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There was a time when you had to sacrifice luxury for efficiency. But not everything that goes green must wrap itself in a small eco-box. For 2017, Ford has introduced its most luxurious Platinum trim level to its most fuel efficient Fusion, Hybrid… amongst other things.

The Platinum trim for 2017 introduces a series of premium features to the Fusion Hybrid that would make any future buyer pleased with their purchase. Features from the sumptuous quilted leather interior with heated and cooled seats to an array of standard safety features you’d find on any modern car. Sadly however, while the Platinum is new, our sampler here is the SE Hybrid starting at $26,480  – one level up from the base model S and two down from the Platinum and Titanium levels. While the SE is the mid-level trim, it’s the one to satisfy most buyers – so let’s see if it satisfies us.   

All trim levels come with the Fusions latest design language of new headlights and LED taillights with a wider mouth grille to give it a sportier look. The updated look is refreshing and noticeably stands out from the previous generation. Titanium and Platinum trims come standard with new LED Head-, Fog – and signature daytime running lights; where those lights were part of our $2995 SE Luxury Package featured here.

Inside, noticeably is the removal of the gear selector which changes to the dial format. Removal of the old fashion lever increases space for a larger center armrest and more storage. It features a premium, tactile feel with metal trim – just takes some time getting used to when shifting. Our SE was also upgraded with the $995 Technology Package that included an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and SYNC 3 – however Navigation was not included as part of this package.

As part of that aforementioned SE Luxury Package – our sampled Burgundy Velvet Fusion Hybrid was equipped with leather upholstery, heated front seats, and power adjustable driver and passenger seats. With room for the whole family there was plenty of leg room to spare – rear seat passengers may need to slouch with the slopping roof line however. The interior was outfitted handsomely with genuine premium finishes and soft touch materials. It made for a comfortable, pleasing atmosphere considering we spend 20% of our lives driving.

Unchanged for 2017 is the 141-horsepower, 2.0-liter Atkinson four-cylinder engine mated with a 118-horsepower electric motor providing a combined output of 188-horsepower. Power fed through a CVT transmission and it’s pulling to 60 mph in a whopping 9 seconds. So it’s not exactly quick – but its just enough to get the job done.

If you manage to have a light foot, it is possible to get the electric motor to cruise way past highway speeds; however, we don’t have the time nor patience for such gingerly acceleration. And neither do the cars behind us. The hybrid system works very well here, transitions are utterly smooth and quiet.  And with the ability to cruise in electric mode at regular speeds, it’s quite efficient seeing we averaged 41 miles combined for the week.

Behind the wheel the Fusion is eccentric and will to please. It handles surprisingly well through the weighted steering wheel – it’s responsive with lively inputs and feels direct. The chassis is firm and solid yet comfortable and livable. You get a sense for the road without the road becoming unbearable.

The only problem we really see with the Fusion Hybrid is its price, it’s a little expensive once the goodies have been added. This SE start at $26,480 – okay, that’s pretty good. Add on that $2995 SE Hybrid Luxury Package, $395 for that pretty Burgundy Velvet Paint, $995 gets the Technology and SYNC 3 Package, $995 adds the Enhanced Active Park Assist (which will park itself), an extra $1190 for Adaptive Cruise and $1575 for Driver Assistance Package (which brings in Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning and Assist, and Pre-Collision Warning with Active Braking.) Out the door and we’re looking at almost 36-grand. Which is relatively close to the Platinum trim with much more premium features. And also becomes more competitive against the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Accord Hybrid.

As a hybrid, this Fusion SE checks all the right boxes. It proves you don’t need to sacrifice size or style to have a fuel efficient car. But when it comes to signing on the dotted line, be sure you upgraded to the Platinum, you’ll be more satisfied.  

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Base Price: $26,480
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $35,500
Performance Specs:
2.0-liter Atkinson 4-cylinder & Electric Motor – 188-Horsepower, CVT Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±9.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 42/41/43 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average:  41 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 500 Miles