Nuts & Bolts: 2014 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid

May 16, 2014

Bottom line: The Ford Fusion SE Hybrid should be on the shopping list of anyone looking for a premium, midsize family sedan, hybrid or not. It compares well with everything in its class, including the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid. It is not to be confused with the Fusion Energi, which is a plug-in-electric, extended-range hybrid.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Good marks in all three, which means it is a good commuter and good on long highway runs within posted speed limits — assuming the traffic allows you to move at those limits.

Head-turning quotient: Ford’s designers took a lot from Aston Martin here, which isn’t a problem, because it looks good.

Body style/layout: The 2014 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid is a front-wheel-drive automobile employing a gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. It has four side doors and a traditional notchback trunk, the cargo space of which is compromised by the need to accommodate the battery pack. There are three trim levels — base S, popularly equipped SE and top-of-the-line Titanium.

Drive power: The car has a 2-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing working in conjunction with an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. Maximum output is 188 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (no fixed gears).

Capacities: Seating is for five people. Maximum cargo capacity is 12 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 13.5 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: The electric motor did most of the work in the city; I averaged 46 miles per gallon in highway driving.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear), four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, and traction and stability control. This column recommends the optional blind-side monitoring, lane-departure warning, parking assistance, cross-traffic alert and rearview camera.

Price: It starts at $27,288, with a dealer’s invoice price of $25,166. Price as tested is $35,855, including $7,860 in options (appearance package and advanced safety options) and a $795 transportation charge.

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