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Ford Fusion – The best car you don’t know about

Consumer Reports News: April 30, 2009 02:39 PM

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For some odd reason, when people are chatting about new cars, they rarely mention the Ford Fusion. For a really good car that’s been around for a while, the Fusion seems to get less name recognition than Archibald Leach, better known as Cary Grant. That’s a shame. The Fusion is not only one of the very best cars produced by Detroit, but it is one of the best midsized sedans made by any company. (Ford Fusion model overview with ratings, available to online subscribers.)

What makes it good?

For starters, it’s fun to drive, with a good ride and crisp, responsive handling. It’s also the right size, compact enough to be maneuverable yet large enough to seat five people with ease. Then there’s the wide choice of configurations. Besides the usual front-drive configuration, the Fusion also offers an all-wheel-drive model and a full-hybrid version. Sadly, perhaps, not both at the same time.

Two more pluses: Not only does the Fusion have excellent crash-test results but it’s also one of the more reliable cars in our annual auto survey. It is more reliable than the ubiquitous Toyota Camry, an honor it’s held since the Camry’s 2007 redesign.

What we’re testing now: We just bought three front-wheel drive Fusions, which have been updated for the 2010 model year. Both our 175-hp, four-cylinder SE and 240-hp, 3.0-liter V6 versions have a six-speed automatic. The third example is a Hybrid model, which has a four-cylinder engine aided by an electric powertrain that brings net horsepower to 191. Standard safety gear on all includes antilock brakes, stability control, and six air bags.

What price?

Sticker prices ranged from about $22,150 for the basic four-cylinder to $32,400 for our loaded Hybrid, including options and shipping. The V6 SEL stickered at $28,400.

Without any arm-twisting, we paid about $26,000 and change for our just–arrived V6 SEL. That included customer incentives Ford is offering right now and struck us as pretty reasonable considering what was included. Among the goodies was full leather upholstery, heated eight-way power seats, a power moonroof, a good Sony audio system with Sirius satellite radio, the Sync Bluetooth voice-activated audio and communications system, blind-spot and crossing-traffic alert system, rear-view camera, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Can’t say but…
It’s too early to make any judgments about driving dynamics or how well all the bits and pieces work together. Given our past experience with several Fusions we’ve already tested, and a few new ones we’ve briefly sampled, we expect the 2010 models to be at least as good as the cars they replaced, all of which we liked. The enduring mystery is why more people don’t already know about this car. 

Gordon Hard  Photography by Mike Leung.

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