As we’ve noted before, there are two types of hybrids, those that deliberately look different and are dedicated hybrids, with no conventional drivetrain equivalent—we’ll cite the Toyota Prius as an example—and those that are standard models but equipped with hybrid powertrains. Two examples: Toyota Camry Hybrid, and today’s test vehicle, the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium.
Ford actually has two hybrid versions of the Fusion, the standard Fusion Hybrid, and the Fusion Energi. The latter, in Fordspeak, indicates that it’s a plug-in hybrid, like the difference between the Ford C-Max Hybrid and the Ford C-Max Energi (and the C-Max is one of those vehicles that’s available as a hybrid…here, though in the rest of the world, it has conventional gas and diesel drivetrain models).
The entire Ford Fusion lineup gets a mid-cycle refresh, including adding a new high-end Fusion Platinum model and a new Fusion Sport that adds actual sport with a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 and all-wheel drive. All Fusions get a front and rear makeover, the grille slightly wider, making the front end look lower and more aggressive. Headlights were reshaped as well, too. The base S and SE models have projector-beam-style halogen lights, while LED lights come standard on the Titanium and Platinum trim levels. All 2017 Fusions get restyled LED taillights with added chrome.
All models get a new twist knob shifter, similar to that on Jaguar models but without the retracting feature, and it frees up real estate on the center console, with the cupholders moved alongside the shift dial. The twist knob, knurled for better grip, has good weight and a precision feel. Kudos to the engineers who got this touch and feel item exactly right.
Our test 2017 Fusion Hybrid Titanium had standard leather on seating surfaces and the steering wheel, with heated seats for the driver and front passenger, and 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat. Not enough? The Platinum adds soft leather to the dash.
The center stack is new, and Ford moves into Sync 3 for those who opt for it. Ford says it’s more intuitive but we never had trouble with the earlier system. It added $1,100 to our test Fusion Hybrid. Our tester also came with the $1,575 Driver Assist Package, which includes parking assist, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.