The frisky Ford Fusion Sport and the gizmo-gem that is the Honda Accord Hybrid are two very good, similarly-sized and entirely different midsize sedans caught up in the marketplace equivalent of a slow-motion crash.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

Sadly for both, each is destined to be largely overlooked because of this broader trend away from family sedans entirely — to crossovers and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). A pity, that.

The 2017 V-6 Fusion Sport, $42,288 base, is a fast and powerful (325 horsepower) mid-market four-door dressed up like the automotive equivalent of Justin Timberlake, who went from the silliness of Star Search to ground-breaking albums like the 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2.

Like Timberlake, the Fusion has become something quite interesting thanks to the EcoBoost V-6 twin turbo. It’s a little beast, with more muscle than its modest displacement (2.7 litres) would suggest.

The 2017 Fusion V6 Sport comes standard with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine with 380 lb.-ft. torque and 325 hp.

The 2017 Fusion V6 Sport comes standard with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine with 380 lb.-ft. torque and 325 hp.

Ford argues the Fusion Sport belongs in a class with a BMW 3-Series, or perhaps even a 5-Series. I applaud the hubris. But even with “Intelligent All-Wheel Drive” and many fancy features, Ford is stretching here.

As for the 2017 Accord Hybrid ($31,200-$37,300) it’s an update of the two-motor hybrid sedan we first saw in 2014-2015. Honda goes all in here, touting this as the “ultimate Accord, the most refined, technologically sophisticated and, of course, fuel efficient model in the lineup.”

Ah, the hybrid piece. In a nutshell, here’s what Honda’s engineers have done: swap out the traditional automatic transmission and replace it with two electric motors and a lithium ion battery pack just behind the back seat.

Add in a clever regenerative braking system and gauges to read out hybrid activity in the power train and – voila, the Accord Hybrid: 212 hp and fuel economy ratings of 4.9/5.1./5.0 litres/100 km (city/highway/combined).

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Like all the other Accords for 2017, the hybrid’s styling is nice but uninspired. Inside, fabrics look and feel richer. The smaller battery pack means the trunk has more room. An aluminum hood saves weight and LED headlights and taillights are dressy. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though its responses are turtle-like.

The unabashed sophistication of this hybrid system is what matters, though – a testament to the clever ways of engineers.

For short distances you can operate in pure EV mode, powered by only the lithium ion battery. In Hybrid mode, the electric motor drives the front wheels, while the gas engine powers a separate motor/generator, making electricity to supplement the current from the battery pack.

In a third mode, Engine Drive, the gas engine and electric motors both drive the wheels via a lock-up clutch. You can imagine the brainpower that went into such complexity.

Yet for all the genius here, the Accord Hybrid still drives like a hybrid. For the most part, all this moving in and out of “modes” is pretty clean, pretty unobtrusive. But if you’re alert, you can tell that a lot of different things are going on with the powertrain, some simultaneously and some sequentially. And with all the heavy hybrid bits and pieces added in, this Accord feels lumpy.

Ford, naturally, makes a Fusion Hybrid and a plug-in hybrid Fusion called the Energi, too. The Fusion Sport, however, is the antithesis of a hybrid.

This ride is quick, the kind of sedan that teases and lures you to attack an interesting stretch of pavement. It’s dressy inside, too, right down to the rotary gearshift dial design borrowed from Jaguar. And it’s smart, with adaptive cruise control, “pothole detection” and an AWD system that shifts power front and rear.

Both cars are impressive. They showcase a broad range of technologies designed to achieve very different ends. And both will end up underappreciated or totally ignored niche models competing in a wheezing midsize car segment.

You see, Canadians will buy about 120,000 sedans like the Fusion and Accord in 2016 – down from a high of 308,464 in 2002 (source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants). And the demise of midsize cars will continue because they’re not as practical as this surging crop of crossovers and SUVs (sport-utility vehicles).

Despite their excellence, the marketplace will make the Fusion Sport and Accord Hybrid historical footnotes.


Price: $42,288. Freight and PDI: $1,650.

Engine: 2.7-litre V-6, turbo (325 hp/380 pound-feet of torque).

Drive: all-wheel.

Transmission: six-speed automatic.

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.5 city/9.0 using premium fuel.

Comparables: Honda Accord, Mazda6, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy.


Price as tested: $37,300. Freight and PDI: $1,695.

Gas engines: 2.0-litre I4 (143 hp/129 pound-feet of torque).

Hybrid/electric: electric motor (181 hp/232 pound-ft torque).

Combined output: 212 hp.

Drive: front-wheel.

Transmission: CVT.

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 4.9 city/5.1 using regular fuel.

Comparables: Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy.

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