2006 Ford Fusion Review
2006 Ford Fusion Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Cutting-edge looks, upscale interior, tight construction, confident handling, competitive price.
- Engines are down on power for this class, automatic doesn't offer manual-shift control.
The Fusion is an all-new midsize family sedan from Ford designed to take on segment leaders. Both four- and six-cylinder engines are available, as is a six-speed automatic transmission.
The introduction of the 2006 Ford Fusion marks the first time in nearly two decades that Ford has a high-quality midsize sedan that can go toe-to-toe with the imports while maintaining a distinctly American style.
A few years ago Ford's head of vehicle design, J Mays, was asked why the American automakers had "lost" the family sedan market. His response: "We didn't lose it, we walked away from it." Those comments were made at the introduction of a sleek and stylish sedan concept car, the 427, in 2003. The car represented Ford's interest in reestablishing itself in the family four-door segment, and many of its design elements, including the large headlights and bold, three-bar grille, are prominent features on the all-new Ford Fusion.
The Fusion gives notice, to customers and competitors alike, that Ford is once again ready to compete for midsize family sedan buyers. The last time Ford had a serious contender in this category it went by the name Taurus. That model even held the title "best-selling car in America" for a few years before being relegated to rental car status as superior offerings from Honda, Nissan and Toyota stole the sales spotlight.
But the 2006 Ford Fusion -- riding on a lengthened, widened version of the highly acclaimed Mazda 6 platform -- has plenty going for it in this competitive market. Like the nimble 6, it rides on a four-wheel independent suspension and features a rack and pinion steering system. But unlike the 6, the Fusion provides passengers with adequate interior space by increasing both the length and width of the vehicle. Supplementing the cabin's space are upscale treatments like satin-finished bezels around the gauges and soft-touch material on the dash and door panels. Upscale models include leather seats with contrasting stitching, and all Fusions come standard with steering wheel-mounted buttons for cruise control, power windows, power locks and keyless entry.
Ford Fusion power comes from either a 2.3-liter, 160-horsepower four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter, 221-hp V6. The smaller engine is hooked to a standard five-speed manual with a five-speed automatic optional, but the V6 can only be had with a six-speed automatic transmission. The V6 does include dual exhaust pipes, and both engines feature four-valve-per-cylinder heads and 150,000-mile tune up intervals.
To address the safety concerns of family sedan buyers, Ford strengthened the car's platform in various areas. The B-pillars, between the front and rear doors, are reinforced above the car's beltline to direct side-impact energy down and away from passengers. The roof structure is similarly reinforced to pass proposed rollover crush standards that won't take effect until 2009, and an optional side airbag package offers seat-deployed torso airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags that protect both front and rear occupants. It may be a bit overdue, but it would appear that the 2006 Ford Fusion was worth the wait.
Performance & mpg
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.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard equipment on all Fusion models. Options on all Fusions include ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and an airbag package with front-seat side airbag and full-length head curtains. Traction control is optional on V6 models, but stability control is not available at all. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2006 Ford Fusion scored four stars (out of five) in frontal impact and four (five with the side airbag option) for side impact. In IIHS frontal offset testing, the Fusion rated "Acceptable" (the second highest rating); in side impact testing (without side airbags) it yielded a "Poor" rating.
With its responsive steering and a refined ride, the 2006 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 the six-speed transmission offers crisp upshifts and downshifts. More horsepower, and an automatic transmission with manual access to gears, would lend support to the Fusion's sporty aspirations, but it's still a fun car to drive by family sedan standards.
The Fusion's upscale interior offers an effective blend of premium materials and functional design elements. All models feature gauges with satin-finished bezels, soft-touch dash and door material, and a storage bin in the center of the dash. Upscale Fusions feature leather seating surfaces with contrasting stitching, an analog clock, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. All audio systems are MP3-capable, and the split-folding rear seat, along with a 15.8-cubic-foot trunk, adds to the Fusion's utility. Most buyers will find the Ford Fusion suitably roomy with ample head-, shoulder and legroom for adults to ride comfortably in the front or back
2006 Ford Fusion models
The midsize 2006 Ford Fusion sedan comes in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. The base S rides on 16-inch wheels and includes air conditioning, an MP3-compatible CD stereo with four speakers, a split-folding rear seat, cruise control, full power accessories and keyless entry. The SE adds a six-way power driver seat, audio controls on the steering wheel, carbon trim on the center console and dash, and two more speakers for the audio system. Options on the SE include alloy wheels, leather seats, a moonroof, an upgraded eight-speaker stereo and an in-dash CD changer. Top-of-the-line SEL models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-disc CD changer, foglamps, automatic climate control, and wood or "piano black" interior trim. In addition to the SE options, the SEL is eligible for heated seats and a premium package with automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.75 out of 5 stars
Don't buy a used 2006 Fusion
SE 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
I personally loved the car until I became victim of the 50k + transmission defect. There is a big problem with these transmissions. The car becomes outright dangerous to drive. Symptoms include, violent jerking when trying to accelerate to pass, followed by loss of speed. At times the tranny with simply drop out of gear, as if it went into neutral while cruising along on the express way. … That's always fun when there is a semi on your tail. There are ALLOT of complaints to Ford and government agencies, but they refuse to do anything about a known defect in certain transmission that is extremely unsafe.
5 out of 5 stars
This is the best car I've ever owned
SE 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
I bought this car at 34,000 in 2009. At the time I was a service technician and had to use my own car. Before the end of the 2 year mark I had put over 100,000 miles on this thing. I live in Ohio and drove this car to the Carolinas and Virginia beach annually, including a 24 hour straight drive to Texas and 24 hours straight back 3 days later and never felt worried about making it home. … My point is, I beat up my vehicles and this has been a beast. AC failed around the 140,000 mark (didn't bother fixing it), I replaced the thermostat and drive belt at 150,000, at 210,000 the radiator and transmission cooler lines were replaced, driver side window regulator at 215,000 and now at 217,000 the transmission valve body needs to be replaced so I'm reluctantly trading it in before I press my luck any further. I can't talk much about labor cost because I do most of my own work, but replacement part costs aren't terrible (except the valve body). And even with the age of the car its still averaging 27mpg! My biggest cons are the cheap plastic door handles and the radio display has bad soldering causing it to blank out. Basically very minor things. Ford bought my favor back from GM with this car.
4 out of 5 stars
NO MAJOR ISSUES - 10yr original owner
SE 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
I purchased this car new in 2006 when I needed to trade in my mustang that was not so affordable while in college. This was not my choice vehicle, but the decent power was an acceptable transition from the GT power I was used to indulging in. I pushed the oil changes beyond to ~5k mi but regularly went with a synthetic oil option. I did maintenance at 80k mi and have it inspected … periodically. It now has 140k mi and the recent full inspection from the dealership reported all areas in the green, including belts and hoses. That's the good. Here's the bad. Shortly after purchase, one of the rear inner door handles completely broke. They're made of plastic that isn't so durable. I should have taken it for repair under warranty, but didn't. Then, at ~80k mi, the front control arms needed to be replaced. This was a bit expensive... on the order of $1800. It wasn't a safety concern, but they were noisy. It was due to the rubber in the ends of each arm, which breaks down so it sounded like rubber rubbing together whenever the wheels were turned. That was a bummer, but I suppose the bad could have been much worse. The headliner has started to fall at the rear recently, so that will need repair next. Other than that, I've only needed to replace the brakes - which lasted >100k mi and tires. Overall it's been a great, reliable vehicle for the past decade!
4.38 out of 5 stars
Great car but...
SEL 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
Purchased used in 2006 with 1,200 miles on the OD. For the first three years car was brilliant. No problems, just routine maintenance, brakes, oil changes, ect. Ride was excellent and the seats are extremely comfortable and well trimmed. In 2010, we had a few problems with the engine, but was covered under an extended warranty. Service engine soon light would come off and on. Also … problems with charging system. In 2013, the car reached around 96,000 miles and started to develop some transmission problems. Dealer inspected the car and would not be a cheap fix since the extended warranty had ended. Decided to trade the car in and avoid major repairs in the future.
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestPoor
- Roof Strength TestAcceptable
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintMarginal
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestAcceptable
More about the 2006 Ford Fusion
More About This Model
Back in 1986, the Taurus was heralded as the car that would save Ford Motor Company. And it did. Now, 20 years later the same monumental responsibility has been thrust upon the 2006 Ford Fusion.
Although its outgoing Taurus sold 6.7 million units in its 21-year run, Ford has never really offered a proper midsize sedan to battle the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Camry -- until now. Positioned with neat alliteration between the Focus and the Five Hundred, Ford hopes the Fusion will bridge the long-standing abyss in the company's product lineup.
A Mazda Underneath
Although it's based on a Mazda 6 chassis that has been lengthened over 2 inches and widened over an inch, the Fusion is Ford's first completely digital car, featuring computerized design, engineering and testing. The results, according to Ford, are improved interior and exterior panel fit, tighter tolerances, more efficient aerodynamics, and increased torsional stiffness (by 12.7 percent) without adding weight.
Visually, the Fusion appears smaller than its competitors, though the spec sheet indicates differently. It's greater in wheelbase, overall length and width than the Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.
Inspired by the 427 sedan concept car from 2003, the Fusion's styling is slick and uniform. Body panels are smooth and flush, and come across as looking expensive for the price point. Although its face recalls the somewhat staid Cadillac STS, its clear-lensed taillights are pure 20-something tuner.
Three Models/Two Engines
Three models are offered: the base S, which starts at $17,995; the SE; and the top-of-the-line SEL. Each comes standard with the same 2.3-liter, all-aluminum, DOHC four-cylinder that's used in the Mazda 6. It makes 160 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm and can be paired with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
If you want V6 power you have to step up to the SE model. Its optional 3.0-liter six-cylinder, which is also borrowed from the Mazda, makes 221 hp at 6,250 rpm and zings the price up to $21,275. Although still more expensive and less powerful than a 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS V6, the Fusion SE V6 is cheaper than its Japanese competition.
The V6 SEL costs about $22,000 and features 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic temperature control, upgraded interior trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant stereo and climate controls. Add all the stand-alone options and the price can climb as high as $26,000.
Perhaps the biggest foul in the Fusion's specs are its lack of a manual transmission with the V6. Despite this V6 being paired with a five-speed manual in the Mazda, it's only partnered with a six-speed automatic in the Fusion.
Nice and Roomy
Fusions come in three different interior color schemes based on trim levels, and our SEL model featured a discreetly tasteful charcoal interior with off-white top stitching and piano black accents. The large analog gauges are also a high point, clearly indicating Ford's desire to step up the quality of its interiors. Seat comfort is also good.
Most textures are nicely finished and the secondary controls are ergonomically sound, though cabin temperature was inadvertently raised on more than one occasion by an awkwardly positioned steering wheel-mounted climate control button. In keeping with the domestic theme of supersized excess, Fusions offer six cupholders for five passengers.
Head and legroom measurements are just within the competition's range, and its 15.8 cubic feet of trunk space places it ahead of the Accord but behind Camry and Sonata in the cargo room department. The Fusion's trunk opening is extra large, however, and its rear seats drop flat with the pull of a lever.
Fusing With the Road
During the several hours we spent driving the SEL-trimmed V6 Fusion on North Carolina's winding Blue Ridge Parkway, the car felt well sorted, composed and connected to the road.
Torque peaks at 205 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm, but feels evenly spread across the power band thanks to the V6's variable valve timing. Ford estimates a six-cylinder Fusion can run from zero to 60 mph in the mid-8-second range, which would make it significantly slower than the last V6 Accord we tested, which hit 60 mph in 7 seconds flat.
The six-speed automatic transmission was the weak link in our V6 Fusion's driving dynamic. Though the six-speed automatic offers well-chosen ratios that maximize the engine's torque curve, it often hunts for the correct gear during aggressive driving. Enter a turn with a slight scrub of speed, and the transmission upshifts. Heavier throttle application will eventually kick the transmission down another gear, though it takes a heavier right foot than it should.
Enthusiasts will also no doubt disdain the transmission shifter's single low gear "L" option. A traditional 3-2-1 option would offer more driver control.
Equipped with V-Rated Michelin Pilot tires and the same four-wheel independent suspension as a Mazda 6, we weren't surprised that the Fusion felt stable and handled predictably. Hard driving yielded some understeer, but torque steer is kept in check, and the Fusion was well mannered for a car of its size.
Steering feel is positive at high speeds and the four-wheel disc brakes provide strong stops, though initial pedal feel is a bit soft. Ford engineers indicated that complaints of excessive brake dust and roughness have been addressed, implying that softer pads have been incorporated into the Fusion.
Although the car we sampled had antilock brakes, the feature does not come standard on all models. Instead, it's available as part of the Safety and Security package, which includes side airbags, first- and second-row side air curtains, and an anti-theft perimeter alarm. A traction control system is also optional, but stability control, which is standard on the Hyundai Sonata, isn't available on the Fusion.
Transmission indecisiveness and lack of stability management aside, the Fusion is a solid performer that feels well equipped to battle the competition. It's aggressively priced and the top trim levels are nicely finished and appointed. Ford seems to have done its homework and finally produced a car that can compete with the finest from Japan and Korea.
At the end of the day, though, it's the public that will decide whether the 2006 Ford Fusion is good enough to save the Ford Motor Company.
Used 2006 Ford Fusion Overview
The Used 2006 Ford Fusion is offered in the following submodels: Fusion Sedan. Available styles include SEL 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), S 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), and SEL 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Ford Fusion models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine or a 2.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 221 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Ford Fusion comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2006 Ford Fusion comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Ford Fusion?
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Ford Fusion trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Ford Fusion SE is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 101786 and101786 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2006 Ford Fusions are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Ford Fusion for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2006 Fusions listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,995 and mileage as low as 101786 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Ford Fusion.
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Ford Fusion?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.