The jury's still out on the is-a-hybrid-really-worth-it debate. Nevertheless, auto makers continue producing them, and hybrid vehicles do save you money at the pump and help out the environment (if that matters to you). With gas prices on a seemingly perpetual incline, the hybrid value-proposition begins to make sense. Starting at $27,105 for the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE mid-size sedan, consumers may have one more reason to crossover to the green side.
New for 2015
Changes for 2015 are mainly convenience and comfort upgrades, with a few more exterior options including standard 17-inch aluminum wheels on the top-end Titanium trim.
The Hybrid SE seats get a comfort boost with Ecocloth material, a 10-way power driver seat including power lumbar and memory functions, plus a six-way power passenger seat . A Terracotta interior package is also new for 2015, adding sports seats and premium floor mats to the mix.
Ford offers three versions of the Hybrid including the S, SE, and Titanium. Plus, two additional plug-in versions: Fusion Energi SE and Energi Titanium. All the hybrid models are powered by a 2.0-litre I-4 Atkinson-cycle powertrain coupled with an electronically controlled continuously variable eCVT transmission and a high-voltage electric motor. While the the electric motor benefits from power gained from regenerative braking, the 2.0 litre gasoline engine still delivers an impressive 188-hp, and will switch to all-electric at speeds up to 137 km/h.
A useful standard feature is the SmartGauge with EcoGuide, providing the driver with real-time driving feedback about powertrain operations and fuel economy. The display layout is clean and direct with two screens flanking the front-and-centre speedometer.
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Stylish Exterior Design
The Taurus-esque Ford Fusion first introduced in 2005 was ambiguous in its styling . When the second-generation European-inspired Fusion hit the streets in 2012, jaws dropped. Absolutely nothing connected the outgoing 2011 Fusion from the new 2012 model – and that's a good thing.
More modern with sleek projector laser-cut headlamps and contemporary LED taillights, the 2015 Fusion combines muscular lines with sporty-yet-elegant features. The only exterior option on my 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE tester were the larger 18-inch premium painted luxury wheels for $700. The standard 17-inch aluminum wheels unique to the hybrid models are sharp as well.
Inside the Hybrid SE
Ford has certainly paid more attention to the Fusion's interior, focusing on craftsmanship and convenience/comfort features and options. But it's the $2,100 SE Hybrid Luxury Package that will really set the 2015 Hybrid SE cabin apart, adding leather upholstery and heated, power front seats.
Aside from upgrades, the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE comes well-equipped with dual-zone electronic climate control and a cabin filter, intermittent/speed-sensitive wipers, the rear-view camera and rear A/C vents. SiriusXM satellite is also standard (subscription fees are separate) paired to a six-speaker AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 capability.
Totalling $39,639, (including fees, before taxes) for the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE I tested, included just over eight-thousand dollars in options, the final price-point is fairly high. But strip away some of the packages and options, and the Fusion Hybrid SE hits most of the marks. With stunning exterior styling, increased cabin comfort, and all the benefits of hybrid technology and fuel efficiencies at a sub-$30k starting price-point, the Fusion Hybrid sedan may encourage us to reconsider the conventional gas-only option for something a little more green and certainly more efficient.
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Amee Reehal is the publisher of TractionLife.com.
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