We purchased a 2009 SEL I4 in April to replace our minivan. My wife loves the size, maneuverability, and fuel economy. I rated the performance lower, but we did pick the I4 for fuel economy. Loads of room in the back for two growing 'tweens with plenty of leg room for me in the front. Anyway, Frannie (our name for our Fusion) took a direct hit centered on the driver and rear door. The airbags deployed, the B-pillar was crushed, the C-pillar and roof line were creased, and the doors look like used aluminum foil. However, my wife walked away with only some bruises from the seat belt, which she felt clamp down. We are currently shopping for a 2010 Fusion or its sibling, the Mercury Milan.
Well built safety cage SYNC
A more refined I4 engine with a little more pep and fuel economy. The 2010 model looks like a good start.