Ford Fusion Review:
There’s been plenty of good news for Ford Motor Company despite the
horrible auto market. The company managed to avoid bankruptcy and the
government bailout money, and now has some great cars to sell. The 2010
Fusion is one of them.
The midsized Fusion
sedan, introduced in 2006, competes directly with the enormously popular
Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. American products have struggled in this
contest historically, but for 2010, Ford focused on improving any areas
that will enhance the Fusion’s status with car buyers.
First of all, they
burnished curb appeal with a carefully orchestrated restyle. The changes
include a domed hood, more dramatic headlamps and a grander version of
the chrome three-bar look offered in the first release of the car. The
rear features more elaborately rendered taillamps and detailing, which
is part of an overall car industry trend.
Drivers actually spend
the bulk of their time behind the wheel, and here Ford paid attention
and applied worthwhile upgrades. The dash features padded panels in
place of hard plastic and the wheel wears a soft leather cover. The
gauges are upgraded to a jewel-like quality with bright “ice blue”
lighting. The instrument panel welcomes you with a little sequence that
includes sweeping needles and a friendly greeting.
The seats, often a weak
spot in American vehicles, have been recontoured, with more side
support. The armrests are nicely padded. The shifter is redesigned. It’s
a long list of upgrades.
Quiet has been a
selling point of luxury cars for decades, and the engineers also
attacked area in the 2010 Fusion. An acoustic windshield, thicker door
glass, revised insulation in the hood, dash, trunk and headliner, along
with better body and door sealing, make the Fusion whisper quiet. That
improves the perception of quality and also makes for more relaxed
The Fusion comes in
several models, from the entry level S model to the well-equipped SEL.
It also offers a Sport version and a new Hybrid model.
My test car was a
Sterling Gray Metallic SEL. The S, SE and SEL come standard with a
2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 175 horsepower, an
improvement over last year’s 160-horsepower 2.3-liter four. My tester
was upgraded to the 3.0-liter Duratec V6, with 240 horsepower. That’s
enough to make the 3.400-pound car a strong competitor with the V6
Camry/Accord, and it does it with regular gas.
The Sport model uses a
3.5-liter V6 that puts out 265 horsepower. That places the Fusion into
competition with a wider range of cars, and could even tempt buyers of
more upscale vehicles who have an open mind about the badge on their
engine, which comes with a manual six-speed in the S model, earns a
respectable 23 City, 34 Highway with the six-speed automatic (slightly
better than with the manual!). The V6 is rated at 18 /27, with automatic
only. I averaged 22.7 mpg.
The EPA’s Green Vehicle
Guide gives the four-cylinder a 7 for both Greenhouse Gas and Air
Pollution scores. The V6 drops to a 7 and a 5.
The Fusion proved to be
a good driver in town and for commuting.
Engineers made numerous
improvements in the 2010 model’s steering, handling and brake pedal
feel. I felt engaged with the car. The electric power steering had a
good heft to it and assistance varied depending on speed, so parking lot
maneuvering felt different from freeway cruising.
The Blind Spot
Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert identifies when a
vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone on either side of your car
and illuminates a light on the corresponding side-view mirror; it makes
an audible alert too. The system also can provide extra confidence to
drivers in parking lots by alerting them sooner of nearby traffic while
I had a few minor
issues with the interior. The textures of the hard and soft plastics
were not perfectly matched. The console is home to many buttons, which
despite their attractive new look were sometimes a long reach, which
forced me to take my eyes off the road to make climate control and seat
heater selections. The highly regarded SYNC system had trouble
connecting to my iPod. And an electronic voice periodically interrupted
my enjoyment of the Sirius satellite radio to ask if I wanted a Vehicle
Prices start at $19,995
for the S with manual transmission and no extras. The likely
volume-selling SEL starts at $24,700. My SEL, with V6 and a package full
of goodies, including audio upgrade, a moonroof and the BLIS system came
Motor Trend named the
Fusion as its 2010 Car of the Year. Sales are up. In a stormy time, it’s
a ray of sunshine. And Ford has more coming soon.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Fusion is the poster child at Ford showing the world that it
can build and sell cars that are as good, or better, than the Accord and
Camry. Winning the highly acclaimed Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in
a field of great cars, and being named the best one, says it all. They
will continue to shine in quality, innovation and value, and I expect
Ford to lead the sales charts throughout the automotive economic
recovery over the next decade.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
And remember: “ You Are
What You Drive ”
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Column Name: The 2010
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