Give Me Back the Spectrum - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long-Term Road Test

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long Term Road Test

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Give Me Back the Spectrum

November 12, 2010


Bass. Treble. What is this, 1968? Sitting around with my RCA Victor hi-fi, spinning the Animals in quadraphonic? Come on Ford, this is 2010. Can I at least get a midrange fader?

This configuration isn't limited to the Fusion Hybrid by any means. But it drives me bananas just the same, especially when the system touts its Sony design DNA (via monitor display) on power-up. Automakers could pack a 16-band graphic EQ in the virtual space at minimal cost if they wanted. No knobs or sliders occupying real estate on the faceplate. Just a simple sub-menu screen with touchscreen faders.

Is a 5-band equalizer too much to ask? Bass and treble works, but it's like bringing home a tomato and garlic clove and asking for marinara.

I asked Doug Newcomb, our Senior Editor of Technology, about this. He speculated that most automakers just simply don't want people monkeying with factory audio calibrations. Most OEM audio engineers tune a system for a certain benign sound, looking more for consistency than individuality, he said.

For 90 percent of car owners, that's probably enough. And dealers don't really want customers coming back to them lost in a sea of 250 Hz midrange and fuzz, unable to hear Celine's vocals clearly.

The other 10 percent of us want the spectrum back.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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