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It may not be as quick or refined as the leaders in the family car class, but the well-rounded 2007 Ford Fusion is worth a test-drive if you're looking for a roomy yet sporty midsize sedan with styling that doesn't get lost in the crowd.
Distinctive styling for this class, plenty of legroom in both front and back, confident handling, smooth ride, competitive price.
Engines are down on power and refinement, ABS costs extra, stability control isn't available, mediocre interior plastics.
Available Fusion Models
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Changes for the 2007 Ford Fusion are mostly related to feature content. Front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and an input jack for MP3 players are now standard. Fusion SE models also gain alloy wheels, foglamps, a CD changer and a folding front-passenger seat, while SEL models get automatic headlights, heated side mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. New options include a DVD-based navigation system, Sirius satellite radio and, on V6 models, all-wheel drive (Availability is delayed on some items.). Finally, Ford has increased drivetrain warranty protection to five years/60,000 miles.
In years past, Ford's family cars were safe and comfortable, but lacked the clever packaging of top import-brand competitors. Styling was dowdy, convenience features were missing and the fun-to-drive factor was pretty much nonexistent. That all changed with the introduction of the Ford Fusion midsize sedan for 2006.
Built on a stretched and widened version of the Mazda 6 platform, the Fusion has a healthy dose of the Mazda's athleticism, but none of its legroom and shoulder room shortages in the backseat. A pair of adults will be content in the back of a Fusion, making it a good choice for taller families. Ride quality is smooth, even with the focus on handling, and the cabin stays quiet on the highway.
With its unique bodywork, sporty handling dynamics and spacious cabin, the Fusion stacks up well against its competition in the family sedan class. In an effort to solidify its position, the company has made additional equipment available on the 2007 Ford Fusion, including an auxiliary input jack for MP3 players, satellite radio and a navigation system. All-wheel drive is also on the options list for V6 Fusions, and for buyers living in climates with frequent rain or snow, it's worth considering.
The Fusion has two main weak points. The first relates to active safety; ABS is optional and stability control isn't offered. Secondly, neither the base 2.3-liter four-cylinder nor the optional 3.0-liter V6 matches up well with competitors' offerings when it comes to horsepower, acceleration and refinement. If you're not concerned about having the quickest family sedan around, though, the 2007 Ford Fusion is worth a look, particularly if a roomy backseat and agile handling are top priorities. And while it's true that peers like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry offer more overall polish, it's important to keep in mind that none can match the Fusion's bargain price tag.
Available as a midsize sedan only, the 2007 Ford Fusion comes in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. The base S rides on 16-inch wheels and includes air-conditioning, a four-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack for MP3 players, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The SE adds alloy wheels, foglights, a six-way power driver seat, an upgraded six-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer, audio controls on the steering wheel, faux carbon-fiber trim on the center console and dash, and a fold-down front-passenger seat. Top-of-the-line Fusion SEL models come with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors (with puddle lamps), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass and faux wood or "piano black" interior trim. Options on the Fusion include a moonroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an upgraded eight-speaker stereo, a DVD-based navigation system, Sirius satellite radio and a rear spoiler.
The Fusion's base 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine makes 160 horsepower and meets PZEV certification in California. It's connected to a standard five-speed manual transmission, and a five-speed automatic is optional. A 221-hp, 3.0-liter V6 is available on SE and SEL Fusions. This engine comes with one transmission, a six-speed automatic. This transmission shifts well enough, but we wish it had a true manual-shift mode instead of just two forward-gear gates ("D" and "L"), neither of which has much effect on the tranny's behavior. Front-wheel drive is standard on all Fusions; V6 buyers can opt for all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is a strong point for Ford's midsize sedan, as front-drive four-cylinder models are rated 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic transmission, while V6 models have a 21/29 EPA rating.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard equipment on all Fusions, but you have to pay extra for ABS (with electronic brakeforce distribution) no matter which trim level you choose. Traction control is optional on front-wheel-drive V6 models, but stability control is not available at all. On the plus side, front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard across the line.
In NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests, the 2007 Ford Fusion earned four stars (out of five) for driver and front-passenger protection. In side-impact testing, the midsize sedan earned five stars for front-occupant protection and four stars for rear occupants. In IIHS frontal-offset crash testing, the Fusion rated "Acceptable" (the second highest rating on a scale of four). An '06 Fusion received a "Poor" rating in IIHS side-impact testing, but with this year's standard side airbags, we expect its rating to improve.
All Fusions feature gauges with satin-finished bezels, and high-line SEL models offer leather seating with contrasting stitching, an analog clock and steering-wheel-mounted audio and climate controls. Unfortunately, the instrumentation is a bit too small for comfortable reading, and there's no display for the automatic transmission, forcing the driver to look down at the console to confirm gear selection. Although the leather upholstery is of solid quality for this class, many of the plastics feel cut-rate. Build quality is generally above average.
Legroom is ample for front- and rear-seat passengers alike. Storage space within the cabin is adequate, but more impressive is the Fusion's 15.8-cubic-foot trunk, which combined with its split-folding rear seat and fold-down front-passenger seat (SE and SEL models only), gives it more utility than most midsize sedans.
With its responsive steering and a refined ride, the 2007 Ford Fusion is one of the more entertaining vehicles in the family sedan segment. Wind and road noise is effectively quelled at highway speeds, and both automatic transmissions perform competently. Unfortunately, neither engine offers much off-the-line power, and both get a little noisier than we'd like at higher rpm. More horsepower and an automatic transmission with manual access to gears would certainly lend support to the Fusion's sporty aspirations, but it's still an enjoyable car to drive by family sedan standards.
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