The mid-sized sedan market is one of the most competitive and difficult segments, mainly because there are so many good choices out there and consumers are very finicky.
With great cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and many others, how would one company stand out among many? That’s a difficult question without a simple answer – Ford hopes that its refreshed Fusion is the answer for many who are looking for good value and above-average performance.
The Fusion has been around for a while and no longer stands out among many mid-size sedans, but the pricing is attractive and it continues to sell well because it’s a proven product. For 2017, the Fusion receives a new version of the Sync 3 Infotainment system and improved and refreshed styling/design inside and out. A performance version of the Fusion – simply dubbed the Fusion Sport – has also been added this year with a V-6 engine for the first time.
Even though the Fusion is now a few years old, its design holds up well and the car still looks fresh thanks to its modern shape and styling. The Fusion’s design is epitomized by its Aston Martin-like grille which is flanked by the angular headlights. The wheels are pushed to the corners of the vehicle, resulting in a wide stance and short overhangs.
The Fusion’s side profile draws your eyes to its European-styled body crease and high beltline; the rear slanted roof continues the aggressive look.
The Fusion’s cabin is still up-to-date and quite upscale. It should please any young family or business buyers, though the newer competitors are showing up with better looking designs.
The new and improved Sync 3 system is a welcome change, as more and more buyers demand an easy, iPad-like interface. It’s hard to understand why the car companies are taking so long to create an interface that’s as simple to use as an iPad or Tablet. In any case, the Sync 3 boasts a clear, 8-inch screen and easy-to-use buttons.
The more traditional gear stick has been nixed, making way for a rotary-style dial. This gives the Ford Fusion a roomier feel and provides more space for features like a cell phone holder. The emergency brake is a button as opposed to a handbrake as well.
Customers spoke, Ford listened. An emphasis on comfort was requested by owners in the mid-size range, and this is reflected in the noise cancellation features and improved suspension. Better insulation in the hood seals, underbody and wheel liners as well as frontal acoustic glass help to reduce background noise. The suspension for the flagship Fusion Sport has been calibrated to read the ground below with something Ford calls “continuously controlled damping;” essentially, the shocks are able to change characteristics every thousandth of a second to mitigate effects of uneven pavement and potholes.
Smart Tech features include pre-collision assist where the vehicle will use radar and camera information to alert drivers of a potential collision and even apply brakes in the case of imminent accident.
The Fusion is available in many trim levels, starting with the base S model at $23,688 and moving all the way to the flagship Sport model at a whopping $42,288. The powertrain comes in three variations from the simple, somewhat underpowered 1.5-litre to the 2.0-litre which is paired with a six-speed transmission. The new-for-2017 Sport model boasts a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V-6 capable of delivering a solid 325-horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. The hybrid and Energi Plug-in hybrids are also available.
The Fusion delivers a sportier feel than many of its domestic competitors. For example, the Fusion handles much better than the Chrysler 300, which suffers from numb steering and loose handling. The Fusion also feels more planted and stable than say, the current Toyota Camry, though that will likely change when Toyota introduces the new version this fall.
The acceleration varies significantly depending on which model you purchase. This car was never meant to compete directly with the likes of Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, but the overall feel is quite European and Ford did a great job of making this vehicle feel much more expensive.
The Fusion has a light, agile driving feel with above-average steering characteristics and a firm yet supple suspension. It provides a more engaging driving experience than you generally expect or get in a family vehicle. Having said that, there are simply too many competitors out there that will likely provide better resale value or better performance for about the same price.
Ford has to convince potential buyers that the Fusion is better than Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata or the Chevy Malibu. That’s a difficult situation given that these cars are also top-rated … but people who are loyal to buying a domestic vehicle with a great styling and performance will be happy with the Fusion ownership. Full specifications can be found at ford.ca.