The Ford Fusion is the European mid-sizer we demanded, with a snout borrowed from a more expensive car. What do you need to know before you buy a Ford Fusion? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
After years of begging Ford to stop building one mid-size sedan for America and one for the rest of the world Ford finally listened to us and merged the Mondeo and Fusion for the second generation and blew all of our minds.
“It looks like an Aston Martin,” we cried. “It has a million engines and is an American sedan as good as anything from Japan or Korea or Europe, for once!”
That was a few years ago and, while the Fusion has improved with various updates, it’s now facing real competition from other American sedans.
The Fusion may look like an Aston Martin but it isn’t, which is obvious when you drive it. But hey, what were you expecting for $22,000?
Like other European-based sedans, the Fusion is centered on the driver and not on keeping the kids in the backseat from complaining. How it drives really depends on the engine you get. Settle for the smaller-sized mill and it takes work to wring the power out but you’re getting usable power and great fuel economy in a great package.
Select the 2.0T Titanium and you’re suddenly in the upper 200s in torque and you start fantasizing that you’re in a BMW and you want to challenge people to stoplight drag races.
Take it to your favorite canyon road and you’ll discover that it is not, in fact, a BMW, but it’s not as far as from that experience as the previous generation car. The price you pay is a slightly bumpier ride than other cars in this class.
Detroit saw the second generation Fusion make its first appearance in 2012 as a 2013 model. It debuted on a new global platform called “CD4.” The platform which embodies Ford’s “One Ford” strategy whose goal it is to minimize complexity between platforms around the world. In other words, this new Fusion’s platform is shared with many other Ford products sold both in the U.S. and abroad.
The second gen Fusion is larger than its predecessor, gets all new sheet metal, a completely new interior, all new engines (sans the 2.5, which was carryover front the first gen), a new strut-type front suspensions, and lots more safety tech and interior gadgetry. The Fusion Energy, a plug-in hybrid model, was all new for 2013 as well.
After a year of sales, 2014 brought a new 1.5-liter turbo inline 4 engine. While not the most powerful mill, it makes decent torque down low in the rev range and, most importantly, gets very good fuel economy.
In 2015, the SE 1.6-liter turbo I4 and its available manual transmission got the axe leaving only automatics in the lineup. Sad.
This year, the 2016 gets a simplified center stack, a new appearance package, and some shuffling in standard equipment, but it’s otherwise similar to last year’s model.
Ford has thrown the kitchen sink in their Fusion’s engine bay. You want a naturally aspirated inline four? No problem. Want some turbo fours? You got it. What about a parallel hybrid powertrain? Sure, why not? And for good measure, a plug-in hybrid setup? Sounds good.
While many competitors offer a thrifty four cylinder and a brawny V6, Ford is keeping its cylinder count low— you’re getting four under that hood no matter which box you tick.
The base 175 horsepower I4 will have some trouble lugging around 3,400 pounds. Upgrade to the 1.5 turbo and you get more low-end torque and better fuel economy, though it, too, isn’t going to light ‘em up at the drag strip. That job is left for the 2.0 turbo, which makes a humongous 270 lb-ft of torque.
The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and parallel hybrid car both tend to weigh more than gas-only counterparts thanks to their dense battery packs, and they’re not incredibly powerful, so these cars aren’t quick, but they will save you tons of fuel.
2016 Ford Fusion Engine Options
Engine Max Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft) 1.5L Turbo I4 181 @ 6000 rpm 185 @ 2700 rpm 2.0L Turbo I4 240 @ 5500 rpm 270 @ 3000 rpm 2.0L Parallel Hybrid 141 @ 6000 rpm (engine)
118 @ 6000 rpm (motor)
129 @ 4000 rpm (engine)
2.0L Plug-in Hybrid 188 (total system hp) NA 2.5L I4 175 @ 6000 rpm 170 @ 4500 rpm
The Fusion’s fuel economy numbers are only okay for the segment. Others like the Mazda6 manage better fuel economy with higher engine displacements and without turbocharging.
The Accord’s 3.5-liter V6 manages similar fuel economy to the Ford’s turbo’d 2-liter.
And the Fusion’s base engine, the 2.5-liter, is a total joke in the fuel economy department. While the highway fuel efficiency is not bad at 37 MPG, at the end of the day you still have an anemic 175 hp engine getting a measly 26 MPG combined.
The hybrid is competitive, scoring similar fuel economy numbers as the Sonata hybrid, and while the PHEV only has a range of about 18 miles, 88 MPGe means very few stops to the pump.
2016 Ford Fusion Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)
_ 1.5L Turbo I4 2.0L Turbo I4 2.0L Hybrid 2.0 PHEV 2.5L I4 Fuel Economy- auto 23/36/28
44/41/42 95/81/88 (MPGe) 22/34/26
The Fusion comes with 11.8-inch solid disc brakes in the back with 11.8-inch vented rotors up front. Steering is electric, suspension is a MacPherson strut front up front and a multi-link setup in the rear.
Ford offers three main trim levels on their gas and mild hybrid models: S, SE, and Titanium. The plug-in Energi model comes in either base Energi trim or Titanium Energi.
- S: Starts at $22,110. Notable standard features: 2.5-liter I4, 6-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, cloth seats, 16” alloy wheels, 4-speaker audio system, rearview camera, SYNC with MyFord in-car communication system. Notable options: S Appearance Package: 18” alloy wheels, fog lamps, rear spoiler, body-color rocker moldings ($795).
- SE: Starts at $23,680. Notable standard features over S: 17” painted alloy wheels, power front seats, 6-speaker audio system, SYNC with MyFord in-car communication system, satellite radio, rear HVAC ducts, power heated mirrors, keyless entry keypad. Notable options: 1.5-liter Turbo I4 ($795); 2.0-liter Turbo I4 plus SE Appearance Package ($2,790); SE Appearance package: 18” alloy wheels, special EcoCloth seats, fog lamps, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, unique interior trim ($995); Technology Package: SYNC with MyFord Touch with 8-inch touchscreen, two 4.2-screens, reverse sensing system, dual-zone auto temperature controls ($1,195); Cold Weather Package: All-weather floor mats, remote start, heated cloth seats ($495); Luxury Package: Heated leather power front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, memory exterior mirrors, fog lamps, unique interior accents (1.5L only-$2,350); Driver Assist Package: Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, auto high beams, rain-sensing wipers (1.5L only-$1,200+technology package+Luxury Package); Terracota Package: leather-trimmed seats, premium floor mats, 18-inch painted wheels (1.5L only-$795+SE Appearance Package); rear park sensors ($295)
- S Hybrid: Starts at $25,185. Notable standard features over S: 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid engine, CVT-type transmission. No notable options.
- SE Hybrid: Starts at $25,990. Notable standard features over SE: 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid engine, CVT-type transmission. Notable options: 501A group: 17” 10-spoke wheels, unique seats, fog lamps, rear spoiler, leather wrapped steering wheel ($350); 502A group: 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, leather seats, heated front seats, auto dimming mirrors, fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob ($2,350); Driver Assist Package ($1,140+502A group); Technology Package: SYNC with MyFord Touch and 8” touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, two 4.2-inch screens, reverse sensing ($1,095).
- Titanium: Starts at $30,630. Notable standard features over SE: 2.0-liter turbo I4, 18” painted alloy wheels, Sony Premium audio with 12 speakers, dual chrome exhaust. Notable options: all-wheel drive ($2,000); Driver Assist Package ($1,200)
- Titanium Hybrid: Starts at $30,940. Notable standard features over SE hybrid: 17-inch 10-spoke wheels, Sony premium audio with 12 speakers, SYNC with MyFord Touch. Notable options: Driver Assist Package ($1,200).
- SE Energi: Starts at $33,900. Notable standard features: Leather seats, heated front seats, SYNC with MyFord Touch. Notable options: Driver Assist Package ($1,200).
- Titanium Energi: Starts at $35,730. Notable standard features over SE Energi: Ambient lighting, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, Sony 12-speaker premium audio. Notable options: Driver Assist Package ($1,200).
We think the Fusion to buy is one with a 2.0-liter turbo I4. The SE is the least expensive model that can be had with the most powerful mill. It gets respectable fuel economy at 33 highway, and the power and torque are very well suited for the chassis. In total with $875 destination charge, we’d have to drop $27,345 for the 2-liter SE, but incentives on Fusions are plentiful, so finding one closer to 25 grand should be more than doable.
MSRP: $22,110-$35,730 Top Speed: ~130MPH (2.0L Turbo estimated)
Acceleration: ~7.0s to 60 [2.0L Turbo]
MPG: 22 cty/31 hwy/25 comb-88 MPGe comb [2.0L AWD-Plug-In]
Engines: 1.5L Turbo I4, 2.0L Turbo I4, 2.0L Hybrid I4, 2.5L I4
Max Horsepower/Torque: 240 hp/270 lb-ft [2.0L Turbo]
Curb Weight: ~3,431-3,913 IIHS Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick (2015 MY)
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, CVT automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, FWD/AWD
Photo credit: Ford