2010 Ford Fusion
Unless you’ve miraculously been duped into thinking the faux Fusion racing in NASCAR shares any mechanical parts with its road-going namesake, you’re probably well aware that Ford’s mid-size sedan isn’t the most exiting car on the market. But that’s ok, because neither are its main competitors – the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. What they are, however, are bulletproof segment-leaders, and any American automaker looking to take on such stalwarts has to overcome the two-faced nemesis that is old-school brand perception. As a result, the execs at the Blue Oval have decided to revamp the Fusion for 2010 in response to Camry, Accord and to a lesser extent, Malibu having been refreshed since the Fusion’s launch in 2006. New, more fuel-efficient engines are on offer, as is a hybrid
model. Couple this with a Fusion that no longer lacks in the style department thanks to a redesigned interior featuring Ford’s advanced navigation system and Sony-sourced audio, and you’ve got a Fusion that’s ready to appeal to the masses.
What's to Like
Front-wheel drive, all wheel drive and three different engine options make the most of the flexible Fusion platform. Interior quality has been substantially improved over the old model, and gone is the wonky center console and bargain bin plastics. And, of course, Ford’s next-generation navigation system continues to impress.
What's Not to Like
The sport model feels overpowered in front-wheel drive setup, but you’ve got the option of all-wheel drive – at a price, of course. Navigation is an expensive add-on that’s unfortunately a real make-or-break deal for the interior. Without the nav screen, the dash looks a bit naked. Interior accent lights still feel a bit tacky.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
You’re never going to have the drive of your life in a mid-size, non-premium family sedan (and if you do, you need to get out more). That said, the Fusion gets you pretty close to an entertaining drive. Power delivery is linear and the steering, while not razor sharp, is predictable and decently communicative. The stability control system likes to bombard you will all kinds corrective braking just as you start to have fun, so you quickly learn that hustling a Fusion is an exercise in patience, and keeping momentum on your side becomes priority numero uno. Braking is more than adequate, and fade only creeps in on the longest, most twisty of downhill roads. But this is an urban car, mostly relegated to lurking about on suburban streets and shopping mall parking lots. The cabin is extremely quiet and the ride is well balanced yet not overly cushy. It’s exactly what a car in this segment should drive, but push harder and you might be surprised at what a competent driver it is.
Engine and Drivetrain
It’s safe to say there’s something for everyone within the Fusion lineup. The base engine is a 175 horsepower, 172 lb-ft 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Next in line (there are a lot of drivetrains here) is a 3.0-liter V-6, good for 240 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. It drives either the front or all four wheels via a six-speed auto. Lastly is the sport model’s 3.5-liter V-6, which produces 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. It, too, drives either the front or all four wheels via Ford’s six-speed automatic.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
A hard-hitting Sony audio system takes satellite radio and SYNC to an all-new level of clarity. The safety conscious will appreciate the Volvo-derived Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that uses radar waves to check for objects hiding in the Fusion’s flanks and illuminates a warning light within the side view mirror if anything is detected. Dual climate control and heated seats round out a solid set of interior comforts. Oh yeah, a cabin air filter is equipped – a Fusion first. Allergy sufferers, rejoice!
Key Technology Evaluation
For 2010, the Fusion gets a big boost in the technology department, including Ford’s impressive next-generation navigation system with SYNC and SIRIUS Travel Link. New to SYNC is a Vehicle Health Report that turns your car into its own doctor, sending diagnostic data directly to Ford, who can then forward the information to your local dealer for service. We especially like the rearview mirror integrated reverse camera (it displays on the in-dash screen if you add nav), though glare can be a problem in certain lighting conditions.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The EPA has yet to evaluate the Fusion, so details remain sparse at the moment, but Ford claims the 2.5-liter should be 10 percent more fuel efficient thanks to the new six-speed transmissions, which would put it at around 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway (Ford has claimed 33 mpg). V-6 engines see a six percent efficiency increase, which will put the 3.0-liter around 19 city, 28 highway. The 3.5-liter hasn’t been offered in the Fusion before, but if it’s more efficient than the 3.0-liter, we’ll gladly eat the window sticker.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Gone are gauges that appear to have been designed by the world’s cheapest watchmaker. In their place drivers will find attractive, refreshingly modern pseudo 3D gauges that have much more depth to them. Interior accents come in vibrant colors such as red and blue on the sport model, but look best in more neutral colors. The seats provide ample support, though they’re clearly best fitted to, er, wider bodies.
Outside, the Fusion retains the same basic shape and signature (albeit larger) three-bar front grille, and the angular headlights appear to have a bit of Saab influence in them. The car has a wider overall appearance, leading to a sportier look. Sport models get 18-inch five-spoke wheels, side-skirts and a rear spoiler.
Market Segment and Pricing
In this cutthroat market, pricing is key. The Fusion starts off at a very competitive MSRP of $19, 270. That’s right in line with main rivals, the $19,145 Toyota Camry
and the $20,905 Honda Accord LX
, and it undercuts its main domestic rival, the $22,275 Chevrolet Malibu
, by a significant amount. Of course, those pricing schemes change once you start adding options, and if you want a sport model be prepared to shell out $25,825.
What We ThinkT
When you set the bar at household names like Camry and Accord, you’ve got your work cut out for you. he Fusion has righted a lot of the outgoing model’s wrongs, most importantly interior quality and style. It doesn’t try too hard, which is good, because this is a segment that doesn’t appreciate large quantities of imagination. We like that there’s a lot of technology on offer, especially for a car at this price point, and if fuel prices spike again, you can bet those extra mpgs will bring in new customers.