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
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.