2014 Fusion New Car Test Drive
When the five-passenger Ford Fusion debuted for 2013, many hailed it as the best-looking car in its class. Its wide grille and sleek lines make the Fusion appealing to the eye, and its wide range of available powertrains, including gas, hybrid, and plug-in, make it appealing to a variety of drivers.
New for 2014 is a turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that makes an estimated 178 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, slightly more on both counts than the base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost is expected to be the most fuel-efficient of all the gasoline powertrains. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine with the automatic is no longer available. Also new on the Fusion for 2014 are updated exterior colors and interior trim options.
Four gasoline engines are available on the 2014 Ford Fusion: The base 175-hp 2.5-liter four cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that earns an EPA-estimated 22/34 mpg City/Highway; a 178-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost that's available only with a 6-speed manual earning 25/37 mpg City/Highway; a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a 6-speed automatic that is rated at 22/33 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel-drive and 22/31 mpg with the Titanium trim's optional all-wheel drive; and finally, the new 178-hp 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
Fusion Hybrid models pair a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT). It's good for a maximum of 188 net horsepower, with fuel economy rated at 47 mpg in both city and highway driving.
The Ford Fusion Energi is plug-in hybrid that uses the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the Fusion Hybrid, along with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Fusion Energi is designed to run on pure electric power for short commutes and can be charged using a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet. Ford claims a combined range of up to 620 miles between the battery and the gas tank, with up to 21 miles in all-electric mode. It's EPA rated at 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), and has a charge time of about two and a half hours using a 240-volt charger, and about 7 hours using a 120-volt household outlet.
Although classified as midsize, the Fusion feels large and cavernous. This second-generation Fusion rides on a wheelbase that's about five inches longer than the first-generation version (2006-12), but overall body length is only an inch longer thanks to shorter overhangs.
Our test drive revealed solid handling and a comfortable ride, although the Fusion doesn't feel as nimble as other midsize sedans. Fusion feels big while driving, and a U-turn requires of plenty of space, although the turning circle was cut down a bit from the previous generation and beats that of the Honda Accord. We found the Fusion Hybrid operates smoothly but didn't love the low, grumbly sound it makes.
Technology includes Ford's Sync voice recognition and the MyFord Touch interface although both have their idiosyncrasies and can be frustrating, despite recent improvements. Optional advanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist, and an automatic parallel parking feature, the latter of which is normally reserved for high-end luxury cars.
Although good-looking, the Ford Fusion faces tough competition. If you're motivated by sleek, European-inspired design and a wide choice of powertrain options, the Ford Fusion is one of the best choices out there. But other automakers have recently updated their midsize offerings too, including perennial top-sellers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Those who want something a little different might also consider the Hyundai Sonata and the Nissan Altima, which both offer solid driving dynamics in attractive packages, although their designs aren't as eye-catching as the Fusion's.
The 2014 Ford Fusion comes in in a dizzying array of options. All models are front-wheel drive except for the Titanium gasoline model, which offers optional all-wheel drive.
Fusion S ($21,900) is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard with manually operated air conditioning, cloth upholstery, 4-way manually adjustable seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, automatic door locks, windows and mirrors; a trip computer, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat with trunk pass-through, the voice-activated Sync audio and cell phone interface, a four-speaker audio system with single CD player and auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic headlights and 16-inch steel wheels.
Fusion SE is available with any of the four gasoline engines: A 2.5-liter paired to a 6-speed automatic ($23,855); turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine paired only to a 6-speed manual ($24,650); the new 1.5-liter Ecoboost engine paired with a 6-speed automatic ($24,650), or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a 6-speed automatic and paddle shifters ($26,635). In addition to everything found on S models, the SE adds a 10-way power driver seat with power lumbar, rear air vents, rear floor mats, a rear center armrest, six-speaker audio system, an enhanced audio display, satellite radio capability, heated exterior mirrors with signal indicator, a keyless entry keypad and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.
Options on Fusion SE include an Appearance Package ($985) with seating surfaces made from recycled materials, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, foglights, a rear decklid spoiler and 18-inch painted alloy wheels and a Technology Package ($1,100) which bundles dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch touchscreen interface and a rearview camera. Standalone options include a sunroof ($995), rearview camera ($295), and voice-activated navigation ($795).
Fusion Titanium is available with front-wheel drive ($30,500) or all-wheel drive ($32,500) and is powered by the turbocharged 2.0 liter engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters. Fusion Titanium comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front sport seats, keyless ignition/entry, pushbutton start, aluminum pedals, auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, rearview camera, a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. Options include the Driver Assist Package ($1,200), which adds blind spot detection, cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers. The Active Park Assist option ($895) will automatically measure and maneuver the Fusion into a parallel parking space.
Fusion Hybrid S ($26,200) is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 paired with an electric motor and an electric continuously variable transmission (eCVT) and comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth seats made from 100 percent recyclable materials, cruise control with EcoCruise button, the six-speaker audio system found on the Fusion SE, a tire repair kit and unique 17-inch wheels. Other standard features are the same found on the Fusion S.
Hybrid SE ($27,200) includes standard features found on the Fusion SE plus dual-zone automatic climate control, the same cloth seats and wheels found on the hybrid S, a tire repair kit, plus a SmartGauge LCD information display with real-time vehicle information.
Hybrid Titanium ($32,500) includes everything on the Hybrid SE plus leather upholstery with heated front seats, pushbutton start and a premium 12-speaker Sony audio system.
Fusion Energi is a plug-in hybrid that uses the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the Fusion Hybrid, along with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. SE models ($38,700) include features found on the Hybrid SE plus leather upholstery, heated front seats. Energi Titanium ($40,500) adds pushbutton start, ambient lighting and a rearview camera.
Safety features on all models include front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control, electronic stability control. Optional features include blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rearview camera and inflatable rear seatbelts.