Overview sourced from AutoBlog:
The Ford Fusion has established itself as a leader among midsize sedans. The Fusion matches or surpasses its Japanese competitors in various quality surveys, and leads the class in fuel economy. It offers contemporary styling and a first-class driving experience. How times have changed.
The Fusion competes with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and several other very good cars, and holds its own with any of them. Substantially redesigned for 2010, the Fusion changes only slightly for 2011.
Ford’s voice-activated Sync system, which easily pairs phones and audio devices with the car, is an inexpensive option on lower-trim models. For $23,000, the four-cylinder Fusion offers six-speaker audio, all the power accessories, Sync and a sport-suspension upgrade. High-trim Fusions offer excellent, high-power Sony Audio, a sumptuous leather interior package, advanced electronic systems like blind-spot warning and one of the easiest-operating navigation systems anywhere.
Nicely enhanced with chrome, the Fusion looks muscular and crisp, with more than a hint of Euro panache.
Fusion comfortably seats five. Every model is roomy and comfortable, with one of the largest trunks in the class.
From the base model to those to loaded with features, the Ford Fusion is comfortable and quiet, with nothing that seems excessively cheap. Measured by interior layout and interaction between driver and machine, it’s one of the best cars in its class.
The driver is greeted by a sequence that almost makes it seem as if the Fusion is coming to life. Gauge needles sweep back and forth as the interior lighting and chimes come on. The optional ambient lighting system subtly illuminates the footwells and front cup holders in a choice of colors.
A big trunk adds to the utility. With 16.5 cubic feet of volume, the Fusion ranks near the top of the class and surpasses both the Toyota Camry (15 cubic feet) and Honda Accord (14). All Fusions past the least expensive model come with a split-folding rear seat. It expands cargo space and makes bulky items easier to maneuver by providing access through the rear side doors.
The Ford Fusion impressed us with its balance in the sense that it does just about everything well. That’s the hallmark of a good midsize sedan, to be sure, and since it was substantially updated for 2010, the Fusion delivers as well as any on the market.
Any of the available Ford engines meets or beats the competition in power output, yet the Fusion delivers some of the best fuel mileage ratings in its category, regardless of the powertrain.
Fusion’s handling and on-road dynamics are exemplary. It’s alert and agile, more so in some respects than the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. At the same time, its ride is smooth and pleasing.
For 2011, Fusion comes standard with Ford’s MyKey feature, and parents with teenage drivers will appreciate it. MyKey allows owners to designate a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed to 80 mph, and audio volume to 44 percent of the maximum level. MyKey also raises the low-fuel alert from 50 miles to 75, and it doesn’t allow deactivation of the traction control system.
The Fusion Hybrid is rated by the EPA at 41 mpg City and 36 mpg Highway, which gives it the highest fuel-economy ratings of any midsize car currently available. We’ve come pretty close to those numbers in the real world.
A Fusion with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission matches the best in the midsize class, with an EPA rating of 23/34 mpg.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 175 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, and we found it’s strong enough for most driver’s needs. We think the base engine with the standard 6-speed manual transmission makes one of the most enjoyable Fusion combinations when it comes to driving, particularly when the car is equipped with the inexpensive sports suspension.
Clutch operation and the manual shifter meld nicely in the Fusion, and those who enjoy driving will like working through the gears to maximize performance from the standard engine. This package comes close to what we’d call a sports sedan. Its reflexes and steering response are good, yet the ride is anything but stiff. If anything, we’d like a slightly firmer suspension, because the Fusion is solid, quiet and capable enough to handle it, without a significant payback in ride harshness.
Four-wheel disc brakes, made more effective with standard ABS and EBD, provide forceful, easily modulated stopping power.
The 3.0-liter V6 increases peak horsepower to 240 hp. The V6 is also a bit smoother and quieter around town than the four-cylinder. On the other hand, the upgrade in overall performance or acceleration is minimal, to the point we’re not sure that anyone really needs the Fusion’s smaller V6. Only buyers who want the extra all-weather capability of Fusion’s available all-wheel-drive system will need it.
AWD is a rare option among mainstream mid-size sedans, and it’s only offered with the V6 engines. Just remember that the all-wheel drive comes with a noticeable fuel-mileage penalty. The highest EPA rating for an all-wheel-drive Fusion is 18/26 mpg City/Highway.
The 3.5-liter V6 in the Fusion Sport is a noticeably more substantial upgrade from the base four-cylinder. With 263 horsepower, it delivers measurably quicker acceleration, and a nice, throaty roar for drivers who like to keep their foot pressed into the gas pedal. The Fusion Sport accelerates more rapidly than just about any midsize sedan available.
One of the reasons Fusion beats competitors in fuel mileage is its automatic transmission. It’s a 6-speed, where some others have 5-speeds, and the extra gear means lower engine rpm for steady-state cruising, without a loss of acceleration potential. For 2011, even four-cylinder automatics get Ford’s SelectShift manual-shift feature. It allows the driver to manually work the gears in sequential, up-down fashion.
The automatic transmission works very well, with nice, smooth upshifts and quick downshifts at most speeds, but we do have one gripe. Once rolling from a stop, the transmission is reluctant to shift down into first gear. Once the driver gets rolling from a parking spot, for example, the transmission shifts quickly into second to conserve fuel. But if that driver approaches the parking lot exit, and moves for a gap in traffic without making a complete stop at the roadway, the transmission won’t drop down into first without literally flooring the gas. As a result, the transmission stays in second and the driver won’t get the amount of acceleration expected.
Offered with a range of power systems in multiple trim levels, the Ford Fusion is a compelling midsize sedan with catchy looks, lots of room and trunk space, agile handling and excellent fuel economy
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