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 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 — as well as optional all-wheel drive. 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 one of the best-looking midsize four-door sedans on the market, and with optional upgrades, it can offer the performance, advanced technology and luxury features to back up those looks. It's available in five trim levels: S, SE, Titanium, Platinum and Sport. 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. The SE can also be had with a 1.5-liter turbo-four that makes 181 horsepower and returns the best fuel economy of the regular gas engines. The Fusion Titanium and Platinum come standard with the turbocharged 2.0-liter that puts out a respectable 240 hp. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, and all-wheel drive is optional for all but the S. For power-hungry buyers, the Sport comes with a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 with 325 hp. In order to handle that power, the Sport is only available with AWD. All engines are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard highlights on the S include air-conditioning, the voice-activated Sync audio and cellphone 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. The Titanium comes with a sport-tuned suspension, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, parking sensors, the Sync 3 interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, and an upgraded sound system. You can get many of those features as options on the lesser trim levels. Other major options include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a navigation system and an automated parking system.
Above that is the luxurious Platinum trim, which features upgraded leather, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and all of the Titanium's optional equipment, making it an impressively feature-rich car. The Sport, meanwhile, receives the turbo V6, adjustable suspension dampers, and leather and simulated suede seats. It starts with fewer interior luxuries than the Titanium, but those can be added with an upgrade package.
In reviews, we've been very impressed by the latest Ford Fusion. The interior is relatively quiet and proves both comfortable and attractively designed, especially in higher trim levels where the interior materials are substantially improved over the somewhat plasticky base models. 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 2.0-liter turbo and V6 offer spirited acceleration, although the two base engines feel lacking when compared to competitors. We recommend the Fusion SE with either the 1.5- or 2.0-liter engine — depending on how much you value brisk acceleration — and the Sync 3 upgrade because the base infotainment system can be frustrating.
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 and powerful engines, and the latest in electronics and features. This newest generation received an update for 2017, with refreshed styling and the introduction of the Platinum and Sport trims, which were not previously available. The Sync 3 system was also introduced, replacing the older MyFord Touch, which has been roundly criticized for its unintuitive and frustrating interface. In general, though, used third-generation Fusions are easy to recommend.
The second generation of the Ford Fusion was produced from 2010 to 2012. 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. Since 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 parking assist, blind-spot monitoring 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 cellphones and portable MP3 players. The only notable downside to the car was its V6, which was rather ho-hum in light of competitors' V6s that provided quicker acceleration and better fuel economy.
The first-generation Ford Fusion was produced for the 2006 to 2009 model years. Initially offered only with front-wheel drive, the Fusion came 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.
But 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 folks. 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 such as navigation, satellite radio and all-wheel drive were added, 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.