2017 Ford Fusion First Review
There may be no other car in the midsize sedan segment that appeals to a broader spectrum than the Ford Fusion. It's the only midsize sedan to offer plug-in, hybrid and all-wheel-drive variants. So when Ford updated Fusion for 2017, the company made careful, smart improvements that may seem minor, but make driving the Fusion a more pleasant experience.
The 2017 Fusion isn’t all-new, and while the new sedan feels very familiar, the center stack and console have been redesigned, with a dial-type controller replacing the traditional console-mounted transmission lever. There's also a generous amount of soft-touch material, and the cup holders were relocated to the right of the dial. The transmission selector is well placed and easy to use. The cleaner layout creates a spot for the standard electric parking brake, while opening more storage space. It also makes the interior feel airy and open. Like the new parking brake, push-button start is also standard.
In addition, the cabin is quieter, thanks to use of a standard acoustic windshield. Making the environment even more serene is acoustic side glass in Hybrid, Energi and Sport models, and in models with leather. (Leather surfaces tend to reflect more sound than cloth.) Making the Fusion quieter yet is available Active Noise Control, which we experienced in the Fusion Hybrid. The result of all this acoustic work is that the Fusion's interior, which wasn't overly noisy before, is now significantly quieter. There's also a new trim level, the Platinum, which is the most luxurious Fusion offered by Ford. The one we drove came with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost, top-tier connectivity and audio, heated and cooled seats, and quilted leather, with an as-tested price of just under $38,000.
In the past, Ford has received criticism for its Sync connectivity. Yet with every generation, the system improves. The Fusion uses the newest version, Sync 3, with a highly intuitive layout and a clear, easy-to-read screen. Sync 3 also allows you to use Siri Eyes Free to safely control your phone while you drive. Below the navigation screen and climate and stereo is a new storage area, at the center of which is a USB port for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other welcome optional features include a blind-spot information system, a new version of park assist that'll now help when parallel parking or parking in a perpendicular space, as well as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
There's also Sync Connect, an option with Sync 3, which can allow you to use your smartphone to lock and unlock the car, start the car remotely or set up a schedule of when you'd like the car to start. It can also let you know where the car is, handy in a large parking lot ("Did we park in Goofy 3E or Mickey 10G?"), and give you current vehicle stats like tire pressure and how much gas is left in the tank.
For 2017, the engine list is up to six, including a 2.5-liter inline-4; a decent 181-horsepower, 1.5-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder; an engaging 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder; the Fusion Hybrid; the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, and an upcoming 325-horsepower, 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost in the Fusion Sport. We didn't get to drive all of them, but Ford provided a good sample of the line.
While the 1.5-liter EcoBoost won’t win any drag races, it offers plenty of power for the daily commute as well as impressive fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway. It uses auto stop-start, which is defeatable and fairly smooth in operation. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost has the response and thrust of a V6. This engine’s fuel economy (21/31) isn't as good as the 1.5-liter, but provides an excellent balance of power and efficiency.
The hybrids, which team electric motors with 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines, have been updated for more efficiency. The Energi now has Auto mode or EV Now mode which allows the car to be driven by electric power up to 19 miles. While Fusion Hybrid fuel economy stays essentially the same for 2017 (43 mpg city, 41 mpg highway), Ford anticipates the 2017 Fusion Energi's fuel economy will improve on the 2016 model's 88 MPGe. On our drive route, our best fuel economy was 47.5 mpg on hilly roads, admittedly on a section with more downhill stretches than uphill. What will surely be the star of the line will be the high-performance Fusion Sport. We didn’t get to drive it, but between its best-in-class horsepower, standard all-wheel drive, larger brakes, real-time adaptive suspension and sport mode with paddle shifters, this is a model we are eager to try.
The Fusion goes on sale this summer followed by the Fusion Sport before fall. The non-hybrids come in S, SE, Titanium, Sport and Platinum trim levels. Prices start at $22,995 for the S, from $34,350 for the Sport and begin at $37,495 for the new top-of-the-line Platinum. The Fusion Hybrid, with S, SE and Titanium trims, has a price range of $26,060-$31,395 and the Energi's SE, Titanium and Platinum pricing ranges from $31,995-$41,995 to start.