Despite slow steering, option prices that can add up fast, and uncompetitive EPA numbers, the 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid – with its striking design, high-tech features, tasteful interior, and confidant ride and handling – is a top pick in its class.

Best Value

The 2018 Fusion Hybrid ranges in price from $26,285 for one in base S trim to nearly $39,000 for a fully-optioned Platinum model. We'd pass on the S – although it comes with the usual power features plus keyless push button start and dual-zone automatic climate control – and head for the SE which adds power driver and front passenger seats, Ford's SYNC infotainment system with voice recognition, satellite radio, and LED signature lighting. This trim also allows access to a number of option packages ranging from entertainment and technology to advanced active safety features.

  • Model: 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor
  • Output: 141 hp / 129 lb-ft (combined system)
  • Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 43 City / 41 Hwy
  • Options: 602A ($2,995, power driver seat with memory, heated front seats, intelligent access with remote start, LED headlights – required with Driver-Assist Package), Hybrid Luxury Package ($0 with 602A Package, leather seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, bright door and window trim, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, LED taillights, black lower grille, 17-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors with memory and turn signals – required with Driver-Assist Package), Driver-Assist Package ($1,575, auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, rain-sensing wipers, SYNC connect), Hybrid SE Technology Package ($495 with Driver-Assist Package, two 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster displays, eight-inch touchscreen with Applink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, reverse sensing system), Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection including Forward Collision Warning, Brake Support, and Active Braking ($1,190).
  • Base Price: $27,235 (including an $895 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $33,490

Performance

Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Fusion Hybrid's well-controlled ride and crisp handling are a welcome change from most of the bland competition. Smooth and relatively powerful, a software update last year boosted fuel economy and range, cornering is predictable and fairly flat, while blending between regeneration and friction braking is excellent.

At the same time, the hybrid feels heavier and less agile in cornering than the lightest gasoline-only models, while the low-geared steering requires more shuffling than necessary on twisty roads. In addition, fuel economy, although excellent at 42 miles per gallon combined, is now near the bottom of the mid-size hybrid sedan class – outranked by hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima.

Style

Despite six years and counting, the Fusion's design has held up well, with most competitors adopting its slick, fastback shape. It's wrapped around a quiet interior that still looks and feels a class above. The front seats are nicely bolstered, offering plenty of lateral support, with tall doors allowing easy ingress and egress, and where even six-footers will find plenty of head room up front. A small rotary gear dial leaves plenty of room for console storage of small items as well as a deep storage bin.

On the other hand, those buttons that are capacitive and touch-sensitive require some training to use, while rear seat room is only average, where competitors like the Accord and Passat offer more space.

The Best and Worst Things

Even in its lowest trim and despite a six-year-old design, the Fusion Hybrid remains one of the most attractive looking cars on the road.

At first glance, the Fusion Hybrid's EPA numbers look impressive, but they pale in comparison to class leaders like the hybrid version of the Toyota Camry.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Even as most migrate away from sedans, the Fusion Hybrid's combination of style, handling, comfort, and fuel efficiency make it a compelling choice for families.

Safety-focused buyers may be turned off by the fact that advanced safety features are unavailable on the S and costly on the SE and Titanium models. Though a rearview camera is standard across the lineup, Ford's full array of safety features are only available as part of two or more option packages on the SE ($5,760) and Titanium ($2,765) models. These same advanced active safety features are standard on every trim level of the Toyota Camry.

The Bottom Line

Even as once-impressive EPA numbers become more mundane and option prices quickly add to its bottom line, the 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid's stunning design, class-above interior, responsive ride and handling, and high-tech features make it a top choice in the mid-size hybrid class.