2006 Ford Fusion

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$17,145

starting MSRP

2006 Ford Fusion

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Six-speed automatic operation
  • Large trunk
  • Roomy folding backseat
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • Quiet interior
  • Decent fuel economy

The bad:

  • Wide turning diameter
  • ABS is optional
  • Side mirrors don't fold
  • Stability system a year away
  • AWD a year away
  • Hybrid two years away

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S

    $17,145

  • SE

    $17,900

  • SEL

    $18,985

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Ford Fusion trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 2.3-liter four-cylinder
  • 3.0-liter V-6
  • Five-speed manual or automatic (four-cyl.)
  • Six-speed automatic (V-6)
  • Optional side-impact and side-curtain airbags
  • Rigid structure

2006 Ford Fusion review: Our expert's take

By Joe Wiesenfelder

The Ford Fusion arguably is Ford Motor Co.’s most important vehicle introduction in a decade — maybe more. The recently re-engineered and restyled F-150, despite tough competition from a growing number of competitors, had never lost its place as the best-selling pickup truck, 26 years running.

Conversely, the Ford Taurus midsize sedan, for which 2006 is the last year, was allowed to wither as Ford concentrated on hot, high-profit light-truck models. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord took over and have been trading off the best-seller title for about 12 years. Now, Ford’s cash cows are in trouble because consumers can’t afford the feed. Americans are abandoning truck-based sport utility vehicles for more efficient cars and car-based vehicles. The company can’t afford a flop.

Ford Motor has learned how to share platforms and components among its brands without making the whole vehicles virtually identical. The Fusion is based on Ford subsidiary Mazda’s critically acclaimed Mazda6 sedan, but with a different look. Its styling comes from the Ford 427 concept car from the 2003 auto-show season. I don’t care for either, but I’ve met many folks who like the look. This can only be good for Ford. Polarization typically bodes well for a model’s sales potential. Onlookers were surprised to find out it’s a Ford.

Aside from having significantly different styling, the Fusion is a bit larger, outside and inside, as shown:

 

 
  Ford Fusion Mazda Mazda6
Length (in.) 190.2 186.8
Width (in.) 72.2 70.1
Height (in.) 57.2 56.7
Wheelbase (in.) 107.4 105.3
Front Track (in.) 61.6 60.6
Rear Track (in.) 61.3 60.6
Turning Diameter
(4-cyl./V-6, ft.)
38.8/40.0 38.8/38.8
Front Headroom (in.) 38.7 38.7
Front Legroom (in.) 42.3 42.3
Front Hip Room (in.) 54.0 54.7
Front Shoulder Room (in.) 57.4 55.9
Rear Headroom (in.) 37.8 37.1
Rear Legroom (in.) 37.0 36.5
Rear Hip Room (in.) 53.4 54.1
Rear Shoulder Room (in.) 56.5 55.2
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.) 100.0 96.1
Trunk Volume (cu. ft.) 15.8 15.2
Manufacturer data

 

The Ford Fusion also has softer spring and shock-absorber rates, leaving the zoom-zoom image to Mazda. The ride quality is by no means soft, though. It’s in line with the imports — firmer than the Camry but not as taut as the Accord, which I find too harsh. I drove the Fusion in Southern California, where curves and hills are plenty (as are traffic jams that would turn Gandhi to road rage). Without a test track, the best I could tell is that the car handles better than it needs to for its likely purpose as a family car.

There’s no doubt the Ford Fusion gives up some of the Mazda6’s revered handling for a more comfortable ride. The Fusion’s center of gravity feels higher in turns, but body roll is reasonably well controlled. The steering is precise and has less power steering assist than most American car steering wheels. Some will appreciate this; others won’t.

The longer wheelbase comes at a price: The Ford Fusion’s turning diameter is a wide 38.8 – 40.0 feet (depending on trim level) versus the Hyundai Sonata’s 35.8 feet, the Camry’s 34.8 – 36.6 feet and the Accord’s 36.2 feet.

All my impressions are for the Fusion SEL with the optional 3.0-liter V-6. I haven’t driven the standard 2.3-liter four-cylinder, mainly because Ford didn’t make it available at the model’s introduction. I’ve been doing this job long enough to suspect that this is no coincidence. (If automakers think they really have something, they make it available.) I found the Mazda6 four-cylinder automatic to be underwhelming, so I’d expect a similar result from this car. You never know, though, so you should check one out. I hold out hope for the standard manual transmission over the five-speed automatic. The 2.3-liter is a very good engine.

The drivetrain I did experience is a high point of the car. It comprises Ford’s Duratec V-6 and a six-speed-automatic transmission from Japanese supplier Aisin. (Though Ford has been working with General Motors on a six-speed automatic for front-wheel-drive applications, it’s still in development.) The broad range of gear ratios makes for spirited acceleration without sacrificing efficient high-speed cruising. Most important, it reacts quickly and without undue kickdown lag. (For no good reason I’ve ever heard, many automatic transmissions seem to add lag along with each gear.)

The EPA estimates the Ford Fusion’s fuel economy at 23/31 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission (automatic figure not yet listed) and 21/29 for the V-6. The four-cylinder falls a few mpg behind the class leaders, but the V-6 is in the same ballpark. Unfortunately, a hybrid drivetrain is two years away.

The Ford Fusion has a rigid, solid feel and is notably less noisy than many cars in this class. None of this could be said about the Taurus. The interior is conservative but much higher in materials quality than Fords of just a few years ago. The dashboard and door panels are low-gloss and soft to the touch. I love the idea of the lacquered piano-black trim in place of wood (and anything’s better than more fake metal), but something about the execution here doesn’t work for me. Perhaps it’s just because the test vehicle was early-production.

As the table above illustrates, the Fusion’s interior dimensions are a bit greater than those of the Mazda6. By clicking on Side-by-Side Comparison at the top of this page, you can see how the Fusion stacks up against other competitors. It’s closer to the Camry and Accord, dimensionally, but it falls behind the 2006 Sonata, now technically a full-size car. All of the figures are close enough that you’ll have to try each car on for size. The measurements are two-dimensional and do a poor job of defining three-dimensional space.

Ford says it has priced the Fusion to compete with the high-value Sonata, but if you compare the two, you’ll find that a similarly priced Fusion has fewer features, counting some important and high-cost items such as ABS, side-impact airbags and an electronic stability system. Compared to the Camry and Accord, the Fusion is far more competitive great deal, dollar for dollar, in size, features and warranty. The Fusion offers a V-6 at the price of the Japanese models’ four-cylinders. On the other hand, the latter do offer stability systems, which the Fusion won’t even have for another year. Next year, the Fusion is also intended to get all-wheel drive, which the other models mentioned don’t currently offer.

Without question, the Ford Fusion is the most competitive midsize body-type sedan that any domestic automaker has rolled out in more than a decade. Ford simply needs Americans — who know what the names Camry and Accord stand for after more than 20 years — to find out what a Fusion is.

 

Send Joe an email  

 

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.5

Most recent consumer reviews

3.6

EXCELLENT LOCAL DRIVE CAR

I used the car driving locally ( < 5 miles) around neighborhood towns. I did use on highways, but truthfully, not that much. I would take my 2018 Jeep on any highway trips or anything over 25 miles one way . It’s a great little knock around town car..

4.3

Most Reliable Car I've Ever Owned

This car has always met all my needs. Great driver in all types of weather. You won't be disappointed with a Ford Fusion. Perfect for a new or younger driver.

5.0

Hi i'm selling my 06 ford fusion SE

vehicle drove very well was clean and AC blew cold like new tires cloth seats power windows, power seats and locks has recent oil change and has pass emissions

See all 68 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Gold
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Gold Certified: Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12-Month/12,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Blue Certified: 90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Powertrain
7-Year/100,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty Blue Certified: Available Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Dealer certification required
Certified 172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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