With its 2019 Fusion, Ford opts to not mess too much with a good thing

At seven years old, the current-generation Ford Fusion is at an age when most midsize cars have long been retired or redesigned. Ford , however, is way more interested in developing SUVs than cars at the moment, so the automaker is giving the Fusion a mild update rather than a full redesign. Will that be enough to stay in the game against fresher competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry?

The 2019 Ford Fusion debuts at the 2018 New York Auto Show looking pretty much the same as its predecessor. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Fusion remains one of the biggest styling hits among mainstream cars of the last decade. Ford says the front and rear ends have been restyled, but you’d have to park the 2019 Fusion next to a 2018 model to spot the differences.

Changes are more significant under the skin. The 2019 Fusion is the first Ford model to get the automaker’s new Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features. Co-Pilot360 bundles autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and automatic high beams as standard equipment. Adaptive cruise control is optional.

The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid model gets a new 9.0-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Ford says the 2019 Fusion Energi will be able to drive up to 25 miles on electric power alone, compared to 21 miles for the 2018 model. Based on data from 23,000 current plug-in hybrid owners, Ford claims the 2019 Fusion Energi has enough range for 80 percent of customers to drive their typical daily commute on electric power alone.

Alongside the Fusion Energi, Ford will continue to offer a Fusion Hybrid model without a plug, and the Fusion V6 Sport, which boasts a 325-horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine. All other models except the base Fusion S get a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-banger from the 2018 Fusion S will likely carry over to the 2019 model.

Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system remains on the list of Fusion tech options, and can be augmented with Amazon Alexa skills and Waze integration. Sync 3-equipped models get an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, and Ford also offers a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices.

Ford isn’t ready to discuss pricing for the 2019 Fusion. The automaker is working to cut down on the number of trim levels and options available for each model, and the Fusion will likely be one of the first to reflect that. The shift is meant to save the company money, and make the buying process less complicated for customers.

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