it’s engaging driving dynamics. Even Toyota has been trying to improve the driving dynamics of all of its cars, not just the Prius line. Nissan is also trying to advertise improved driving feel in the 2nd gen leaf.

Spoonman.

Ford’s Mexico plant is union? I didn’t know that.

(Fusion VINs start with 3; they are manufactured in Mexico.)

MAF

Yes, Mexican Auto Workers are unionized. But it is not made in the U.S.

Jacks

The Fusion Energi is by far the most comfortable of PHEVs in this price range. This car can handle a group of 5.
I agree with others that pricing noted in the article was deceiving since the Energi comes with a loaded package of leather seats and all of the safe-driving options.
There is both downhill and “L” driving modes which invoke regent braking.
And one feature not available on the other cars – heated and cooled seats. And a heated steering wheel, which I thought was useless and now enjoy.
Yes, trunk space is weak, yet no issues with going to grocery store, commuting, or day trips. Might be challenging if you only had 1 car.

Barry Taylor

I’ve had 2018 ford fusion plug in for 4 months . I do wish the battery would give more miles. Especially in cold weather. Here are the reasons I like this car over the the Honda Clarity. I took the Honda Clarity out 3 times for tests drives. Looks man Ford is so much better looking car. Shifting gears is so much better on the dial with the Ford. Engine noise is so bad on the clarity. Ride is about same on both cars. I’m a sun roof guy. Can’t even get one on the Honda. Seats and lumbar are another reason Ford gets the nod. Better sound system with the Ford. Easy to run infotainment system. Finally being able to unlock your car with your keys inside with touch pad on the outside was huge for me going to gym not having to bring a lock to the gym and being able to have my wallet left in the car .

Mike

I have a 2017 Fusion energi and would love to see any other plug in match it on just total miles on a tank of gas. I have driven to San Francisco and back on a single tank of gas from LA. This is a commuter car at it’s best. Good looking great gas mileage and very well equipped. My neighbors with the Prius and Volt can’t touch the overall build and luxury of the car. They wish they bought the Fusion instead. Unless your only focus is the lost trunk space the fusion beats the others on acceleration, comfort, looks, and features for the price. It really is a shame Ford is killing this very nice commuter car.

David Cary

We can all agree to disagree sometimes. A commuter car and total miles with gas? Who cares? – a commute is a commute. I have never looked at total miles with gas on a car decades before EVs came out.
When I roadtrip, I need space. That is a really big issue.
When I commute, it better be electric.
I am fully sold on EVs – a 2 EV household with no issues. But for those that aren’t, a transition would seem to be a commuter car (EV) and a roadtrip car – large carge area and PHEV. Sadly, the Fusion is neither.
But for the folks that drive long distances by themselves or with little luggage, I guess the Fusion is great. That isn’t a big percentage of people.

Tom

The trunk is so big on my ‘regular’ Fusion, I can’t even reach the stuff that slides away toward the seats. I’ve on occasion had to fold a seat down just to grab an item out of the trunk because I can’t reach it otherwise. It looks like to me even with that big block of trunk missing, the PHEV has lots of room in the trunk.

Switch

My wife has a 2017 C-Max Energi and the charge port door is annoying to me. A flip style door would have been simpler and probably more durable in the long run.

Al D

Buy a Toyota Camry hybrid or a Prius if you’re that obsessed with cleaner air and don’t want to go fully electric. Forget plug-ins and forget the Volt.

Spoonman.

@Steven Loveday, this guy simply trolls about how nobody should buy plug-ins. Can he be removed?

Mark.ca

That guy is beyond delusional!
So he wants us to buy a Camry for $28,150 msrp in place of a more optioned plugin Clarity for $24,250 ($33400 msrp -fed credit 7500 -CVRP 1500 – utility 450)!
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a fool!

Leaf Awesome
Wow such a strong bias; serious elitism. I have older C-Max. No it was not my 1st choice and originally when I saw TV add for it long time ago I laughed at it. That being said: 1) excellent Prius CVT 2) excellent for mixed city/highway driving 3) available You can talk all you want about EVs but that sad fact is that many models are simply NOT AVAILABLE!!!!! When I was shopping for Ioniq dealer couldn’t even guess at availability. No clue. Fords at least are available. When driving over 20K miles/year then range and charging is a real problem. Also in colder climates having ICE actually becomes asset when you need a lot of heat in winter. Yes trunk is annoying but most families have 2+ vehicles and 2nd vehicle is VAN/SUV/CUV/truck. For daily commutes I use my trunk …. NEVER. I find Energi to be under appreciated and wrongly dismissed as a joke. In fact design is actually very good. It can even recharge battery from ICE so you can get a lot more from limited size battery. If there were much bigger battery production capacity and battery costs were much lower then I would agree no… Read more »
Dan F.

I have a C-max energy (wonderfully cheap lease) and don’t believe you can recharge the battery from the engine; once the plug in part of the battery is drained it simply runs as a hybrid. Is there a way I am unaware of to charge the plug in part of the battery from the engine; please explain if so.

Leaf Awesome

When cruising and ICE is generating surplus power it is sent to charge batter. You can see on energy flow monitor blue line flowing back into battery. By switching mode between Auto and EV Later you could actually force ICE to keep charging battery. It is bit tricky but doable. For instance, when close to home if my SOC is say 17% I will switch to EV Later and by the time I get home it will bounce back to 20%.

Matthew

When you switch to EV hold you then run as a hybrid with about 1kWh (just a guestimate) of energy available that you can run up and down so when you switch back and forth the SOC will change depending on where in the SOC of the 1kWh that was available to you is. But as far as I’ve noticed there is no way to get from a low SOC up to anything high by using the ICE.

It should also be noted that for people who drive lightly the AER can be about 20% higher if your speeds are low when the car switches to hybrid mode. The car remembers your charging location so if it knows your close to a regular charger it will hold off on using the ICE when you’re close to your regular charging location.

Ziv

I am not a fan of slide shows, but the pictures and points were good. 26 miles is getting close to being ok. That tiny trunk is an issue, but given how roomy the cars cabin is and how sharp it looks (for a sedan) it is a nice outfit. I wouldn’t buy it due to the short AER but I bet there are a lot of people that would, if it cost less. Or cost the same and had more range. But given the compromises inherent in converting an ICE car to a PHEV, this may be as good as it gets this year.

DR

I have a 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. With every box checked down to the rear seat airbags. That being said, the car is light years ahead of the game when it comes to tech. Lane keeping assist, radar cruise control with stop and go (life saver in traffic), parking assist (more of a gimmick for me), heated and cooled seats and heated steering wheel, amazon Alexa and wake integration, apple car play. This list goes on and on. A friend has a 2018 BMW 5 Series and as far as tech goes, when optioned all the way up the Fusion can go toe-toe with some of the best in the business for a fraction of the cost. It’s a hwy monster. 75+ mph and it’ll still manage over 40 mpg, under 75 and trying I have gotten 47 mpg before on a 200 mile trip. Trunk space is an issue and so is turning radius but that’s about it.

Jerry Jarak

Actually, in a joint venture with Toyota… Ford re-engineered an Atkinson(1882) 4cycle specifically for hybrid application.
Toyota used the 1.5 liter in the first gen Prius, while Ford ran with the 2.0 liter in the Fusion.
The Fusion is simply, a bigger, roomier car, also much more luxurious than the models compared too.
Regen-)Brake assist: try activating the “Downhill descent” button. No where as-good as the other makes, but it does increase regeneration even on level roads.

MAF

This is false. There was no JV with Toyota. The 2.0L Duratech is a Ford design. You maybe confusing Mazda with Toyota, which Ford used to control.

Matthew

From what I’ve read Ford and Toyota have (or at least had when the first fusion Hybrid came out) a patent sharing agreement so Ford was able to use a system that was nearly identical to Toyota’s. At the time that I heard that I was also told there was zero shared development work between the two of them but that’s why they are so similar in operation.

Matthew
From someone who bought a fusion Energi after a leaf and swearing to never buy another gas car again some comments. Price. For 2019 yes the Energi is only 1 trim (my 18 is a platinum so all the 19 options plus extra luxury). When you compare it to the bolt/volt/clarity/leaf/egolf at top spec it’s not a lot more. Also you can factor in that it’s almost guaranteed sometime this year Ford will offer 0% financing and manufacture rebates. It’s also got all the safety options (emergency brakes and auto cruise at this trim which is optional in all the other cars). Availability, I rushed to get a new car before rebates in Ontario Canada expired. (My wife has a tesla X I had a 3 reservation but couldn’t afford a long range and knew rebates would be gone by the time base came out). I couldn’t get a prime, leaf or bolt if I had wanted one and I didn’t because of safety and comfort. I could have got a volt but that car is so uncomfortable I had made up my mind not to buy it before I left the dealers parking lot on the test drive, I… Read more »
BenGRN

L is a high regen mode on the energi. The engine only starts on braking if battery is at a high level of charge.

MAF

Like all PHEVs, the Fusion is a compromise. However, if you can live with the small trunk, you will get a well equipped, good handling, sharp looking, reliable PHEV which has lots of good tech built into it. For example, Sync3 is world class.

TheWay

26 miles electric range is below the average commute of 37 miles, that already makes it a non-starter. People are going to treat it like a non-plugin.

Dan F.

It may be a non starter for you but “people” can buy what THEY want.

Aktham Yasin

I have the ford fusion Energy titanum and i am so happy with it year of production is: 2013

VoiceofReason

Do people really even cross shop the two? I mean the Volt is a compact and the Fusion is a midsize.

Eco2008

This article misses the point completely, the reason you buy a Ford Fusion Energi is because it is a nice driving mid sized sedan in which my teenage children fit comfortably in the back. I had a volt and I loved it. But the back seats are only okay for small children. I had a Prius, it felt like a compact car and was noisy on the highway. The Fusion is the only car that drove well and fit 5 people – as long as they don’t have luggage.