An all-wheel-drive, V-6 version of the Fusion is newly available for 2007. Side-impact and side curtain airbags will be standard on all trims later in the model year. Additionally, SE and SEL versions now come with a folding front passenger seat. A hybrid version is planned for 2008.
Ford introduced the midsize Fusion sedan for the 2006 model year. The four-door, which featured all-new architecture, was inspired by design elements in Ford's 427 concept car from the 2003 auto show circuit.
The Fusion slots between the company's compact Focus and flagship Five Hundred sedan and comes with a choice of four-cylinder or V-6 power. Fusion sedans are manufactured in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr are related models.
Design cues adapted from the 427 concept sedan include a chrome three-bar grille and multielement projector-beam headlights. A chrome strip decorates the lower edge of the side windows. The mirrors are designed to deflect air downward. Five-spoke alloy wheels are installed. A rear spoiler will be optional on SE and SEL models later in the model year.
Three distinct interior themes are available for the Fusion, which seats up to five occupants. Standard equipment includes a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver's seat. The rear seats are split 60/40 and fold flat with spring assistance, which provides a pass-thru to the trunk. For 2007, SE and SEL trim levels come standard with a folding front passenger seat.
Available features include heated front seats and an in-dash six-CD changer that can read MP3-encoded discs. Trunk capacity is 15.8 cubic feet. Ford says the trunk has a flat load floor and a low liftover height for the trunk opening. The Fusion's compact trunk hinges won't crush cargo.
Ford says interior designers wore size 14 shoes to affirm that a larger person could enter and exit the Fusion without difficulty. They achieved such a goal by moving the rear door as far back toward the C-pillar as possible. An optional charcoal-black leather interior with oatmeal-colored seat stitching and Piano Black trim was inspired by the 427 concept.
Under the Hood
The Fusion's 2.3-liter four-cylinder develops 160 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. The available 3.0-liter V-6 produces 221 hp at 6,250 rpm. Both dual-overhead-cam engines have intake variable camshaft timing, four valves per cylinder and electronic throttle control. The four-cylinder can team with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic, but the V-6-powered Fusion works only with a six-speed automatic.
All-wheel drive is newly available in the V-6 version of the SE and SEL for 2007.
All-disc brakes are standard. Side-impact and side curtain airbags will be installed on all trims later in the 2007 model year. Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are optional.
While it's not quite as earthshaking as Ford marketers suggest, the Fusion is a credible four-door sedan that's priced reasonably, has appealing fuel economy and delivers satisfying road behavior. Performance with the V-6 is better than the midsize norm, and the Fusion's six-speed automatic functions capably. Some gear changes are virtually seamless and others are mildly noticeable, but none are awkward or bothersome.
This sedan maneuvers smartly through narrow, curvy roads and follows the driver's lead without much fuss. However, when a curve is especially tight and speed is relatively high, the Fusion does start to lose its confident sure-footedness. On smooth highways and expressways, the Fusion rides comfortably. When the surface gets bumpy, the sedan can transmit quite a few jolts to occupants. The brakes behave well in demanding driving and are easy to modulate.
Curious-looking gauges aren't the easiest to read at a glance, and the fuel and temperature gauges are tiny. Slipping into the front seat is a breeze, and space is abundant. Well-cushioned, supportive seats are installed. Backseat space isn't quite as ample as expected from a midsize sedan; some passengers' knees could touch the front seatback, and the center rear position is no pleasure.
Visibility is a little limited by the modestly sized back window and wide rear pillars. The sizable glove box is easy to reach, and the spacious trunk is easy to load.