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Behind the Wheel of the 2018 Ford Fusion Energi

As tested: $32,305 | 4-cylinder, 188 hp | 43/42 mpg

(Photo: © 2018 The Ford Motor Company)

Like other plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the Ford Fusion Energi has both an internal combustion engine and a hybrid gas and electric powertrain. When fully charged, its large battery will power the vehicle without gasoline. You can drive for 21 miles on electricity alone; after that it performs like a conventional hybrid with a combined total range of 610 miles.

From a visual standpoint, this may be one of the most stylish four-door sedans sold today. Unlike some other hybrids, the Fusion comes in three trim levels, ranging from well-equipped to luxurious. The interior is well-crafted and very comfortable. The controls are simple. Although the rotary shift knob takes a little getting used to, it works well when it’s been mastered. The infotainment system with the newest version of Sync for hands-free controls was quite good, but I found the navigation system a bit slow to update. The front seats were very comfortable, with plenty of adjustments, and even tall drivers will find enough head and legroom. The rear seat can accommodate three adults in reasonable comfort. The trunk space is a bit tight at 8.2 cubic feet, due to the large battery pack. Grocery bags will fit just fine, but larger items will need to go in the back seat.

Performance from the 188-horsepower hybrid power plant was more than adequate and allows for easy merging with fast-moving traffic while still returning very good fuel economy. During my road test, I averaged 42 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving – and that was after 21 miles of electric propulsion. Braking was good but the pedal was a bit touchy due to the regenerative (battery-recharging) brake function. The ride was very smooth and the cabin quiet; Ford did a great job of isolating the passengers from the outside world. The steering and overall handling were about average, blending the ride and handling typical of a family sedan.

Plug-in hybrids are perfect vehicles for drivers who like the idea of an electric car but don’t want to worry about range anxiety. The Ford Fusion is a comfortable, great-looking car that should be at the top of your green car list.

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