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2006 Ford Fusion

$1,855 — $7,419 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
25-27 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 5 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

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

What to Know

about the 2006 Ford Fusion
  • 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

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

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:

 

 
...
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

What drivers are saying

4.6
54 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Most reliable car I?ve ever owned honestly

by Zmoneeey from North Carolina on November 12, 2018

This was my first car and i barely knew how to manage it but this car is very durable and i have a lot of faith in this car Read full review

(5.0)

Nice good car

by Bryan de palma from Shelby Mi on September 20, 2018

It is a good car , good engine , nice interior and good performance , I rreally like that car for that price , rreally impresed! Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2006 Ford Fusion currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2006 Ford Fusion S I4

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
marginal
Overall Rear
marginal
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Front
acceptable
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
poor
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
poor
Driver Head and Neck
acceptable
Driver Pelvis/Leg
poor
Driver Torso
poor
Overall Side
poor
Rear Passenger Head Protection
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Fusion received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker