At its debut, the Ford Fusion was nothing less than a landmark car for the company. With the Fusion, Ford once again had a strong midsize sedan contender, something it hadn't fielded since the first-generation Taurus that debuted back in the mid-1980s. Savvy consumers have taken notice of the Fusion's spacious cabin, responsive driving dynamics, solid build quality and attractive styling.
In addition to its family-friendly features, the newest Ford Fusion provides a sporty, involving drive -- a rare quality in this segment and one that most folks can appreciate. Although we've been understandably even more impressed by the most recent generation, any Fusion should be an attractive choice for anybody wanting a comfortable, well-equipped family hauler.
Current Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion is a midsize four-door sedan that's available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. There are also the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi (Plug-in Hybrid), which are covered in separate reviews.
The Fusion S and SE come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. For the SE, there are three additional engine options. A turbocharged 1.6-liter four with 178 hp comes solely with a six-speed manual transmission. A turbocharged 1.5-liter four, also with 178 hp, comes solely with a six-speed automatic. And for maximum performance, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four makes 240 hp and only comes with the six-speed automatic but adds paddle shifters. The Fusion Titanium comes standard with the turbocharged 2.0-liter and an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, while all-wheel drive is optional for the Titanium.
Standard highlights on the S include air-conditioning, the voice-activated Sync audio/cell phone interface and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB/iPod interface. The SE adds alloy wheels, a power driver seat, a rear seat center armrest and access to additional options, while the Titanium comes with a sport-tuned suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors/camera, the MyFord Touch electronics interface and an upgraded sound system. Major options include a navigation system and an automated parking system.
In reviews, we've been very impressed by the latest Ford Fusion. The European-flavored driving experience we enjoyed in the previous generation is fully intact, meaning the current Fusion boasts a comfortable ride along with engaging, composed handling. The steering furthers this impression with its sharp, communicative nature. Furthermore, it's hard to go wrong with any of the Fusion's engine choices (not to mention the hybrids), but as expected the turbocharged ones deserve extra credit for their ability to blend spirited performance with impressive fuel efficiency.
Used Ford Fusion Models
The current, third-generation Ford Fusion was introduced for 2013. Compared to the second-generation car, this Fusion boasts more dramatic exterior styling, more fuel-efficient engines and the latest in electronics and features. These Fusions are identical to the latest version with a few minor exceptions. Specifically, the 1.6-liter was the only small turbo engine available and could be had with an automatic transmission. Also, inflatable rear seatbelts, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats were unavailable.
The second generation of the Ford Fusion was produced from 2010-'12. Compared to the original Fusion, it sported refreshed front and rear styling as well as more powerful engines. Apart from a few minor updates, such as blind-spot mirrors, a manual-shift feature for the six-speed automatic and one-touch up/down front windows, there were no notable changes during its run. As it retained the many attributes of the first Fusion while addressing its few weaknesses, this Fusion stands as one of the top used car picks in the midsize sedan segment.
There were four trim levels -- S, SE, Sport and SEL -- while engine offerings consisted of the base 2.5-liter four (175 hp), an optional 3.0-liter V6 (240 hp) and, for the Sport, a 3.5-liter V6 (263 hp). A six-speed manual transmission could be had on the 2.5, while optional for that engine and standard on the rest was a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive was standard across the board with the exception of the SEL V6 and Sport, which had available all-wheel drive.
Standard feature highlights for the S included 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning and a stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE added 17-inch alloys, automatic headlights, a power driver seat and an upgraded audio system. The Sport included sport-tuned suspension and steering, 18-inch wheels, exclusive styling cues, power front seats, leather upholstery and the Sync multimedia voice control interface. The SEL also featured leather seating as well as heated seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options (depending on trim) include remote starting, a sunroof, a rearview camera, reverse park assist, a blind spot detection system and a navigation system.
This second-generation Ford Fusion had a nice combination of responsive performance and well-balanced handling and ride dynamics. Inside there was plenty of room, quality materials and handy features. The Sync system was a great feature, allowing easy hands-free operation of cell phones and portable MP3 players. The only notable downside to the car was its V6, which was rather ho-hum in light of other models' V6s that provided quicker acceleration and fuel economy.
The first-generation Ford Fusion was produced for the 2006-'09 model years. Initially offered only with front-wheel drive, the Fusion was offered in S, SE and SEL trim levels. The standard engine was a 160-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder. When paired with the standard five-speed manual, this engine was peppy enough, but with the more popular optional five-speed automatic, the Fusion struggled to get out of its own way. The SE and SEL could be optioned with a 221-hp 3.0-liter V6 paired to a six-speed automatic, which improved the Fusion's thrust considerably.
However, both these engines were underpowered for the class -- especially the V6 -- and neither was particularly fuel-efficient. Inside, the Fusion had a more cohesive look than older Ford sedans, thanks to its crisp lines and coordinated textures. Build quality was solid and the seats were well-shaped and supportive, even for taller folk. Unfortunately, the quality of some plastics was still a couple steps behind the import-brand competition.
The following year brought changes that included standard front seat airbags, side curtain airbags and an auxiliary audio jack. Options like navigation, satellite radio and all-wheel drive were added to the options sheet, along with more standard equipment on the SE and SEL models. As such, we'd stick with this model year or later. For 2008, Ford's Sync system became available, although it was sullied somewhat by the Fusion's outdated standard stereo head unit. Antilock brakes became standard that year and more optional equipment was added, including the Sport Appearance package that included 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and special trim. For 2009, stability control became optional on all Ford Fusions (we recommend finding one so equipped) and traction control became standard on V6 versions.
Read the most recent 2016 Ford Fusion review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Fusion page.