Look closely. Look really, really closely. A nip here, a tuck there, and oh yeah, a whole bunch of active safety tech. That's the gist of the refreshed 2019 Ford Fusion, a midsize sedan that still represents a big chunk of the pie for Ford Motor Company. These light updates keep the Fusion competitive ahead of an uncertain future as Ford increasingly relies on crossovers and SUVs.
Introduced to media at an event just outside of Detroit on Tuesday, the aesthetic enhancements are remarkably hard to spot. Ford says it tweaked the grille, front fascia, rear fascia, rear decklid, and taillights, but unless you're looking at it side by side with the 2018 Fusion, you'd be forgiven for thinking Ford hasn't made any changes at all.
Instead, the bigger changes come to the equipment list. Ford's new Co-Pilot360 active safety system is standard equipment, bringing with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, a rearview camera, and automatic high beams. Ford charges extra for adaptive cruise control.
As outlined at Ford's expansive preview event last week, the company is trying to cut down on the possible configurations in which it sells its vehicles. For the Fusion, that means a revised trim walk with more equipment per model and fewer options. Aside from standard Co-Pilot360 on the base model, the SE adds the 1.5-liter turbo-4, Sync 3 with an 8-inch touchscreen, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The new SEL trim replaces the old SE Luxury Package, adding heated front seats, push-button start, LED headlights, and a 10-way power driver's seat. The Titanium trim carries on, but adds 19-inch wheels, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, navigation, a sunroof, and inflatable rear seat belts. Until recently, most of this gear was optional—Ford is reducing the possible number of configurations and capitalizing on economies of scale by making it all standard, although what impact it will have on the price tag remains to be seen. For example, getting all the Fusion Titanium's standard equipment on a 2018 model would cost just over $6,000.
The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid benefits from some small changes, too. Ford tweaked the chemistry in the battery, retaining the same dimensions but increasing its energy capacity from 7.6 to 7.9 kwh. The result is 25 miles to a charge versus the 21 miles the plug-in Fusion currently offers. Ford hasn't announced how the new battery will impact fuel economy, although we'd wager there will be a small bump.
The updated 2019 Fusion will make its public debut at the New York auto show next week and arrive in dealers in late summer, with prices and additional specs coming ahead of its on-sale date.