2019 Ford Fusion Energi vs. 2019 BMW i3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Fusion Energi are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The rear seatbelts of the Fusion Energi inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The i3 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking optional in the Fusion Energi as “Superior.” The i3 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Fusion Energi’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Fusion Energi’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The i3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Fusion Energi’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The i3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Fusion Energi and the i3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Ford Fusion Energi weighs 708 to 1025 pounds more than the BMW i3. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Fusion Energi with standard seats is safer than the i3:

 

Fusion Energi

i3

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

11 mm

15 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

13 g’s

13.3 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Fusion Energi the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The i3 was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Fusion Energi 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 9 times as many Ford dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion Energi’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion Energi third among midsize cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The i3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.

Engine

The Fusion Energi’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 25 more horsepower (195 vs. 170) than the i3 REx’s standard electric motor. The Fusion Energi’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 14 more horsepower (195 vs. 181) than the i3s REx’s standard electric motor. The Fusion Energi’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 11 more horsepower (195 vs. 184) than the i3s’ standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Fusion Energi running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the i3 REx running its range extender (43 city/41 hwy vs. 36 city/33 hwy).

The Fusion Energi has 11.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (14 vs. 2.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Fusion Energi has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The i3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Fusion Energi’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i3:

 

Fusion

i3

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Fusion Energi has larger tires than the i3 (235/45R18 vs. 155/70R19). The Fusion Energi’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (235/45R18 vs. 175/55R20).

The Fusion Energi’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series tires. The Fusion Energi’s tires are lower profile than the i3s’ 55 series front and 50 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Fusion Energi has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Fusion Energi has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Fusion Energi flat and controlled during cornering. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

The Fusion Energi’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The i3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion Energi’s wheelbase is 11 inches longer than on the i3 (112.2 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Fusion Energi Titanium handles at .80 G’s, while the i3 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Fusion Energi a Mid-size car, while the i3 is rated a Subcompact.

The Fusion Energi has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The Fusion Energi has 19.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (102.8 vs. 83.6).

The Fusion Energi has 3.8 inches more front legroom, 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 6.4 inches more rear legroom and 7.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.

Ergonomics

The Fusion Energi has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The i3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the i3, the Fusion Energi Titanium has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Fusion Energi’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The i3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Fusion Energi’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s standard power windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion Energi’s exterior PIN entry system. The i3 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Fusion Energi detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The i3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Fusion Energi has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Fusion Energi keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The i3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Fusion Energi’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The i3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Fusion Energi has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Fusion Energi’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The i3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Fusion Energi has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The i3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fusion Energi owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Fusion Energi with a number “5” insurance rate while the i3 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion Energi is less expensive to operate than the i3 because it costs $153 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion Energi than the i3, including $642 less for a water pump, $100 less for front struts and $452 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Fusion Hybrid was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2010. The i3 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Fusion Energi as their 2010 Car of the Year. The i3 has never been chosen.

The Fusion Hybrid was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2010. The i3 has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Fusion Hybrid as the 2010 North American Car of the Year. The i3 has never been chosen.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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