With the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord accounting for most mid-size sedan sales, many buyers overlook domestic offerings like the Ford Fusion — and that’s a shame, because the Fusion has a lot to offer.
By Aaron Gold
THE BIG PICTURE
The main reason VroomGirls hired me — besides the fact that my testosterone levels are significantly lower than the average American male — is that my boss, Tara, finds my reviews humorous. So when it comes to the Ford Fusion, I’m at a complete loss. The Ford Fusion is one of my favorite cars, because it has everything a mid-size sedan should: Roomy interior, big trunk, reasonable price, and good driving dynamics. That’s all well and good, but how the hell am I supposed to write a funny review? “Laugh it up, ladies, this big back seat makes it easy to get kids into car seats! Hee hee hee! And here’s a side-splitter: Your twin jogging stroller will fit with ease into the trunk! Isn’t that rich? Oh, and have you heard the one about the Fusion’s option list? It’s huge! Please stop before I wet myself!” See? Nothing funny. The Fusion is great for your family, it’s not great for my job prospects. So please, enjoy what will probably be my last VroomGirls.com review.
This is the section where I try to get the audience rolling with something like “The interior is a work of art, if you like Picasso.” Sadly, there are no jokes to be made here. The Fusion’s interior isn’t anything fancy, but it works in a working-class sort of way: Decent materials, clear gauges, and fairly straightforward controls. It may not have the ambiance of a Lexus — although if that’s what you want, the Lincoln MKZ is basically the same car with a much nicer interior — but the Fusion is a nice enough place to spend your commute.
So these two nuns walk into a bar… Sorry, but I’m at a bit of a loss, because there is nothing to laugh at but everything to love. While the Fusion’s back seat and trunk aren’t best-in-class, they are only fractionally smaller than the class leaders — which means the Fusion suits kids from 6 pounds 5 ounces up to 6 feet 5 inches, while the trunk will easily haul your baby’s stroller or your college kid’s trunk. (Pack it to the rafters, girls: While many automakers are switching back to cheap old-fashioned gooseneck trunk hinges, the Fusion uses an expensive articulated hinge that won’t squash your stuff.)
It’s hard to be funny when you’re talking about safety, but the Fusion gives me reason to smile: It scored top marks in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s front, side, rear and rollover tests, and walked away with a Top Safety Pick award. Optional safety equipment includes all-wheel-drive, a blind-spot warning system, and SYNC, which I’ll talk about in a moment. But one of the most innovative safety systems is MyKey, standard on the Fusion and exclusive to Ford.
GIZMOS AND TECH
The Ford Fusion is available with one of my favorite gizmos: Ford’s SYNC system, which allows you to control your Bluetooth cell phone, iPod, and the optional navigation system with voice commands. You can say things like “Play artist David Hasselhoff”* and your iPod will do as you say. It will even read text messages as you receive them. SYNC helps drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Several automakers offer voice recognition systems, but many of them seem to understand English about as well as I understand Finnish (which is not at all). I’ve yet to find one that works as well as SYNC.
* Don’t laugh. The Hoff has some awesome pipes.
The Ford Fusion can be had with either a 4-cylinder engine or a V6; I prefer the four-cylinder, because a) at 175 horsepower it provides all the power the Fusion needs, and b) I’m a cheapskate, and the four gets the best gas mileage — though at 22 MPG city/30 MPG highway, it’s fallen a bit behind the competition.
The Sport model gets its own engine, a big 263 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 along with stiffer springs and shock absorbers to tighten up the handling. Equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive system, the Fusion Sport is actually pretty good in the curves — good enough to wipe that patronizing smirk off the face of your BMW-owning friends, not that any of us responsible adults would feel the need to do that.
When people shop for mid-size sedans, they often head straight for the Toyota or Honda dealerships and overlook the Ford Fusion. That's a shame, because the Fusion is a great car -- if you're buying it, that is. If you're trying to write a funny review... not so much.
Big back seat and trunk, SYNC and MyKey systems
Good to drive, nice interior layout
Built in Mexico (so much for buying American