Suspension Walkaround - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long-Term Road Test

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Suspension Walkaround

February 09, 2010


Full disclosure: it's raining cats and dogs outside. These pictures of our partially undressed 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid were taken last week before the skies opened up and we were all inundated with Toyota recall coverage. We now take you back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Turns out the Fusion Hybrid rolls around on some interesting suspend-y bits. Let's have a look.


Straight away, we can see that this is not a MacPherson strut car. The Fusion Hybrid has an upper wishbone (yellow) and a coil-over shock (white). So far it looks like a double wishbone setup.


But that's not what we find down below. Instead of a single lower control arm, the Ford Fusion Hybrid employs a more-advanced dual-pivot setup that uses two separate links (yellow), each with its own ball joint.


Here those dual ball joints (yellow) are easier to make out. A split fork (white) connects the lower end of the coil-over shock to one of the two links, but the motion ratio is something less than 1:1 because of its inboard position relative to the ball joint.

Meanwhile, the axle's outer CV-joint housing shows off the serrated ring that is used by the wheel speed sensor to measure wheel speed for the ABS and stability control computer.


For those of you who haven't seen it before, the dual-link lower "arm" produces a virtual steering pivot point that exists far outboard of the two ball joints themselves. This pays dividends in steering geometry and stability.


The lower shock mounting fork wears a mass damper (white) to quell some vibration Ford engineers didn't think customers would like. Higher up, single-piston sliding brake calipers (yellow) and ventilated front discs wait patiently.


Here is a classic case that illustrates how you can tell where the steering rack is located from 50 yards away. That's because the brake caliper and the steering arm cannot occupy the same space. Here the former sits in front of the axle centerline while the latter occupies the space behind. Amaze your friends.


The steering rack (white) and the stabilizer bar (yellow) are often seen together because these two suspension components are both slender and they both must span the width of the car and connect to the other side. It's easy to package them in more-or-less the same space.


The stabilizer bar (yellow) snakes underneath the steering arm until it reaches a short link that connects high up on the coil-over's lower mounting fork.


Above it all, the upper control arm sits with the familiar up-at-the-front angle that shows it has a goodly amount of anti-dive geometry.


It's rare indeed to find a multilink rear suspension that shows off all of its main components in one shot, but our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is unashamed.

Here the trailing arm (black) does all of the fore-aft wheel location duties and resists all torque reactions. The main lower link (red) resists lateral loads and carries the spring and bump stops. The curved upper camber link (white) holds the wheel at the desired camber angle while the stubby toe link (yellow) handles the toe-in control.


In other Ford/Mazda/Volvo applications, the trailing arm (green) is thin and flexible and they call it a control blade. Here the edges are rolled over and it is quite inflexible.


As we've seen before, the toe-link is much shorter than the main lower link, and this causes the link to increase toe-in on the outside wheel in corners for a stabilizing dose of roll understeer. And even though the upper link is called the camber link, the eccentric for setting camber is found at the inner pivot of the main lower link. Toe-in is adjusted by loosening the jamb nuts and twirling the center of the toe link.

The shock absorber (white) mounts directly to the knuckle foe what would seem to be a 1:1 motion ratio. But the angle at which it leans in reduces this a little (Cosines, anyone?) Meanwhile, the stabilizer bar snakes around and mounts to the main lower arm (green) just inboard of the spring pocket.


Here's another look at the upper camber link (white) and the main lower link (black). But we can also see the dual bump stop setup found on a lot of similar Ford-based rear suspensions. A hard rubber stopper (yellow) is the ultimate travel limiter, but the softer urethane stopper inside the coil spring will engage first to create a gradual soft landing and provide a little extra support when the car is heavily loaded.


Here's you can see how a stubby drop link connects the stabilizer bar to the main lower link.


Another wheel, another serrated ABS pickup ring. Here we can see the magnetic ABS pickup. If one of these ever fails (an admittedly rare occurrence) they're fairly easy to replace. The trick is: a) knowing that you actually have a genuine sensor problem and; b) knowing which one it is.


Rear braking duties are handled by single-piston floating calipers and solid rear discs. The parking brake cable acts on a lever (white) that squeezes the caliper without need of the hydraulic circuit.


It's easy to read our Ford Fusion Hybrid's wheel dimensions for yourself. Ford even made the wheel offset obvious.


Sadly, no piece written on a hybrid is complete without at least one green reference. Now that that's out of the way, the aluminum alloy wheels and P225/50R17 Michelin tires -- low rolling resistance rubber, no doubt -- weigh 51 pounds when assembled.

All in all, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid rolls around on a thoughtful, well-packaged suspension. That pretty much sums up the whole car, really. It's going to be an interesting year.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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