Ford Fusion: The sophisticated gentleman of sedans
The Ford Fusion has a refreshingly elegant yet menacing look. The outthrust grill and the slit-like lights, complemented by the beveled hood, give the four-door sedan from Michigan a larger dose of chic than its mainly Japanese and Korean counterparts.
The 2.4 / 2.5-liter category is dominated by the Camrys, Accords, Altimas and Optimas, especially when it comes to renting one for a business trip. It’s hard to arrive in a modicum of style for your meetings if you’re driving one of these cookie-cutter sedans. And that’s where the sophisticated edge of the Fusion makes all the difference.
It’s less boxy than the Optima, edgier than the Accord, has tighter curves than the Camry and more style than the Altima. In short, if first impressions are important to you as you drive up, the Fusion would be your best bet from any viewing angle.
Apart from that, Ford has made sure that the driving experience is at about the same level as the competition. There’s a slightly throatier sound emerging from the 2.5L inline four engine than that of the Japs, but it’s probably not as snarly as the Korean’s. It boasts a quick enough take-off, but its slightly higher curb weight prevents it from logging the fastest time to get from zero to 100kph.
The Rough with the Smooth
It’s doubtful, however, that Ford built the Fusion to win any races. The driver and passenger comfort is
top-notch, helped along by amazingly ergonomic seats, a well-tuned suspension that takes the rough with the smooth without transferring any of it to the cabin, and an air-conditioning system that mocks at the 36-degrees C of heat in which we drove the car.
Driver ergonomics too are right up there with pricier European competitors, starting with a perfectly round steering wheel that makes no pretense at racing credentials, but has a great grip, notches at the right places, control buttons within easy reach, and road feedback that is as precise as you can get from a street-legal car. This is helped along by tight cornering from the shocks assembly, even on bumpy curves.
The Fusion gives you a fairly quick start at the traffic lights. The change up to second is pretty quick, but the transmission sometimes feels like it’s hesitating to pop into third. That’s perhaps the closest you’ll get to red-lining the engine unless you’ve switched to Sport mode on the automatic stick.
Sunk by Microsoft
The six-speed box changes up and down with barely a flutter. Before you know it, you’re cruising in top gear enjoying the sounds emanating from the six-speaker system.
Which is kind of where Ford has let down the average car user. While the sound system is probably one of the best we’ve experienced among four-door commuters, the system’s controller, SYNC by Microsoft, should have been sunk into the sea with weights attached. Needlessly complex, SYNC user experience can be described in a single word: frustrating. This is probably one of the least intuitive systems we’ve seen on four wheels in decades.
It took us about seven minutes to pair a smartphone using Bluetooth and stream music from it. Each time the car was started, we had to go to the SYNC version of the Start button, scroll through to Bluetooth audio and start the music again. Once you get past the steep learning curve, however, the sounds you’ll get are incredibly deep and clear.
The other glitch we noticed related to the storage spaces that are scattered around any car’s interior. While the Fusion has some pleasantly surprising touches like the change tray floating at the lip of the aperture between the front seats – perfect for the coins needed for parking meters – there were some strangely designed unreachable caverns in the door panels and under the fascia. It seemed as if some mad elves had taken charge of storage design after the real designers had gone home for the day.
Overall, the Ford Fusion is an elegant and suave vehicle that helps you make an arrival statement like no other car in its genre.
|Looks great||SYNC by Microsoft|
|Sounds good||Some unreachable storage spaces|
|Excellent sound system|
The 2.4-2.5L I4 FWD Family Sedan shootout
|Ford Fusion||Kia Optima||Honda Accord||Nissan Altima||Toyota Camry|
|Engine||2.5L I4 FWD||2.4L I4 FWD||2.4L I4 FWD||2.5L I4 FWD||2.5L I4 FWD|
|Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)||7.4||8.3||7.3||6.3||7.8|
|0-100 kph (sec.)||9.5||9.5||9.8||8.0||9.3|
|Top Speed (kph)||200||208||208||223||195|
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