The Ford Fusion has anchored the automaker’s sedan lineup for a decadeâ€”it elbowed aside the Taurus to do so. But as sedans have made way for crossover SUVs, so will the Fusion. Ford will soon stop making the Fusion as it trims its passenger-car lineup.
The current Fusion’s styling was groundbreaking when it came out in 2013, and it remains lean and handsome. Mechanically there isn’t one thing wrong with it, including a choice of four good engines plus two hybrids, a smooth ride, secure handling, and great safety scores.
For 2019, the Fusion bodywork is tweaked and all models gain automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. The lineup is slightly changed to S, SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport models. The Hybrid can be ordered in SE and SEL trim, while the plug-in hybrid Energi comes in Titanium trim only. It has a 25-mile all-electric range, an increase of 3 miles over last year.
There are four available engines plus the hybrid: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter turbo-4, 2.0-liter turbo-4, and 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. The hybrids use a 2.0-liter inline-4 with two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack All Fusions use a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The base 2.5-liter engine makes 175 horsepower and is totally ordinary, with less power than rivals’ base engines.
The 1.5-liter turbo-4 only raises the horsepower to 181, but it has more torque and better fuel economy, marginally helped by stop/start technology. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 breaks the 200-horsepower barrier with 245 hp.
The 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 325 horsepower and a relative earth-shaking 380 pound-feet of torque. It comes in the Sport model with all-wheel drive. All other Fusions are front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive optional.
Both Hybrid sedans blend a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with twin electric motors, having a combined output of 188 horsepower. Tucked into the hybrid sedans’ trunks is a lithium-ion battery packâ€”1.4 kwh in the Hybrid and 9.0 kwh in the Energi. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) shuttles power to the front wheels.
From a totally depleted battery, recharging takes 3 to 4 hours, using a Level 2 (240-volt) charging station. Plugged into a 120-volt household outlet, charging takes about 7 hours.
EPA fuel mileage for the base 2.5-liter engine is 21/31/25 mpg. The 1.5-liter turbo 4, with start/stop technology, gets better mileage, while still on regular fuel: 23 mpg city, 34 highway, 27 combined.
The 2.0-liter turbo-4 with all-wheel drive is rated at 20/29/23 mpg, while the Sport’s V-6 drops those figures to just 17/26/20 mpg. These two engines need premium fuel.
The Fusion Hybrid is rated at 43/41/42 mpg, while the Energi plug-in hybrid is rated at 103 MPGe, or 42 mpg combined. Some hybrid competitors do better, especially the newest Toyota Camry, which is EPA-rated at 52 mpg combined.
Safety scores are great. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Fusion its top Good scores in every crash test. The standard automatic emergency braking system earned the top â€œSuperiorâ€ rating. Still, the headlights are rated “Poor.â€
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Fusion five stars overall, including five stars for side-impact but only four for frontal crash protection and four for calculated rollover.
Fusion S ($22,840) comes with the 2.5-liter engine, front-wheel drive, cloth seats, cruise control, air conditioning, rearview camera, pushbutton start, SYNC infotainment, Bluetooth, 16-inch wheels, steering-wheel controls, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD player. For 2019 all models get standard automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. All-wheel drive isn’t available. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Fusion SE ($24,120) comes with the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and adds power front seats, 17-inch wheels, satellite radio, and LED exterior lighting. All-wheel drive ($27,775) comes with an option package that includes other features, namely the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
The front-wheel-drive SEL ($28,580) comes with the 1.5-liter turbo engine and more equipment than the SE. The all-wheel-drive SEL ($32,065) comes with the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
Fusion Titanium ($34,340) has the 2.0-liter turbo-4. Also standard are heated front seats, SYNC 3, dual-zone automatic climate control, sport seats with leather surfaces, 12-speaker Sony audio, HD radio, 18-inch wheels, and ambient lighting. All-wheel drive adds $2,000.
Fusion AWD Sport ($40,015) gets the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, adaptive shock absorbers, shift paddles, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, leather/suede seats, nine-speaker audio, aluminum pedals, and active noise cancellation. All-wheel drive is standard.
Fusion Hybrid SE (about $27,000) has power front seats, satellite radio, and LED lighting.
Fusion Energi Titanium has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, 18-inch wheels, leather seats, heated front seats, SYNC 3 infotainment, satellite radio, 12-speaker Sony audio, ambient lighting, and rear spoiler.
The Fusion’s graceful silhouette and gallant stance are carefully proportioned. Its simple, horizontal oval grille draws the eyes. When the Fusion first came out, many thought it was an Aston Martin. The similarity is no accident, as the companies were joined at the time.
From any angle, it’s about as fine-looking a sedan as can be found. It offers a presence that suggests timelessness.
At the rear, it could be mistaken for a more expensive German sedan, with LED taillamps separated by a thin chrome strip.
The cabin has improved over the Fusion’s life. Chrome rings surround the gauges and some controls. The display screen is quite small on the S model. Hybrids have a glass-covered cluster of gauges, which can be configured to show the desired data and graphics.
The shapely front seats are supportive and well-bolstered. There’s good front headroom and legroom, while tall doors help make entry and exit easy. Forward visibility is excellent, thanks to a high driver’s seat, abundant glass, and narrow roof pillars.
The cabin might not be striking but it is fairly functional, with a rotary gear knob that’s easy to use, and a good number of storage bins. And it’s quiet, except for the rumble of the Sport model with its twin-turbo V-6.
The plush Titanium model has quilted leather seats and door panels. Two adults fit okay in the rear, but a third will be a bit snug. The Fusion has moderate leg room for a car of its size, and the seat cushion in back is flat, but the seats fold to reveal very good trunk space of 16 cubic feet.
The Fusion S is the cheapest and least powerful Fusion, with a 2.5-liter inline-4 rated at 175 horsepower. Its power peaks highâ€”at about 4,500 rpmâ€”meaning it needs to be revved for good acceleration. The base engine works well enough with the 6-speed automatic transmission, which is shifted via a knob in the center console. It’s an adequate setup overall.
The 181-hp, 1.5-liter turbo-4 in SE and SEL models is tuned for better torque at the low end and delivers good acceleration from a stop and decent passing power. The 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the Fusion Titanium is much swifter, with strong acceleration from a standstill. It’s definitely worth while for those who live around mountains. It feels particularly well matched to the paddle-shifted 6-speed automatic.
The Fusion Sport’s 2.7-liter V-6 makes a hefty 325 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque. Its acceleration is properly brisk, zero to 60 mph in a bit more than six seconds. This engine comes into its own at highway speeds, where mid-range passing is its forte. Long highway passes unreel without fuss. It sounds lusty, too.
With all three turbo engines, the 6-speed automatic does a good job putting power to the ground. The 1.5-liter engine is front-wheel drive only, while all-wheel drive is optional with the 2.0-liter and standard with the V-6.
The ride in Fusions with the 4-cylinder engine is charming: tight and controlled, firm yet absorbent, even with the bigger wheels.
With well-tuned electric power steering, the 4-cylinder Fusion responds smartly to driver inputs. We wouldn’t call it agile, but the Fusion’s steering is a bit more taut and accurate than other midsize sedans. It’s a bit light on road feel, but well-weighted. Actually, 4-cylinder Fusions dig into corners better than the Sport with its heavier V-6 engine, and can be more fun to whip along a curvy road.
The Sport uses adaptive dampers that adjust for the shorter and stiffer sidewalls on its 19-inch tires. But the ride is still very firm, just short of harsh. The body motions are tautly controlled. The Sport’s steering is eager, crisp and consistent.
As for the hybrids, neither Hybrid SE/SEL nor Energi stand out at first glance. For 2019 the Energi boasts a larger capacity battery that increases the all-electric range to 25 miles, says Ford.
Both hybrids are enjoyable to drive. They steer a bit more heavily than the other models, but not much, and they have the same good, quiet ride. Brake blending is a high point on the Fusion hybrids. They combine regenerative and friction braking better than most hybrid systems.
The 2019 Ford Fusion is still one of the best mid-size sedans available. It ticks all the boxes: stylish looks, a choice of six powertrains so you can’t go wrong, smooth ride, sharp handling, Sync 3 infotainment, and in 2019, very good safety.