2014 Ford Fusion

"According to Ford’s stats, you can travel 1,221 kilometres on its 53-litre tank—that’s the equivalent of a round trip to Montreal!"

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Recently, I had the chance to get acquainted with the impressive mid-size Ford Fusion for 2014. For the few days I had it, I tried long rural drives and lots of city driving.

As expected on the rural side, the Titanium EcoBoost 2.0- litre, four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive sedan was powerful, smooth and extremely comfortable, producing 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. On the city side, fuel efficiency didn’t seem to suffer from several short trips, which are notorious for diminishing fuel economy in most cars.

Each trim level has a four-cylinder engine, which is a smart move by Ford—it illustrates their dedication to increasing fuel efficiency while not sacrificing power. With gas prices going up, the Fusion is a great investment. Even the 1.5-litre EcoBoost gas engine kicks out a respectable 181 horsepower.

There’s also a six-speed manual transmission option, for the folks who want to fully interact with the car. It’s married to a 1.6- litre 182-horsepower engine producing a fuel economy rating of 5.5 L/100 km highway and 8.8 L/100 km city.

The hybrid really tightens that up with a rating of 4.1 highway and 4.0 city. Its 88-kilowatt electric traction motor can engage even at highway speeds, and the Regenerative Braking System takes over 90 percent of braking force/energy and uses it to help recharge the battery. It’s impressive technology that’s easy on the wallet and fun to drive.

The Energi Plug-In Hybrid trim level is where things get interesting. It gets 1.9 L/100 km when using electricity and gas—that’s not a typo—for city and highway combined. That’s an incredible figure. According to Ford’s stats, you can travel 1,221 kilometres on its 53-litre tank—that’s the equivalent of a round trip to Montreal! The 4.5 L/100 km rating using only gas is also impressive. Plus, there’s a MyFord mobile app that lists charging stations!

Inside, there’s a 12-speaker Sony audio system (which makes everything sound great), a flowing centre console complete with the voice-activated Ford SYNC and a push-button start. You can even choose from seven hues of ambient lighting.

I’ve read that the SYNC has had some hiccups, but between seeing clients, running errands, going to band rehearsals in Bolton and everything else I did over those four days, I found it actually responded very well for me.

The relatively huge eight-inch touchscreen was responsive, and below, the soft touch infotainment/climate buttons were nicely spaced out to reduce the chance of turning on the A/C when you really want to change the song; full marks to the engineers on this layout.

The dashboard itself is impressively designed with dual 4.2-inch color LCD screens separated by the speedometer. The screens provide plenty of information and features, including a Lane Keeping System, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and active park assist. The exterior design has a classy yet aggressive stance with sleek and defined design lines, and is framed by the hexagon grill and low profile headlamps/LED tail lamps.

The drive itself was very enjoyable. One of my regular test routes takes me through Belfountain, and the Fusion performed wonderfully. It’s got plenty of power when you need it, plus smooth acceleration, responsive braking and a quiet cabin.

Everything contributed to a smooth driving experience. Ford’s Torque Vectoring Control system puts an exclamation mark on the handling by transferring torque to the outside wheels during turns for maximum control. The paddle shifters add a nice touch and, as designed, give you a true sense of interacting with the vehicle.

With a starting price hovering around $21,000 for the gasoline model, under $30,000 for the Hybrid and under $40,000 for the Energi SE, the 2014 Fusion blends safety, great fuel economy, terrific handling, impressive technology and dashing good looks, and packages it in multiple offerings for the mid-sized sedan buyer.

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