The Ford Fusion, a new model for 2006, fits neatly into Ford's product line between the compact Focus and the larger Five Hundred sedan. The Fusion is available in three trim levels (S, SE, and SEL), all of which include air conditioning and a 6-disc CD changer with MP3 capability as standard equipment. A tight suspension and choice of four- or six-cylinder power make the Fusion fun to drive, and styling derived from the 427 concept car and a choice of three interior themes give it a look unlike anything else from Ford.
The Fusion is, technically speaking, Ford's replacement for the Taurus, though in reality the two cars couldn't be more different. The slightly smaller Fusion is intended to be more appealingly styled, priced, and equipped for a younger audience. The Fusion is a 4-door sedan that offers a roomy interior, a spacious (16 cu. ft.) trunk with split/fold rear seats, and a lot of features. At the top of the Fusion range is the SEL, which even when loaded with options like V-6 power, heated leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an impressive array of safety features, including anti-lock brakes and side-curtain air bags, is still affordable.
The Fusion shares its CD3 platform not only with the Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr but also with the Mazda 6. Like its Japanese cousin, the Fusion's four-wheel independent suspension is tuned for a firm ride, with handling that appeals to driving enthusiasts.
The Fusion's base engine-4 cylinders, 2.3L, 160 hp, 150 lb.-ft. of torque-can be combined with the choice of a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. SE and SEL buyers have the option of a 3.0L V-6, its output of 221 hp and 205 lb.-ft. of torque is routed through a 6-speed automatic. Both engines sport a modern technical resume, with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 24 mpg city/32 highway for the 4-cylinder manual to 21 city/29 highway for the V-6 automatic. Currently, all Fusions are front-wheel drive, but Ford says an all-wheel-drive version is on the way. A hybrid powertrain is also in the works.
The Fusion competes in the Midsize Conventional segment with nineteen other models, including some of the best-selling vehicles in the United States.
In 2005, this segment accounted for nearly 50 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Fusion went on sale in the fourth quarter of 2005 and garnered 16,983 sales. According to Ford, it plans to move 130,000 Fusions for the 2006 calendar year. The Toyota Camry's 376,803 sales made it the segment leader for 2005, followed by the Honda Accord (369,293), Nissan Altima (255,371), and Chevrolet Malibu (245,861).
|S I4 (100A)||5 speed manual||$17,145||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||23/31|
|SE I4 (110A)||5 speed manual||$17,900||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||23/31|
|SEL I4 (120A)||5 speed manual||$18,985||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||23/31|