What’s New for 2014
For 2014, the Ford Fusion Hybrid lineup expands to include a less expensive base S trim level. Newly available features include inflatable rear seatbelts, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.
Within the hybrid sedan segment, the pickings are pretty slim. This is especially true if you’re looking for one with an upscale vibe that doesn’t carry a premium price tag. The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is one of the few hybrid midsize sedans that meets these requirements with its neatly tailored styling, fine road manners and wealth of high-tech luxury and safety features.
Of course, job one for a hybrid is to deliver high fuel economy. The Fusion Hybrid’s got you covered here, too. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, the Fusion Hybrid boasts EPA fuel economy numbers of 47 mpg in all three cycles: city, highway and combined. That’s a rare achievement considering that most hybrids do their best work in the city. These numbers are also considerably higher than those of the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Although the Camry is a solid choice in this class, we prefer the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid for its more engaging style and personality. We’d also recommend the Fusion Hybrid over the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid, neither of which matches the Fusion’s refinement. The closest competitor this year is the new Honda Accord Hybrid, as it largely matches the Fusion in terms of road manners, interior quality and feature content. A Volkswagen Passat equipped with the fuel-efficient turbocharged diesel engine (TDI) might be another alternative if you do a lot of highway driving.
Overall, though, the Fusion Hybrid is a must-see for hybrid shoppers and perhaps even those just looking at midsize sedans in general.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. (The plug-in, extended-range version of the Fusion Hybrid, called the Fusion Energi, is reviewed separately.)
Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, the voice-activated Sync audio/cell phone interface and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB port/iPod interface.
The SE adds color-keyed rocker moldings, heated mirrors, a keyless entry keypad, rear air vents, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a rear seat center armrest and satellite radio.
A few option packages are also available for the SE. The Appearance package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Luxury package includes foglights, auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver memory settings and a four-way power passenger seat. Opting for the Technology package equips the SE with the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with 8-inch touchscreen and two 4-inch configurable gauge cluster displays), an upgraded version of Sync, a rearview camera and a 110-volt power outlet. Eighteen-inch wheels and keyless ignition/entry are also optional.
Springing for the top-of-the-line Titanium effectively gets you the SE’s optional features listed above as standard as well as remote start, sport front seats and an upgraded Sony 12-speaker audio system (with HD radio).
The Fusion Hybrid SE (with the Technology package selected) and Titanium can also be equipped with a navigation system, an automated parallel-parking system, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control with collision warning system and brake intervention. For the SE and Titanium, Ford additionally offers the Luxury Driver Assist package, which includes automatic high-beam control, a 110-volt power outlet, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning and lane assist. A sunroof is optional for both the SE and Titanium, and the Titanium can be had with ventilated front seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine joined to an electric motor that’s fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they produce 188 horsepower that’s sent to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).
According to the EPA, the Fusion Hybrid achieves an estimated 47 mpg city/47 mpg highway and 47 mpg in combined driving. That’s by far the best of any midsize hybrid sedan and just a few mpg lower than the vaunted Toyota Prius.
In Edmunds track testing, the Fusion Hybrid posted an 8.4-second time to 60 mph, placing it alongside the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid in acceleration.
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. The Ford Sync system includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Also standard is Ford’s MyKey, which can be used to set certain parameters for teen drivers.
Optional equipment includes parking sensors and a rearview camera, as well as a number of driver assist systems. These include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver drowsiness detection, lane-departure warning and lane assist (it automatically helps the driver keep the car in its lane) and collision warning with brake support.
In Edmunds testing, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 132 feet, which is a little longer than average for its class.
The government gave the Fusion Hybrid five out of five stars for overall crash protection, along with five stars for frontal protection and four stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the non-hybrid, but otherwise similar Fusion the highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, high-quality materials show Ford’s continuing dedication to improving the passenger environment. The dashboard and center stack are uncluttered and tastefully designed, although this look can come across as austere and uninviting, especially with the all-black interior.
With the highly adjustable power driver seat, just about everybody should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The passenger seat is just as supportive, while the split-folding rear seats are well contoured and have plenty of legroom. You might think that the Fusion’s swoopy styling would cut down on rear headroom, but it’s comparable to its competition, with enough clearance for normal-size adults. Outward visibility to the front is good thanks to the Fusion’s relatively slender front roof pillars.
Less appealing is the optional MyFord Touch system. The 8-inch main display controls various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice (Sync), touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It’s a smart idea in theory, and it does provide some nice customization and smartphone integration possibilities. Unfortunately, there’s a learning curve involved for the user, and we’ve found the system prone to glitches and slow to respond. In addition, many of the touchscreen icons are difficult to locate and press while on the move.
Compared with the standard Fusion, the Hybrid’s trunk space takes a hit due to the packaging of the battery pack. As such, the Hybrid’s checks in at 12 cubic feet, or 4 fewer cubes than the non-hybrid Fusion. Still, that’s on par with the trunks of other midsize hybrid sedans.
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid’s acceleration is adequate for daily use around town. There’s generally enough passing power on the highway, too, especially if you plan ahead. As with most hybrid cars, acclimating to the regenerative braking system (which is used to recharge the battery pack) requires a little time, and inching either forward or backward into a parking stall takes a delicate touch on the brake pedal.
Thanks to extensive acoustic insulation, Ford has made good on its promise of low levels of road and wind noise. At a 70-mph cruise, the Fusion Hybrid is still luxury-car quiet. The only time we’ve found the Fusion Hybrid louder than a non-hybrid Fusion is during maximum acceleration, when the engine is working its hardest.
Thanks to its sophisticated suspension design, the 2014 Fusion Hybrid possesses impressive handling and ride dynamics. Driven through turns, the Fusion Hybrid is confident and composed, and its steering is remarkably communicative.