Ford’s family sedan is the real deal
When the Fusion first hit the streets for 2006 it was big news. Nestling in between Ford’s little Focus and the full-size Five Hundred sedans, the Fusion was a true competitor for the Accord and Camry.
Based on the Mazda6 platform, the stylish Fusion, with its European manners and refinement, has gone on to become something of a hit for Ford, and deservedly so.
This is a car that meets family and passenger needs extremely well, with the added bonus of responsive, athletic handling.
For 2007, available all-wheel-drive (on V6-powered models) will likely widen its appeal, as will new standard features that include a flat-folding front passenger seat, Sirius satellite radio, plus side and side-curtain airbags.
While the Fusion lineup starts at $23,299 in base SE trim with a 160 hp, 2.3-litre, 4-cylinder engine supplying power, our test sample was an up-level SEL model. With the 160 hp four under its hood, the SEL carries a $25,599 sticker price. Our tester, though, came with the optional 221 hp, 3.0-litre V6 and a base price of $28,599. The V6 and its associated 6-speed automatic transmission can also be had for less in an SE.
The 3.0-litre Duratec V6 was never a paragon of refinement. It’s more civilized in the Fusion than in many other corporate applications, but its robust throb is still an acquired taste. Not that that’s an issue in highway cruise mode, and wind noise is very well muted at legal highway speeds.
Given the engine’s power output, the Fusion argues a text-book case for the benefits of that 6-speed automatic transmission.
It jumps quickly off the line from a standing start and holds its own in traffic all the way up the speed range. Upshifts are smooth and swift while kickdowns for rapid passing are fairly willing. It seems Ford chose to use the bounty of gear ratios for acceleration than fuel economy, although sixth gear is still long-legged — turning just 2300 rpm at 120 km/h.
Thanks to ABS-equipped front disc/rear drum brakes, stops were straight and true, with reassuring pedal feel.
Underway, the ride feels composed and controlled. There’s no fidget in its ride motions, no aftershock. You feel each bump once and then it’s done.
What’s good for ride is good for handling. The Fusion feels balanced and planted, untroubled by mid-curve bumps. Turn-in is alert but not nervous. The 225/50R17 tires hang on hard.
Inside, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. The windshield posts are slimmer than most, and most drivers will have a good sight line over the hood — though taller drivers might find headroom a tad tight. Soft-touch trim material abound while dark wood accents look tastefully high-end.
Some might find the instrument layout too sparsely marked and the low-mounted centre stack audio and heat/vent controls are a long glance away from the road.
Still, a roomy trunk and enjoyable driving traits make the Fusion a very friendly people carrier.
2007 Ford Fusion SEL