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These graphics are supposed to coach drivers into being more aware of their fuel usage, but when you’re driving in a city where abrupt stops tend to happen more frequently due to heavy traffic, it’s a bit discouraging to watch all the leaves sadly fall off the vine like you’re some kind of terrible carbon monster.Ford also has a system that rates you on a 100 percent scale for your braking score; it’s calculated based on how often you hard brake, since that wastes fuel.The secondary screen on the cockpit is slightly more vibrant but uses the same, boring but legible font, with basic info like remaining electric charge, current song on the radio, and even a pop-up alert that suggests you should stop for coffee or a rest if it senses you’ve been driving too long and are starting to veer out of the lane.

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To turn on or change either of these two features, you have to go back to SYNC 3 on the center touchscreen — Android Auto and Car Play can’t help with turning those hardware components on.

For all that Ford put in to optimizing the display and layout for driver safety, I found the lack of these standard buttons to be rather unfortunate. ) Last year, Ford CEO Mark Fields told that he wanted Ford to be a technology company in addition to an automotive one.

You can customize the dashboard to be as information-rich as you want, but most of these tools don’t offer much to enhance the driving experience.

One of the screens you can leave on has weird “efficiency leaves” that grow more abundantly when you’re driving economically.

I already fat finger often on my smartphone and laptop — and now that shame has moved into the car, too.

The Ford Fusion Energi swaps the shift gear for a rotational dial, which took a bit to get used to compared to the stick-style shift in my personal Ford Escape, but I ended up quite liking the dial.

But Ford’s insistence on using third-party partners to power voice recognition and GPS, then subsequently punting SYNC 3’s shortcomings to the vendors, is disconcerting.

In an interview with Ford, I learned that navigation is an area from which it gets the most customer feedback, and it’s easy to see why. Ford tells me that real-time traffic data is whatever Sirius sends over the air to its system, but it still feels inexcusable, especially when the Apple- and Google-powered navigation it also supports work so much better.

I’m a pretty petite person, but even I found the buttons to be a little crammed on the right-hand side.

Hitting the skip button often accidentally raised the volume, or triggered the voice assistant.

This essentially turns the Fusion Energi into a rideable smartphone, which you can talk to for directions, add items to your shopping list, remotely adjust your home temperature, play a podcast, or ask general search questions — whatever comes to mind during the drive.

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