Interior view of the 2017 Ford Fusion. (All photos: Ford Motor Company)

So, what’s new for the 2017 models? The Ford Fusion receives a variety of updates. First, you’ll notice a restyled front end and headlights, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #2017FordFusionEnergi #Ford #Lifestyle

The Fusion was debuted in 2006, and has been receiving nothing but accolades as each new model year rolls out, including safety picks and thumbs up from some really tough critics: families.

Ford has swapped out the MyFord Touch system with a new Sync 3 infotainment system, which is easier to use. Standard this year is push-button start, and a nifty transmission selector that is on a rotary dial on the center console.

Most notable, however, are the engine choices available on the 2017 Ford Fusions. The powertrains include two hybrid options and turbocharged engines, plus available all-wheel-drive.

Exterior view of the 2017 Ford Fusion.

Exterior view of the 2017 Ford Fusion.

The Fusion was the first sedan to offer gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, by the way. For the Fusion Energi  – a plug-in hybrid – and our test car, Ford notes that the electric motor is more efficient, offers better fuel economy and has a longer range of electric driving, thanks to a new lithium-ion battery.

With Ford’s EcoGuide system on board, drivers have real-time drive coaching to encourage them to get even better fuel economy.

The Fusion Energi automatically switches to the 2.0-liter gasoline engine when the battery is depleted, and when combined the battery and gas engines will provide a driving range of about 500 miles. Recharging the engine can be done in just 2.5 hours, and this car is so smart it knows when to begin charging to get electricity at the lowest price.

The Fusion has always been jam-packed with driver-assistance safety features. The features include a host of high-tech safety belts and air bags. The seat-mounted air bags have been designed to activate lower down toward the pelvis and the chest area for even better protection during side impact collisions. Sensors can calculate a passenger’s seating position, weight, and if they are using a seat belt, and use that information – in the event of a frontal collision – to activate the safety belt’s pre-tensioners and the two-stage deployment of the front air bags.

The back seat is the safest place for children and Ford offers the inflatable rear seat belt here.  In the event of a collision the rear belts inflate, distributing the load over a larger area and reducing the risk of abdominal, chest and shoulder injuries for rear passengers.

Technological gadgets on board the 2017 Ford Fusion are leading edge. The Blind Spot Information System uses radar to identify and alert the driver when vehicles are in the car’s blind spot. Cross-traffic alert sends out visual and audible alerts to cross-traffic hazards. This alert lets you know well in advance that there’s someone – or something – in your way.

Other driver assist technologies include Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control that notifies you when cars ahead are too close, rear view camera, and Electronic Parking Brake. Active Park Assist actually parallel parks the car for you, at the press of a button. The driver only controls the gas, brake and transmission gear position.

Exterior view of the 2017 Ford Fusion.

Exterior view of the 2017 Ford Fusion.

Behind the wheel, I found the seats were firm, but not confining. The dashboard is clean and well-organized.

On the road, it’s not long before you notice the 2017 Fusion Hybrid Energi has excellent acceleration. Visibility is very good to the front and sides, and road noise was virtually non-existent. The car has a very solid feel and is confidently responsive.

The rear seat is good sized and your passengers can stretch out a bit. Seats are comfortable and not confining. The trunk was on the smaller side, as space is given over for the battery.

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is an extremely comfortable car that gets great as mileage and has a host of impressive safety and technology features on board. Commuters will love not having to make so many trips to the pumps, and families will find they’re traveling to all their appointments in comfort. It’s a hard combination to beat.