2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

PHOENIX — Ford has made some key changes to the Fusion for its 2017 mid-cycle refresh, upping its game in the mid-sized hybrid sedan segment. While Ford decided not to make major changes to the overall looks of the Fusion, there is an all-new front end including new LED headlamps with LED accent strips. The grille is essentially the same shape, albeit smaller, with new options and fog lamps on the lower valance. The look is definitely sleeker and more aggressive.

The Ford Fusion is also the only midsize sedan to offer plug-in, hybrid and all-wheel-drive models.

Out back, the changes are quite subtle, but there is a new chrome strip that bisects the taillamps running across the entire trunk lid. Overall we think the 2017 Fusion is the best-looking mid-sized sedan in its class.

Ford talks about the “Power of Choice,” and in this case they’re referring to the choice of six different drive train options, starting with the base 2.5-liter 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Next, is a choice of three different turbocharged engines, including two four-cylinders and the 325-horsepower 2.7-liter V-6.

If you’re looking for a hybrid version of the Fusion, Ford offers a choice of two models: the plug-in Energi and the regular gasoline-electric hybrid tested here. Both are based around a 2.0-liter Atkinson engine, teamed with an electric engine, which produce 188 total horsepower, combined. Both of these versions are carryovers from last year’s Fusion hybrid models. Our best realized fuel economy was just over 40 mpg in a combination of city and highway driving.

Inside, the updated Fusion feels very familiar, with modest changes to the instrument panel, center stack and center console. There’s a new dial-type rotor that’s easy to use and replaces the traditional console-mounted transmission shift lever. Push-button start and an electronic parking brake are now standard.

On the road, we found the cabin to be noticeably quieter, thanks to the standard acoustic windshield and acoustic side glass in the Hybrid models. While the ride was more on the firm side, it is compliant with confident handling, excellent visibility and enough power to satisfy most drivers.

Ford has also made available its SYNC  3 technology system that includes Siri EyesFree capability to help drivers connect and control their iPhone on the road. SYNC Connect is available to enable owners to remotely start their car, schedule future starts, or lock and unlock the car using a smartphone. The technology can also help you find where you parked your car in a crowded shopping center. There’s also a USB port for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Other new and welcome features include new driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning with brake support, and active braking.

The hybrid model comes in S, SE, Titanium and Platinum. The Hybrid Energi plug-in in SE and Titanium only. The gasoline-only powered Fusion comes in S, SE, Titanium, Platinum and a new Sport trim for 2017.

While it would be a stretch to call driving the 2017 Fusion Hybrid exciting, we are completely comfortable in saying it’s the perfect car for most people. It rides and handles well, there’s room for five people in its roomy interior, it looks terrific, gas mileage is excellent, the audio system sounded good. It’s loaded with standard safety features and, with a starting price around $25,000 for the Hybrid S, it’s intensely competitive and should deliver years of reliable transportation that won’t feel like a compromise.

Vital Stats

Price: $25,295
Price as Tested: $34,510
Seating: 5
Engine: 2.0-Liter Atkinson four-cylinder hybrid with electric drive
Horsepower: 188-hp combined
Fuel Economy: 43-mpg City – 41-mpg Highway

Fab Features

Attractive refreshed styling
Excellent fuel economy
Quiet, upscale, roomy cabin

— Jim Prueter