THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Variety of choices when it comes to trim levels and powertrains.
- What’s Worst: Second row seating still requires some compromises.
- What’s Interesting: The broad range of choices now includes the Sport trim, a real performance competitor to Euro sport sedans.
It’s been a decade since the mid-size Fusion slotted into Ford’s lineup between the compact Focus and full-size Taurus sedan.
Since then, sedan sales have been whittled down as customers started crossing over to crossovers. But the Fusion still factors significantly in Ford’s bottom line.
And, for 2017, evolving through its second generation of product, the Fusion adds front end styling tweaks, a new rotary dial shifter and other refinements to a lineup that has broadened with a wide variety of models.
These range through five trims levels powered by four different gasoline engine offerings, along with hybrid and plug-in hybrid choices.
Customers can settle for frugal front-wheel-drive powertrains or opt for all-wheel-drive performance. And choices top out with long lists of equipment packages, optional technologies and the latest luxuries and accessories to choose from.
It’s hard to do justice to that kind of a broad-based lineup within a brief car review but we can at least get a taste of two flavours of Fusion in this test session.
Also Read: Mid-cycle refresh for mid-size Honda Accord
Fusion SE FWD:
The Fusion lineup includes the S ($23,688), SE ($25,588), Titanium ($34,488), Platinum ($42,288) and Sport ($42,288) trim levels.
Our first SE tester is one step up from the base model, right in the sweet spot for a typically Canadian compromise, adding a little bit extra to the equipment list while holding the price line to a reasonable limit. Sticking with standard front-wheel-drive saves a chunk of change compared to an optional all-wheel-drive system ($2,000).
In many ways, this SE trim level offers the most customer choices compared to higher trim levels where upgrades are included in the standard price. Like the base S model, our SE starts humbly with a standard 175 hp 2.5 i-VCT four-cylinder engine rated at 11.3/7.5L/100km (city/hwy).
There are two other optional engine choices here – a 181 hp 1.5-litre Ti-VCT turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder ($1,050) with a 10/7.1L/100km (city/hwy) fuel economy rating or a 240 hp 2.0-litre Ti-VCT turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder ($3,400) with an 11.2/7.6L/100km (city/hwy) rating.
Our tester harnesses the miniaturized muscle of the 1.5-litre EcoBoost and this “little engine that could” certainly can when it comes to providing both power and fuel efficiency.
The motor pulls nicely from a standstill, accelerating smoothly through the six-speed automatic cogs and paddle-shifted if you prefer. Once you get up to speed, however, the “no replacement for displacement” crowd might notice some diminishing oomph in mid-range power and passing. Fuel economy does not disappoint with real world driving results averaging out to a thrifty 7.3L/100km (comb).
From a purely economical point of view, I would be inclined to stick with the standard issue 2.5-litre four-banger rather than try to regain the 1.5-litre’s extra cost with a few years of fuel savings, but customers will have to balance the pro and con costs of their own driving demands.
Our SE tester blows the budget anyway by adding about $10K worth of options, with everything from a Luxury Packages that includes the optional engine ($3,300) to a Driver Assist Package with lane keeping and blind spot detection ($1,950), a moonroof ($1,250), MyFord Touch Package with Reverse Sensing System ($850), Active Park Assist ($600), navigation ($800), and fancy 18-inch wheels ($700), topped off with a White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat paint job ($550).
Mid-size sedans make for a nice mix of qualities, with handling not too far removed from the nimbleness of a compact but offering the kind of enlarged accommodation that comes closer to a full-size comforts. And, with or without the extras offered here, the Fusion SE provides an excellent mix of utility and amenities.
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Fusion Titanium AWD:
Our second tester in Titanium trim takes a more inclusive approach. Moving up to the next rung of the trim level ladder adds all-wheel-drive and, along with other extra goodies, also stuffs the more powerful 240 hp 2.0-litre Ti-VCT turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder under the hood. The blended addition of more muscle and more sure-footed traction gives this model an extra edge worth considering. My fuel economy results worked out to 10.9L/100km (comb).
Die-hard performance fans might be tempted to go all-in with the Sport version, topping out Fusion power with the 2.7-litre turbocharged EcoBoost V6’s 325 hp and 380 lb/ft of torque.
But again, although this Titanium perches higher than the SE in trim level and price, it is still a good compromise mix of power, panache and bang for the buck.
And this tester, in a handsome shade of Burgundy Metallic clearcoat, wraps up the Fusion package nicely, adding more standard equipment and nearly $8K of options including the same Driver Assist Package ($1,950), Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,500), heated/cooled seats ($600), bigger 19-inch aluminum wheels and more.
The Ford Fusion’s varied lineup has made it a capable competitor in the mid-size market where it vies for attention with the segment leading Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
And with refreshed style and content for 2017, Ford continues to offer customers combined qualities of performance and style, in whatever Fusion flavour they prefer.
Ford Fusion SE and Titanium 2017
BODY STYLE: Mid-size five-passenger sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive (hybrid) or all-wheel-drive;
ENGINES: Fusion SE 1.5-litre Ti-VCT turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder (181 hp, 185 lb/ft); Fusion Titanium 2.0-litre Ti-VCT EcoBoost four-cylinder (240 hp, 270 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: Fusion SE 1.5-litre 10/7.0L/100km (city/hwy) (FWD), as tested 7.3L/100km (comb); Fusion Titanium 2.0-litre 11.2/7.6L/100km (city/hwy) (AWD), as tested 10.9L/100km (comb)
CARGO: 453 litres
PRICES: Fusion SE FWD $25,288, as tested $35,388; Fusion Titanium AWD $34,188, as tested $41,938. (all prices not including $1,650 shipping fee)
WEB SITE: ford.ca