Highlight: In the competitive midsize segment, this is the only vehicle available with an automatic parallel parking system.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $41,340 (Base Model starts at $35,525)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: air bags (front, side mounted and side curtain); a tire pressure monitoring system; ABS; an electronic parking brake; hill start assist system; and a perimeter alarm

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; a plug-in hybrid; a memory setting for the power driver’s seat; power passenger front seat; leather seats; a tilt-and-telescopic manual steering wheel; an automatic temperature ventilation system; a keyless entry pad; Ford’s MyTouch System; a spare tire mobility kit; and a capless fuel door opener.

Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM audio system with a 6-month prepaid subscription to satellite radio

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:
5 years or 60,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

USB and iPod Compatibility: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder hybrid-electrical system/141-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Electric Range: 18 to 19 miles for a full charge

Total Driving Range: 550

Standard Fuel Mileage:

Gas and Electric: 88 combined MPGe (Miles Per Gallon Equivalent)

Gas Only: 38 combined MPG

Other Trim Levels:

Ford Fusion
Ford Fusion Hybrid

What’s New: With the exception of adding a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and inflatable rear seat air bags, the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In hybrid is basically a carryover for the model year.

Pros: There is so much to like about the Fusion. This is the most advanced, high-tech vehicle we’ve have driven to date. Not only was our vehicle capable of running off electricity for a short driving range, our high end Titanium model was outfitted with such advanced technical features as a radar activated cruise control system, a lane changing alert system, a blind spot lane changing system, reverse audible parking sensors, a rear back-up camera with a crosswind traffic alert system and the must-have hands free automatic parallel parking system.

Moreover, our high end Titanium model added a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, a keyless push-button starter, a navigation system, heated front seats and inflatable rear seat airbags.

Furthermore, the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In hybrid we spent time with was also outfitted with form-fitting sport seats, which conformed to the front occupants back. Yes, this has got to be the best seats we’ve experienced in this segment, as it relates to comfort and ergonomics.

Lastly, the ride and handling capabilities, the horsepower and the torque was more than adequate for this vehicle, especially being that its an electric-hybrid. Yes, we can see how the current generation Fusion has become so popular, with its Aston Martin styling, since undergoing a major redesign in 2013.

Cons: The price, the limited trunk space, the lack of a spare (or compact tire) and the extremely limited 18 to 19-mile electric driving range are just a few of the items that will rankle those who are considering purchasing this almost autonomous self-driving vehicle. Yes, these are a few of the downsides of owning one of the first hybrid plug-ins.

Moreover, Ford’s smartphone-like infotainment system continues to take some time for many to acclimate to, although Ford has added knobs to help counteract some of the criticism they received from the previous hands free, smart-like phone system.

Furthermore, everything seems intertwined into the flimsy multi-function instrument panel turning switches, which controls everything from the audio system to the optional blind-spot lane changing system. We must say we prefer buttons (switches) to activate certain ‘key’ features, as opposed to tabbing through a maze of programs.

Added to that, Ford should consider adding a sliding front center armrest to accommodate all occupants. The standard fixed center front armrest does not accommodate all occupants.

Lastly, for buyers who are not normally traveling within a range of 18 to 19 miles to travel to work and/or run their typical errands, they might find that it does not make sense to invest in this electric vehicle. More importantly, its virtually impossible to find a charging station, when you’re out away from home, especially if you reside in the suburbs. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is not available in most places to charge the system.

And, just in case you managed to find a charging station, as was the case with us, it could take up to 2.5 hours to charge up the vehicle, using a commercial outlet and about 7 hours are so, using the typical home outlet. To counteract this, consumers can opt for the Fusion hybrid model, which lists for $37,440.

Buyers can also opt for a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder Fusion model. When comparably equipped to the Titanium Plug-In and hybrid models, it lists for $35,500. From the pricing structure, both the hybrid and the four-cylinder gas engine are thousands less than the plug-in hybrid we reviewed.

The Verdict: To accommodate for the price premium, we recommend consumers strictly consider leasing any electric vehicle. The technology is changing so fast, as it relates to extending the driving range for the electric-only component.

Currently, Honda offers a more expensive Accord, making it the only vehicle available in the exclusive midsize electric car segment. Even with the Ford loaded to the hilt, with all of its high-tech advanced driving features, the Ford is a better deal.

And, if the 18 to 19 mile electric driving range isn’t adequate for your daily commutes and you don’t have access to a charging station, while you’re out, we recommend the four-cylinder or the hybrid model, as the more practical economical alternative. Overall, we were extremely impressed with this high tech midsize Fusion, the most advanced vehicle in the midsize segment.

Competition: Honda Accord Plug-In

About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is the editor of an educational car-buying guide for women and minorities. For new-car pricing, a car-payment calculator and other car-buying needs, visit JeffCars.com or follow Twitter/JeffCars.

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