Detroit Gets It Right
Ford's new Fusion is the first car out of the chute to ride on the company's new midsize "CD" platform. Based on a modified Mazda 6 foundation and powertrains, the Fusion's underpinnings will also provide the basis for a slew of new FoMoCo products such as the 2006 Mercury Milan, 2006 Lincoln Zephyr, and 2007 Lincoln Aviator. Given that the Mazda 6 is one of the most entertaining sedans on the market, the Fusion should prove fun to drive.
Inside, symmetry rules. Stylistically, the theme follows the larger Ford Five Hundred sedan, with organized controls, flush surfaces, close panel fits, and simple design. The Fusion possesses a clean, refreshing interior loaded with soft-touch surfaces and materials that, for the most part, exude quality. Ford offers distinctive "themed" cabin treatments, including one inspired by the Ford 427 show car that blends charcoal-black leather upholstery with oatmeal-colored stitching and piano black interior trim.
Unquestionably, the 2006 Ford Fusion is a compelling midsize sedan. But without a reputation for reliability, without a longer warranty, without free scheduled maintenance, we think it's going to be hard for Ford to sell this car against Accords, Altimas, and Camrys without incentives.
Better warranty coverage, a price that undercuts segments leaders, and flawless launch would help guarantee that the 2006 Ford Fusion is a success. It's extremely stylish, is probably fun to drive, and should be a great place to spend time behind the wheel.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company