Ford Fusion targets import champions

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http://www.caranddriver.com/shortroadtests/12339/2007-ford-fusion-se.html
2007 Ford Fusion SE - Short Take Road Tests 1 | 2
The handsome four-cylinder, five-speed manual Fusion targets the
import champions, but does it stack up? BY JARED GALL, January 2007
In our February issue, we ran a comparison test of mid-size sedans from which the Fusion was absent. All those cars were new-for-2007 models from our 10Best hoopla, where the Accord beat them all to take the trophy (again). We put together the comparo to see where the also- rans would filter in below the Honda, and if the Accord would remain on top when all the cars were sampled with four-cylinder engines and automatics (the most-sold combination). Since a V-6 Fusion had already lost to the Accord in a previous comparo, it stayed home for this one as well. But the comparo was a timely reason to get our hands on a four-cylinder Fusion, so we took it.
You can't talk Fusions without talking style: This is the best looking Ford sedan in years. A rakish, high beltline with simple, clean sides and subtle fender flares is topped by an angular greenhouse. Edges in the sheetmetal are creased, but softer than a Cadillac. The outer corners of the headlights creep up into the hood, as though being pulled back by the wind rushing over them, and the oversized taillamps get clear lenses that wrap around into the car's flanks. The look is clean and understated, with bright detail work to bring out the luxury look, like the sparse jewelry of a tuxedo. We like it.
Inside, the SE we tested was more Lee Dungarees and Jerzees t-shirt. Nothing wrong with that in a $20,525 car. For $395, our Fusion was upgraded with the Appearance Package, which includes 17-inch wheels and spices up the plain black cloth seats with inserts dappled with sporty-looking red stitching. It looks sporty and feels comfortable. The dash, center stack, and steering wheel audio and cruise controls are intuitively laid out, but unremarkable in their appearance.
The same could be said of the Fusion driving experience. Everything is just fine, but unremarkable. The steering wheel asks reasonable effort and provides decent feedback, but is a little too light and a touch numb. The clutch pedal is smooth, but also a tad uncommunicative and travel is as long as some of our commutes. The shifter isn't bad, but it isn't good enough to elevate it above what can be found in any competing car; and whoever decided it should be topped with a softball- sized knob must be a recent transfer from Ford's commercial truck division.
Although the performance figures we recorded-0-to-60-mph in 8.1 seconds, the quarter-mile in 16.4 at 85 mph-would have put the Fusion solidly mid-pack in the comparo, but those cars were all saddled with automatics and were thus a little bit off race pace; and the Ford's 160-hp 2.3-liter adds little joy to acceleration. On the skidpad, the Fusion managed a comparo-besting 0.83 g, but it gives up a lot of the refinement found in the Camry to achieve it.
Ford's Fusion is a strong contender in the steady mid-size segment. It looks great from the outside, good on the inside, and its performance is on par with the competition. Ford loyalists will be happy with this car. But aside from its looks, the Fusion offers no standout qualities that will bring Camry and Accord drivers into Ford showrooms.
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That persons opinion aside, the Fusion will standout greatly, however, when one asks the preverbal question, "How much is my monthly payment?" Particularly when the buyer chooses the V6 with the six speed tranny.
Camry and Accord may sell more fours and standard shift cars, but Fusion buyers are choosing the V6 six speed in higher percentages, over their far more expensive V6s Eight out of ten Camrys sold in the US are only fours, the reverse is more likely true of the Fusion. The fact remains one can drive home a V6 Fusion for less than a four cylinder Camry, as CR pointed out ;)
mike

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Perhaps but Toyota sold only around 10,000 V6 Camrys and Ford sold nearly twice as many V6 Fusions. Why would a smart buyer settle for an underpowered four, in a mid size car, when one can drive home a V6 for less? ;)
mike

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What is the difference in performance between the Toyota 4-cyl and Ford Fusion, like acceleration? Fuel economy?
The specs I saw has my 10-year old Contour (0 - 60 in 7.1 sec) faster than the Ford Fusion (7.5 sec) even though my engine only makes about 170 HP and 170 lb-ft of torque, while the Fusion is over 200 in both. It seems that the Fusion's performance is not all that great, considering the amount of power.
The reviews that I read said that the Toyota has adequate power.
I guess people will take a little less acceleration when they get better gas milage and car they think is a better value.
BTW, the top speed on highways is about 75 or 80 mph. Both cars will get there fast enough. I guess the difference is that the Camry is better able to use its power, saving the owner fuel.
Jeff
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The Contour weighed around 3000-3100 lbs. The Fusion is 3300-3500 lbs. Not to mention gearing and HP/Torque curves all play into acceleration, too.
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says...

Correct. The Contour V6 was actually about 2900 lbs. However, there is also a 35 lb-ft difference in torque and over 50 HP difference. You would expect the Fusion to be fast with higher power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios.
I guess the point is that the Ford Fusion acceleration is not all that great, or the powertrain is not optimized for maximum accleration.
Apparently, Toyota did a better job of letting the power get to wheels, so that they get better performance.
Jeff

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On Mar 5, 4:51 pm, Andrew Rossmann

Consumer Reports measured the 0-60 for a Fusion SEL AWD 3.0L V-6 as 8.0 sec. The 4 cylinder manual FWD was 9.5 sec. Interestingly Car and Driver did a 8.1 sec 0-60 in a four cylinder Fusion and did a 7.4 sec 0-60 with a V-6 FWD Fusion. The V-6 FWD Camry tested by CR did a 7.1 sec 0-60. C&D's V-6 Camry did a 7.5 sec 0-60. The 4 cylinder Camry tested by CR managed a 9.6 sec 0-60. So if the 4 cylinder Camry is good, I suppose any Fusion is good too. As far as fuel economy, here are the CR averages -
vehicle / overall / city / highway / 150 mile trip Camry 4 / 24 / 16 / 36 / 29 Camry V6 / 23 / 16 / 36 / 29 (seems unbelievable compared to the 4) Fusion 4 / 23 / 15 / 32 / 27 Fusion V-6 AWD / 20 / 14 / 29 / 25
The AWD Fusion suffers in both fuel economy and performace relative to the 2WD version, but then again, I like the idea of AWD - which is why I bought one. I am doing considerably better than 20 around town, but not nearly 29 on the highway (but then my only highway trip was down I-95 with speeds over 75 mph). Overall I am averaging about 23 mph.
I think about the best you can say is that the FWD Fusion has equivalent to slightly better performance than the Camry, and equivalent to slightly worse fuel economy. If you get an AWD Fusion, you are porbably going to suffer with slightly worse performance and fuel economy than the FWD version.
BTW, you can buy an equivalent Camry (no AWD available), but even with the AWD I figure I would have paid at least $4000 more for an equivalent Camry. That will buy a lot of gas.
Ed
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Meant to say "you can't buy an equivalent Camry (no AWD available)...."
Ed
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says...

Which transmission did the 4 cyl have? Mike is saying that people are buying 4-cyl Camries instead of V6 Fusions. I think the acceleration for this is about 8.5 sec to go from 0 to 60 mph.
Jeff
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Forget published 0 to 60 'test,' go drive both on the road a see for yourself. The difference is torque, and at the RPM at which it occurs. When you get to a grade, that difference become apparent.as to which performs better in the road. The more expensive 4cy Camry needs to run two gears down, from that of the Fusion, to maintain the same speed. If the grade is great enough the Camry can not even maintain speed. You don't get your best fuel mileage if you can't run in top gear more often. Top gear, is double OD on the V6 Fusion, as well
mike
says...

.
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says...

You don't get better fuel mileage with a lower gear, but you get better fuel mileage with a 4-cyl Camry than a V6 Fusion. There are trade-offs between fuel mileage and performance. More people appear to be choosing the better fuel mileage of the Camry.
Jeff
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The Consumer Reports 4 cylinder Camry had an automatic (9.6 sec 0-60). The Car and Drive 4 cylinder Fusion was a manual (8.1 sec 0-60). Consumer Reports tested a 4 cylinder automatic Milan (0-60 9.5 sec) and a V-6 automatic Fusion AWD (0-60 8.0 sec).
Here is a shocker - CR gave the 4 cylinder Camry an "average" rating for reliability and as a new or used car. The V-6 Camry got an above average rating as both a new and used car. The Fusion got a much better than average rating as a new or used car. Too bad most Camry buyers will never know they are buying a car that even CR is rating second best compared to a Fusion.
I think Mike is right if he is claiming that the majority of Camrys sold include the 4 cylinder engine. I've read that 85% of Camry are sold with a four cylinder engine. Ford is expecting closer to a 50/50 mix (at least according to the ordering guide). It looks like Ford expects less than 10% of Fusion will have the manual transmission.
Ed
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Camries are also sold with mostly manual transmissions. This gives them a better overall performance for some, when they balance fuel economy and power, because the power actually getting to the wheels is similar for both the 4-cyl Camry and the V6 Fusion, as seen by similar acceleration numbers. Of course, they can get similar performance with a 4-cyl standard transmission, Fusion too.
Do you know on what basis the Camry was rated lower than the Fusion?
Jeff
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Jeff wrote:

Over 50%?
No way.
I never see stick shift Camrys or Accords(except for mine, of course).
Rob
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The largest percentage of all Camrys sold in the US are 4cy automatics.
mike

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I don't think it is true that "Camries are also sold with mostly manual transmissions." I looked at the Southeast Camry inventory. Out of 8,015 Camry available in the Southeast, only 2,513 are manual transmission models.

I've never figured out how Consumer Reports rates anything. I can't even understand why three different Camry Models got different levels of prediction. The Camry Hybrid was rated much better than average (like the Fusion). The Camry V-6 was rated better than average. The Camry four cylinder was rated average. Now why did they break out three Camry models, but treat all Fusions the same (all much better than average), especially when they complained that the engine in the 4 cylinder Fusion was "noisy" when accelerating hard, and the Camry four cylinder was "relatively refined."
For the four cylinder Camry the "Engine Minor" and "Electrical System" areas got a worse than average rating. The "Climate System" and "Power Equipment" areas got an average rating. The "Audio System" was better than average. All other areas were much better than average. The New Car Prediction was "Average"
For the Six Cylinder Camry the "Transmission" area got a better than average rating. All other areas were rated much better than average. The New Car Prediction was "Better Than Average."
For the Camry Hybrid the "Body Integrity" area was listed as above average. The New Car Prediction was "Much Better Than Average."
Now it seems to me with the possible exception of the engine and transmission areas, all of these Camry Models share much the same equipment. So I would think unless there was a particular problem in one of these areas, all models should get the same rating.
For the Fusion there were no difference noted for the 4 cylinder and V-6 models. All areas were much better than average except for "Body Integrity" which got a better than average rating. The overall New Car Prediction was "Much Better Than Average."
Ed
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Order-Guide aside, dealers are ordering 65/35 V6/ 4s with the six/five speed automatics for stock and only around 5% manual fours
mike

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Ed White wrote:

The Mar. 2006 issue shows the highway MPG for the Camry V6 as 32, not 36.

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Whoops, you are right, the V-6 highway mileage reported by CR is 32, not 36. Sorry. The other numbers are correct, if unbelievable :) Did you mean the March 2007 issue?

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