Up: Doesn’t look like a Prius, you could potentially never have to fill up on gas if you don’t drive far.
Down: Batteries fill up the trunk.
Neutral: As much as you want to deny it, it’s just a normal car. And that’s good.
In general, Americans kind of sort of hate hybrids. What’s the point of them? They all look weird, they don’t go fast, and they can’t tow a trailer full of cattle. I mean, only those tree-huggin’, salad eatin’ hipsters would want a car that blatantly tries to make a statement on how green it is, right? So no thank you, Ford. I’ll stick to good, honest, American cars and trucks and let you drive your future-mobiles.
Well let’s hold up a minute. Ford has created a new hybrid car that looks almost exactly like its gas powered counterpart. It has room for five, doesn’t look like it came from outer space, and has comfortable leather sport seats. That doesn’t sound like any hybrid I’ve heard of, does it? Well this car is more than just a hybrid. This is the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium and it’s pretty cool.
Let’s start with the “more than just a hybrid” part. The Fusion Energi is what they call a “plug-in hybrid” and that means exactly what it says; you can plug it in. All hybrids have a gas engine and an electric motor but they usually have to be working together whereas a plug-in hybrid can run on the electric motor independently. In fact, so independently that you drive up to 26 miles without ever using the gas engine. That means if you live within 13 miles of where you want to go, you would never have to fill up with gas!
Oh, you want to go out of town and that’s further than 26 miles? No worries. The 141 hp 2.0 liter engine will kick in and you will get a little over 40 mpg. The cool part is that the gas engine works in conjunction with the 118 hp electric motor to give you around 188 total hp which turns it into a normal car. The estimated total range for a road trip in the Energi is around 500 miles which is, in lamen’s terms, pretty kick ass.
Now Ford’s website shows that the Energi has 95/81 mpge for city and highway respectively. This is not meant to confuse or trick people but chances are that tricking and confusing people are exactly what those numbers do. The car doesn’t really get 95 miles per gallon so the EPA throw that little “e” on the end to cover their butts. What they really mean is this is how far the car would go on electricity in its equivalence to 1 gallon of gasoline. To go 95 miles on one “gallon” of electricity, you would need almost 4 times as many batteries in the trunk*.
Which leads me to the interior. The batteries take up about half of the trunk space but if you’re a normal human being, the trunk space is fine. You may need to tell your significant other (I don’t discriminate) to pack one or two fewer extra outfits but it is completely livable. The rest of the interior is, gasp, just like a Ford Fusion.
The only real change worth noting on the interior is what Ford calls the “SmartGauge”. You still have a standard speedometer but on either side are customizable digital screens. On the right side you can toggle an interactive branch that grows leaves depending on how efficient you’re driving or have it give you efficient driving tips. This also serves a dual purpose which is to distract you from looking at the road. On the left side it will show you information such as battery charge levels, range, and allow you to toggle between 3 modes of driving: Auto, EV, and EV+ which limits your car to be as efficient as possible.
I left it in Auto mode for most of my drive because I desperately wanted to prove that hybrids still weren’t as good as real cars. However, throughout the entire time I don’t think I could have told you the difference. It was quiet, I could pass people, the steering was responsive, the seats were comfortable, and the Sony sound system was fantastic. It was a real pleasant place to be and I felt no detachment between me and the road. It even had a cool “Push To Start” button and I thought those were reserved for sporty gas-guzzlers.
[tweet_quote hashtags=”FusionEnergi” ]The most surprising thing about the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium is that it’s not surprising at all.[/tweet_quote] Sure at $36,000 it costs around $6,000 more than it’s equivalent gas model, but you get almost twice the mpg’s, you can go 26-ish miles on electricity alone, and it’s nearly the same car all around. And for those that value time, having the Energi as a daily commute would almost eliminate any stops to the gas station. Plus, during my time driving it, I got one more leaf to grow on the branch and I think that makes me a better person.
*If you like math, take the theoretical 95 mpge and divide it by the 26 miles you can actually go. That equals 3.65 times the amount of power to go the 95 miles. This might not be how it works at all but it makes sense to me.