The Ford Fusion’s handsome angular styling; tidy size and good fuel economy have proven to be strong draws on the mid-size sedan marketplace. In addition to sales success, the Ford Fusion has also garnered a case full of trophies for Ford.
Strategic Vision named Fusion the best quality mid-size sedan on the American market in 2006. Motor Trend named Fusion its Car of The Year in 2009. Consumer Reports named Fusion the top domestic sedan for 2010. Car And Driver named Fusion Hybrid one of its 10 Best Cars in 2009. The Fusion Hybrid won the coveted North American Car of The Year award in 2010. And, the august International Car Wash Association voted Fusion America’s Most Washable Car.
(No, we ain’t makin’ that one up…)
Interestingly, Ford originally planned to call Fusion the Futura, a name it had applied to a number of different cars going all the way back to a Lincoln concept car of the 1950’s. (BTW, that same concept car formed the basis for Adam West’s Batmobile in the 1960’s TV series.) In addition to the Lincoln, Ford used the Futura name on a variant of the Falcon in the 1960’s, and in the late 70’s the Futura name was employed to distinguish a trim line of the Fairmont through the early 1980’s. However, a few years after that Fairmont Futura was discontinued, the Pep Boys auto parts company christened a proprietary line of its tires “Futura”. When the car company tried to reapply the name, this time to the car that ultimately became known as the Fusion, the Pep Boys lawyered up on Ford and won the rights to the name because more than three years had passed between the usage of the name on the Ford Fairmont and the Pep Boy’s tire.
A total sales success for Ford on one hand, but the instrument of a legal beat-down on another, the Ford Fusion nonetheless represents an excellent buy on the secondary market. To date, there have been but two generations of the Fusion offered since the model went on sale in 2005, as a 2006 model — though a third-generation Fusion is in the offing for the 2013 model year.
2006 – 2009 Ford Fusion
Sharing a platform with the Lincoln MKZ, Mazda6 and the now-defunct Mercury Milan, the 2006 Ford Fusion owed much of its ride and handling prowess to the engineers at Mazda. That Japanese company was responsible for developing the platform enjoyed by the Fusion, as well as the four-cylinder powerplant the model employs.
Many of the 2006 Fusion’s styling cues were introduced in 2003, at the North American International Auto Show (AKA the Detroit Auto Show) on the Ford 427 concept car. The three-bar grille, which has since found its way onto many of the other products in Ford’s portfolio, as well as the 206 Fusion’s large headlight treatment were displayed on that car. It was also with that car, Ford’s director of design, J. Mays announced the company’s intention (ultimately fulfilled, BTW) to recapture the family sedan market.
The 2006 Ford Fusion was offered in three trim levels — S, SE and SEL. Equipment was distributed over the three trim levels as follows; the S was posed on sixteen-inch steel wheels and flaunted full power accessories along with keyless entry. A split-folding rear seat, cruise control, air conditioning, and an MP3-compatible CD stereo audio head unit feeding four speakers was also standard equipment
To outfit the SE trimline, Ford’s product planners buttressed the S’s offerings with audio controls on the steering wheel, carbon dash and center console trim, a six-way power-actuated driver’s seat, and an additional pair of speakers for the audio system. On the SE’s options list was found leather upholstered seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, a moonroof, two more speakers for the upgraded stereo system (bringing the total count to eight), and an in-dash CD changer to feed them all.
The ultimate 2006 Ford Fusion, the top-of-the-line SEL model, came stacked with fog lights, automatic climate control, and a choice of either wood or "piano black" interior trim. That car flossed a set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels, in addition to a six-disc CD changer.
Everything on the SE options list that wasn’t standard on the SEL was also available to fatten the sticker’s bottom line as optional kit for the SEL. This included heated seats as well as a premium package consisting of automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Power came from a choice of two engines. The basic choice was a 160-horsepower, 2.3-liter Mazda-designed four-cylinder unit, producing 150 ft-lbs of torque. Its output was conducted to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual, or a five-speed automatic transmission. This engine was the sole offering for the 2006 Ford Fusion S, and the base engine offering for the 2006 Fusion SE. The “big” engine was a 3.0-liter V-6. Paired solely with a six-speed automatic transmission, this engine made 221 horsepower and 205 ft.-lbs. of torque. Positioned as an option for the Fusion SE, the V-6 was the sole engine offering for the Fusion SEL.
Safety gear for the 2006 Ford Fusion was comprised of a set of four disc brakes, optional ABS with brake force distribution, front seat side airbags and head curtains for the entire complement of seating positions. The car’s B-pillars were specifically engineered to conduct crash energy away from the passenger cell and the roof structure met rollover standards anticipated for the 2009 model year. Traction control was an option with the V-6. However, a rather glaring omission was stability control, which was pretty standard safety fare by 2006.
New tech gear was the big add for 2007, in addition to the migration of critical bits of safety gear to the standard equipment list. For this reason, we advise shoppers to forego the ’06 model, as features like front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are pretty critical pieces of kit in dodgy situations. An anti-theft perimeter alarm was also added the Fusion’s standard equipment list. Unfortunately though, ABS was still optional and stability control still wasn’t on the list at all.
All-wheel drive was offered with the V-6 models for 2007, along with automatic headlights, heated side mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror for Fusion SEL. The 2006 SEL’s foglamps and CD changer were fitted as standard equipment to 2007 SE models and Fusion’s folding front-passenger seat debuted as standard for SE and SEL iterations of the Fusion.
DVD-based navigation and satellite radio debuted in ’07 as well.
Over the years, Ford steadily improved the Fusion’s features. For 2008, ABS and tire pressure monitoring became standard features. Ford’s SYNC multimedia system debuted, bringing voice activation to the navigation, communication and entertainment systems. Bluetooth handsfree telephony was also ushered in, as part of the SYNC system’s feature-set. While Bluetooth was optional for the SE model but not available on the S model, it was standard for the SEL. A Sport Appearance package was offered for Fusion that sat it on eighteens and a sport tuned suspension for better handling. The Sport Package also laced so-equipped Fusions with a specific interior and exterior trim set.
To recap, the Fusion lineup for 2008 still consisted of S, SE and SEL models, however the features of each had changed considerably. By 2008, the base S featured sixteen-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio input jack for portable audio players, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.
The SE came with all of the above, plus alloy wheels, foglights, a six-way power-actuated driver’s seat, an upgraded six-speaker stereo system with a CD changer, audio controls on the steering wheel, simulated carbon-fiber trim and a fold-down front-passenger seat.
Fusion SEL stirred in seventeen-inch wheels, a keyless-entry touch-sensitive keypad, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors incorporating puddle lamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass, and more upscale interior accents.
The options list included a moonroof, leather upholstery and an ambient lighting setup permitting the switching among seven colors of light for the foot wells and the center console's cupholders. The 2008 Ford Fusion options list also contained heated front seats, the Ford Sync system, an upgraded eight-speaker stereo audio system, a DVD-based navigation system, satellite radio, and a rear spoiler.
ABS, side airbags for the forward seating positions and air curtain airbags for all seating positions were standard. Traction control was a V6-only option — along with an audible radar system for parking and reversing. Stability control was still on the Fusion’s no-fly list though.
Stability control arrived — as an option. Fusion SE got a “Sun & Sync Package” endowing it with a sunroof, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and of course, the Microsoft-developed Ford Sync system (Sun & Sync – get it?) Fusion SEL got a “Moon & Tune Package” outfitting it with a moonroof and the eight-speaker audio system. The “Blue Suede Package” parked blue Alcantara seat and trim inserts in so-equipped Fusion models.
2010 – Current (2012) Ford Fusion
While not a complete redesign, the 2010 Ford Fusion was a significantly updated proposition over its predecessors. It got new engines, a new trimline (Fusion Sport), a refreshed exterior treatment, revised powertrain configurations, some new tech gear, and a Hybrid version.
For 2010, three engines were offered for the Ford Fusion. For the first time in the history of the model a four-cylinder engine could be had with the range-topping SEL version of the Fusion. Producing 175 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs of torque, the 2.5-liter inline four was paired with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A six-speed automatic was offered as an optional choice.
For SE and SEL models Ford also specified a 3.0-liter V-6 with 240 horsepower and 223 ft-lbs of torque. That engine was paired solely with a six-speed automatic. On Fusion SEL, the V6 was paired specifically with all-wheel drive. A front-drive V6 2010 Ford Fusion was not offered.
The new for 2010 Sport model got a 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. This engine generated 249 ft.-lbs. of torque. All wheel drive was an option for Sport models and the six-speed automatic transmission was the only way to get the V6’s power out to the wheels.
In sum, trim lines for 2010 Ford Fusion models were configured as follows:
The 2010 Fusion S trim line was graced with a set of 16-inch alloy wheels (steel wheels were finally kicked to the curb), in addition to keyless entry and full power accessories (windows, door locks and mirrors). Fusion S buyers also found a trip computer, cruise control, air-conditioning, 60/40-split rear seats, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack on their cars’ standard equipment list.
To all of that, the 2010 Fusion SE packaged seventeen-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a set of dual exhaust tips, Fusion’s ubiquitous fold-flat front passenger seat, and a six-way power actuated driver’s seat (although recline and lumbar were manually operated). The SE’s six-speaker stereo audio system was fed by satellite radio and redundantly operated via steering wheel mounted controls.
The 2010 Ford Fusion Sport benefited from a sport-tuned steering calibration and suspension system. The model also rocked a set of eighteen-inch wheels, unique “Sport” styling cues for both the interior and the exterior and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Its driver enjoyed the feel of a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and sat in an eight-way adjustable power-actuated leather driver seat (yes, passengers got leather seats too). Rounding out the Sport package was the Ford’s Microsoft Sync entertainment and communications interface.
Luxury oriented individuals were enticed to gravitate toward the Fusion SEL’s automatic headlights, heated exterior mirrors with puddle lights, numerical touch-sensitive keyless entry pad, interior ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power-adjustable front seats, and of course, leather upholstery.
The options lists featured remote engine start for all automatic transmission-equipped models and all-weather floor mats. SE-specific options included an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Ford’s Microsoft Sync system and a sunroof. To completely dress out a 2010 Ford Fusion Sport model, the SEL's standard equipment list could be applied, in addition to a blind-spot warning system, a back-up camera, a sunroof, and an ear caressing twelve-speaker Sony sound system fed by a six-disc CD changer. Turnabout being fair play, the SEL, in turn, could be had with eighteen-inch wheels and a tail spoiler like the Sport model.
Optional for both Sport and SEL models was a voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation system, informed by Sirius/XM’s Travel Link service, enabling it to provide real-time traffic and weather information. However, if the navigation system was fitted with the Sony sound system, a single-disc player supplanted the CD changer.
As for safety gear, ABS, stability control and traction control were all finally offered as standard equipment in 2010.
Fusion Hybrid went on sale in 2009, as a 2010 model, pairing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output figure of 191 horsepower. A “full hybrid” design, Fusion Hybrid was capable of operating solely on electric power in certain situations. The EPA rated Fusion Hybrid at 41-mpg city and 36 on the highway, compared to 22/29 for standard four-cylinder models, 22/31 for 3.0-liter V-6 models, and 18/27 for Sport models with the 3.5-liter V6. Fusion Hybrid used a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Ford’s MyKey system, enabling the owner to do things like limit the maximum volume setting for the audio system, as well as limit the car’s top speed was introduced to Fusion in 2011. Blind spot mirrors and a manual-shift mode for the six-speed automatic transmission were also implemented. One touch operation for the front windows, HD radio and a power recline feature for the front seats were also specified as optional kit. Rain sensing, smart windshield wipers made the options list as well. The “Monochrome Appearance Package” de-chromed the front grille while adding eighteen-inch alloy wheels and a tail spoiler. The 2011 Luxury package brought more chrome to the exterior of the Fusion and a nicer grade of leather for the interior.
Current Model (2012)
With an all-new Fusion heading to showrooms for the 2013 model year, Ford left the Fusion unchanged for 2012.
All in all, Ford did a really good job with the Fusion, and with the 2013 model (shown here) going on sale later this year, we have no qualms recommending the purchase of one on the secondary market. A genuine contender in the hotly contested mid-size sedan arena, Ford’s Fusion has been universally praised since it was introduced. Blessed with engaging driving dynamics, the Fusion’s ride and handling, while not the stuff sport sedan aspirants would salivate over, still manage to provide considerable security and reassurance over the road.
Early models were a bit lax on the safety gear — particularly when compared to the imported competition. We’d steer you toward 2008 models and forward if your budget permits, as those cars have more standard safety features. If at all possible, we most strongly recommend the 2009 model year forward — as that’s when stability control finally got fitted to the Fusion.
As for recalls and the like, there have been a few, you’ll want to research and ensure the car you’re looking at has been updated. Similarly, you’ll want to run a vehicle history report against the car’s VIN to make sure it has a clean title and no unpleasant surprises in its past. And, as always, a very thorough pre-purchase inspection by a trusted professional mechanic specializing Ford’s cars and trucks is always warranted, just so you know what you’re getting yourself (and your family) into.