By on March 27, 2009

More than three hours and two hundred miles after leaving home, a call came through on our Fusion’s SYNC system: the testing session we’d scheduled at Virginia International Raceway was canceled due to several inches of unexpected snowfall. With ambient temperatures hovering in the fifteen-degree range, and without any available track time to put Ford’s facelifted mid-sizer through its paces, how could we determine if the Fusion “Sport” lived up to the promise of it’s fashionable chrome badging?

To find out, we headed to Ohio’s Hocking Hills region, where the usual menu of blind corners, decreasing radii, and random camber changes would be augmented by glare ice, confused deer, and a heavy layer of road salt that made ABS engagement on corner entry the rule, not the exception. If the Fusion could make it here, as the song goes, it could make it anywhere.

Let’s get something straight here: the 2010 Fusion Sport is no successor to the vaunted SVT Contour. There’s no manual transmission and the suspension is tuned for ride comfort not outright grip. Nor does the three-and-a-half-liter Duratec V6 have the punch to match the Evolution/STi crowd. The old Contour was meant to be a front wheel-drive alternative to the BMW 3-Series; the Fusion Sport is aimed at the Camry SE and V6-powered Accords while simultaneously picking up the discarded mantle of its Mazdaspeed6 platform mate.

As we climb the first series of steep switchbacks, the Duratec awakens as a strong, willing partner, relentlessly propelling the Fusion’s new Super-Duty-style grille from turn to turn with a cultured, light-flywheel growl. In “SST” manual-selection mode, the six-speed automatic shifts quickly and virtually without slippage. The shift lever itself could use a slightly more positive feel, but Ford’s done it right and made downshifts a forward motion.

From a standing start, there’s a bit of torque steer, but once underway the AWD system provides wheelslip-free corner exits with no unwelcome feedback through the steering wheel. My last run through this series of roads was in my Porsche 993, and while the Fusion can’t begin to match the Porsche’s pace on the straights, it’s a far more trustworthy partner on corner entry and through the mid-corner phase.

Down the hill, the braking zones are dusted with random piles of road salt. The Fusion effectively transitions to and from ABS activation without excessive pedal feedback. Even in fifteen-degree weather, though, the brakes aren’t able to shed enough heat to resist fade. A set of high-temp pads would go a long way towards curing the situation; as it is, the fade resistance is better than my old E46 330i but nowhere close to what a Brembo-equipped Porsche would offer.

We dial the braking back a bit going into some of the fast sweepers and the big Ford reveals itself to be a little more neutral than the vast majority of FWD family sedans. A light brush of the left foot is effective on this low-traction surface and, of course, with this drivetrain it’s never too early to straighten out the wheel and let the V6 run to the rev limit—where it’s perfectly happy to stay there being no mandatory upshift built into the SST software.

After a solid day of being seemingly the only car on the road, it’s time to rejoin the freeway and head home. The Fusion isn’t a big car inside compared to the super-sized, modern Accord and Camry, but it’s roomy enough and the appointments have been upgraded to a class-competitive level for 2010. The revamped dashboard features metal-look, soft-touch accents that were bright red in our tester—this will be a matter of taste. A “Moon and Tune” package combines the well-executed SYNC system with a reasonably loud and clear Sony-branded stereo (there’s your tune) and a glass roof (there’s the moon).

More than a decade ago, Ford engineers took the pleasant-enough Mazda MX-6 and created the absolutely sublime second-generation Probe GT. This time they’ve begun with the charming but star-crossed Mazdaspeed6 and brought us a car which redeems that platform’s promise. It’s fast enough, roomy enough, pleasant enough, even economical enough (we saw 25.1 mpg over 480 freeway miles). While the Fusion Sport will never trouble a 335xi, it will absolutely demolish a “sporty” Camry or Accord when the road turns twisty. Frustrated family men banished to a lifetime sentence of unassuming sedans will find the Fusion to be a trustworthy dance partner.

There’s just one problem, really: at the as-tested price of $29,590, the Fusion Sport is far from cheap. For the same money, Honda and Toyota offer newer platforms, more room, and more respect from those oh-so-judgmental neighbors. This is the problem Ford faces today: the Camry and Accord are now the default choices. Buying a Fusion instead requires explanation. In this case, however, that explanation is just a couple of fast hairpins away.

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81 Comments on “Review: 2010 Ford Fusion Sport...”


  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    Sounds surprisingly good for a Fusion. A few too many “better than X, but not as good as Y” to justify the price though.

    And that Ford steering wheel is still one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar
    gamper

    I dont understand the comparison to the Mazdaspeed6. The Speed6′s suspension is tuned for road holding and its 2.3DISI turbo is a totally different animal that Ford’s 3.5 V6. Did the Fusion Sport you tested even have AWD??

    I like the Fusion well enough, it is on a good platform if a little long in the tooth, but Camry/Accord/Malibu comparisions are far more appropriate than calling the Fusion Sport a successor to the Mazdaspeed6.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Great review! I think the icy mountain test is a perfect one for a sporty family sedan.

    I think the Fusion is a solid entry in this class. I do wish it looked more like a Mondeo, and am not crazy about that busy front, but it is at least somewhat distinctive now. With the 3.5L V6 and that sweet chassis, I’m not suprised to hear it drove well. The only question is, now that the Fusion has the 3.5 and awd, why is the MKZ?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Great review .We all know real world pricing will be far below MSRP, anyway….

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    I can’t decide what is more laughable, a Malibu GTZ or Fusion Sport for $30K.

    I’d get a CPO G37 for that money.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    A very nice review, I like the reference points. How does it stack up vs. the Subaru Legacy turbo/V6?

  • avatar
    BDB

    “We all know real world pricing will be far below MSRP, anyway….”

    If Ford wants to be taken seriously, they can’t afford to aggressively discount.

  • avatar
    lahru

    Camry nor Accord offer all wheel drive so them asking a few grand for it seems worth it. And you know they will have rebates larger than those offered by Toyota and Honda. So you will be able to get AWD Fusion for same dollars as the front wheel drive Camry SE and Accord. And I would like to see your take on what its like slogging that full size Accord through the turns.

  • avatar

    Wow, almost all on what the car is like to drive. Great review, Jack. I owned a 1996 Contour SE at one point. Actually firmer than the later SVT. Too bad Ford can’t recreate the essence of that car.

    I haven’t had the chance to drive one of these 2010s yet. Checking one out at NAIAS, I thought they could have upgraded the door panels more–the new Taurus feels FAR more upscale inside.

    There’s no reason to think that the revised Fusion won’t be just as reliable as the first-gen, which has had moderately low repair rates in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey:

    [url=http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Ford&mc=98&email=Guest]Ford Fusion reliability comparisons[/url]

    The more participants we have, the more information we can provide to everyone.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote:paris-dakar :
    March 27th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I can’t decide what is more laughable, a Malibu GTZ or Fusion Sport for $30K.

    I’d get a CPO G37 for that money.

    But you have to compare apples to apples. The 2010 Fusion sport is a model year ahead of either the Malibu LTZ (not GTZ) or the Infinity G37. The Fusion tested here was equipped with most every option including moonroof, SYNC, rear spoiler, 390 watt 6 disk sound system and electronics pkg.
    The base prices for the said vehicles are as follows:
    2009 Malibu LTZ $27530
    2010 Fusion sport 26550
    2009 Infinity G37 base sedan 34015
    You have to go to the G37 Sport sedan at 35015 to have the option of NAV, rear spoiler, moonroof, HIDS etc and having those options would set the base price of the G37 well over 40K.
    Actual transaction prices of the Malibu and Fusion would be in the 24-25K range for fully equipped V6 top model versions. The Infinitys with options are usually selling for 34-35K so there is close to a 10K difference here.

  • avatar

    The grill looks fine…but the chromework under it looks a bit busy.

    A solid offering from Ford!

  • avatar

    Already no edit button? And I muffed up the link–too used to working in BB code. Proper link:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Ford&mc=98&email=Guest

    A bit on the above price comparison: CPO vs. new isn’t quite fair. If you’re going to buy a CPO G35, why not a CPO Fusion?

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    Great that you tested it on winter roads with AWD. Gives a real world review of it in bad conditions.

    @lahru:
    I totally agree with what you wrote. Also I think the reviewer needs to remember that it is a “Sport” version. A normal Camcordtima buyer wouldn’t really want a sport version of anything (their loss). I think the Maxima or Impala LTZ are better comparisons for sportiness and price.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    The same problem that all the big 2.5 suffer from is an inability to price products well. Of course they need to spin a profit, but seriously, this car would be a winner if it came in at least $5K less than the competition. The honest fact may be that the car is as good as similarly priced competition, but just like when the Japanese came to town to try to win our hearts, the 2.5 need to do it on value, i.e good cars for excellent prices.

  • avatar
    sc5i

    @Richard Chen
    I drove an early sport, and I would say compared to a 2005 WRX, not as tight. Very comfortable though and the interior is better than the Legacy IMO. But then you can get a manual in the Legacy…

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @Alex Dykes:

    You want them to make a profit, but think their cars should be $5K less than the competition? That makes no sense. Mid-sized sedans aren’t exactly per unit cash cows to start with.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    I owned and loved my 1998 SVT Contour; it handled beautifully for a front driver and hit nearly 155 mph on the A3 in Germany. Nearly everyone I met laughed at the $23K sticker price for the SVT (I bought it for 20), but for the money I had a turn-key bahn burner that had every option and was easy on me. The Fusion Sport seems in every way to be bringing back some of that SVT experience, but without a 6 speed manual, or at the very least the flappy “racing” paddles that seem to be pervasive, it won’t hold my attention for long.

  • avatar
    shabatski

    I was excited to hear they were coming out with this vehicle. I think it has great styling and yes, with discounts, it will be at a great price.

    Well done, Ford. I just hope you sell enough to keep it around for a while.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    The base prices for the said vehicles are as follows:
    2009 Malibu LTZ $27530
    2010 Fusion sport 26550
    2009 Infinity G37 base sedan 34015
    You have to go to the G37 Sport sedan at 35015 to have the option of NAV, rear spoiler, moonroof, HIDS etc and having those options would set the base price of the G37 well over 40K.
    Actual transaction prices of the Malibu and Fusion would be in the 24-25K range for fully equipped V6 top model versions. The Infinitys with options are usually selling for 34-35K so there is close to a 10K difference here.

    He wasn’t talking about a new, 2009 G37. He specifically wrote “CPO G37″ – that’s a Certified Pre-Owned G37. I did a quick search and found one CPO 2008 G37 2-door for 33k. I also saw several 2007 G35s listed for less than 30k. I have no doubt that you could probably find a CPO 2008 G37 for 30k.

    Also, it’s “Infiniti”, not “Infinity”.

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      If you have to price a used infinti g37 to compare the options and pricing to the malibu and fusion then someone is confused on what car class they are trying to buy. Take into consideration the warranties, wear on the vehicle, having a hand me down sedan verses a no previous owner, off the lot malibu or fusion. Bad decision for you buddy. Even a CPO G37 infiniti will still be at least 5K$ more than the fusion out the door cost.
      Oh, and i wouldn’t correct someones grammar if you are at the same time making such a senseless reply to someones comment, and I specifically wrote “SENSELESS”.lmao

  • avatar
    John R

    @ponchoman49:

    paris-dakar said CPO G37. He’d rather purchase a certified pre-owned G37 than this car. Which can be had for under $30k nicely equipped.

    Still a fair argument, though; the Infiniti G is a bit of a spoiler. Why buy a loaded brand new Camcord or Fusibu when you can get an off lease G for the same money?

  • avatar

    Actual real photographs in a TTAC review! Thanks!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    Car Shark: See, that’s the problem, if you can’t make the product and sell it for a price that competes, perhaps you shouldn’t be making the product in the first place! If Ford can’t do a Fusion at a competitive advantage (i.e. quality, style, pricing, etc all in sync) then perhaps it’s time to not make a Fusion at all…

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      Perhaps it’s time for you to actually drive and take a closer look at a ford fusion.
      Quality+Style+performance=Very competitive pricing and resale value…..
      See, that’s the problem. People try to comment on forums when they don’t have a clue what all the fact’s really are. I dunno people, maybe RESEARCH and possibly try to atleast test drive the vehicles involved. Just kinda throwing that out there.

  • avatar

    Alex Dykes : If Ford can’t do a Fusion at a competitive advantage (i.e. quality, style, pricing, etc all in sync) then perhaps it’s time to not make a Fusion at all…

    I think the non-AWD Fusions will fare well against their competition, price points and all. Even if they don’t,the low hanging fruit in Dearborn is the Taurus and the D3 chassis, not the Fusion.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    We need to get away from base prices here at TTAC.

    How about we go with Street Price, like the electronics people do.

    No one expects to go into a domestic dealer and pay the same percentage of list as they do when they go into a BMW store.

    I bet you will be able to get one for under 25, and at that price, it might be attractive to enough buyers.

  • avatar
    1169hp

    Now that’s a reveiw! I feel like I drove the thing.

    Thanks.

  • avatar
    Jeff G

    The same people crying for Ford of Europe (expensive) products to bo sold on this side of the pond, are complaining about the price of a loaded AWD Fusion?

    The author stated, “While the Fusion Sport will never trouble a 335xi, it will absolutely demolish a “sporty” Camry or Accord when the road turns twisty.”

    Why should this car be priced 5k under the Camry and Accord to be competitive???

  • avatar
    Bob12

    Echoing some other comments: the format of this review is excellent IMO. Almost nothing on how it looks, almost everything on how it drives. It would be great if future reviews elaborated on the driving experience as much as this one does.

  • avatar
    brunorab

    I second that, Bob12 and 1169hp. Great review.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I vote for the 6 speed manual equipped 4 cylinder as the true sport version of the Fusion.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    The Malibu is the better car. Mainly because of looks. Ford really has to ditch this unhealthy obsession with the three bar grille. It looks terrible on the Fusion…and everything else that has worn it.

    The pricing is all wrong as well. 33K for a loaded, mid-sized Ford??? Hello Ford…you are not Toyota or Honda…you cannot charge those kind of prices for your products.

    And a 6 year old Focus called…it wants it’s back end returned.

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      Malibu a better car because of YOUR opinion on its look. Really??? The better car should probably be judged on auto facts and not matter of opinion. I own a 2007 fusion and traded in my 2005 malibu last week on a new GMC Acadia, and I will and actually have the right to say that from personal experience the newer Malibu’s might as well have the mechanics shop preset in the navi..151,000 miles on fusion and 72,000 on malibu, with the malibu having to be put in shop so many times that I just parked it and got a camry.My fusion has never had to be worked on for any reason at all, and still runs amazing.
      The new Malibu’s do look great though, inside and out with great features. well the LTZ models atleast. I really wish they would have just worked properly.
      A 6 yr old focus Sir? To ridiculous to even comment on.lmao

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Nice review, Jack, and it’s damn nice to finally see glowing comments about domestic products. The proof is in the pudding, Ford (and GM) is finally learning how to build cars that will actually stand up to the competition, now if only America would give them a chance. I will say, however, that the red accents are absolutely hideous IMO!

  • avatar
    f8

    Cool review. You guys should do more reviews of actual cars that people drive as opposed to reviewing supercars and other ultra-expensive stuff. Not that supercar reviews aren’t fun, but they don’t hold much value to average readers without hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on various vehicles.

  • avatar
    Theodore

    P71_CrownVic :
    March 27th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    The pricing is all wrong as well. 33K for a loaded, mid-sized Ford?

    This is a bit misleading, as you can only get to that mark by ticking every single options box. There won’t be many of those. Even Baruth’s tester only came in at $29K. Yeah, that’s Japanese territory. But you know what? The Fusion really is that good.

  • avatar
    TZ

    John R :
    March 27th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    @ponchoman49:

    paris-dakar said CPO G37. He’d rather purchase a certified pre-owned G37 than this car. Which can be had for under $30k nicely equipped.

    The one you linked to doesn’t appear to be CPO.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    I own a 2006 Fusion SEL V6. It has 50,000 miles and has been totally trouble free. I have not heard a squeak or rattle out of this car and I have not had in the shop for anything other than maintenance. In two years when the car becomes my daughter’s college car I will definately be looking at another one.

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    And I own a 2000 Contour that, while probably not as good as a vehicle as same vintage Toyondisson, is well over 100k with one trip to the shop, for a wheel bearing.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    A bit on the above price comparison: CPO vs. new isn’t quite fair. If you’re going to buy a CPO G35, why not a CPO Fusion?

    This:

    paris-dakar said CPO G37. He’d rather purchase a certified pre-owned G37 than this car. Which can be had for under $30k nicely equipped.

    Still a fair argument, though; the Infiniti G is a bit of a spoiler. Why buy a loaded brand new Camcord or Fusibu when you can get an off lease G for the same money?

    And this:

    He wasn’t talking about a new, 2009 G37. He specifically wrote “CPO G37″ – that’s a Certified Pre-Owned G37. I did a quick search and found one CPO 2008 G37 2-door for 33k. I also saw several 2007 G35s listed for less than 30k. I have no doubt that you could probably find a CPO 2008 G37 for 30k.

    My main point is that the Uplevel Variants of all these MidSize FWD Cars make no sense, at least as far as pricing. Very few people looking to spend $30k on a Sedan are going to find the Fusibu SportGTZ a compelling choice.

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      I’m guessing you’ve never bought a new car! The 2010 Ford Fusion Sport AWD is definitely one of the most compelling choices in its class at $30K. Looking at reviews, facts, and spec sheets on quality, appearance, reliability, safety, and resale- The Fusion is worth every penny of that $30K plus some. I actually am having a lot of trouble finding another midsize car in it’s class to stack up close to the fusions records and reputations.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    ParisDakar –

    You may have a point, but the Fusion sport reviewed does have certain things the G37 doesn’t – AWD (yes, availible on the Infiniti, but at a higher price), Sync (it really is that good that this feature alone moves vehicles for us, heads and tails above any competing bluetooth/ipod/telematics system in any other vehicle), it runs on regular gas while the Infinitis require premium, and regular scheduled maintenance is a lot cheaper on a Ford than on an Infiniti. Plus, for 2010 Ford is rolling out a new feature in Sync that gives turn by turn navigation using the trip computer readout and a spoken voice in cars that don’t come with the LCD screen Nav systems. From what we at the dealers have been told, this feature will be free for at least three years.

    As far as pricing goes, I agree that if the domestics are going to be competitive it is imperative that the huge rebates and discounts from MSRP stop. The 2010 Fusion is just as good if not better than the Camry/Accord, so pricing it to compete makes sense. Ford is not going to recover by playing Hyundai pricing tactics.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I saw that the Mustang had brake issues as well. incidentally how much power does the 3.5 produce?

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    answering my own question 263hp

    no manual at all now even for the 2.5 hmmm mind you if the shift changes are quick enough it will be ok.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Genuine content…I am trying to like Ford again, this review helped.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    @ Nullo Modo

    I question how much value AWD adds. Aside from Audi and Subaru, has any other maker really been successful with AWD Pass Cars? Ford hasn’t done very well with it (Flashback to the Tempo AWD!). Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have conspicuously stayed away from it. I think people in the market for AWD will go with an A4 or Legacy – and the Fusion Sport probably compares even worse to the 2009 Legacy than a 2-3 year old Infiniti G Sedan. At least the Subaru has a Manual available.

    As far as the Synch, I can’t comment on the system, I have no experience with it.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Heathroi – There is a manual option with the 2.5, just not on the sport, the sport trim level always has the 3.5.

    ParisDakar – I am with you on AWD in general, for some it’s great, I am sure others will care less. It is also optional on the Sport, you can get the Sport plain old FWD if you like.

    Also, as far as manuals go, I think they are being included less as a nod to the enthusiast community, and more as means of getting a base car for a smaller price. The sales of any family sedan in a manual are far far less than with the automatic. The 6 speed autos also get better fuel economy than the 6 speed manuals in the new Fusion.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the reads and the comments… as might be apparent, I was really impressed by the 2010 Fusion. Having driven the 1995 Contour SE 5-speed upon its introduction, and later sampling the Contour SVT, I think this Fusion preserves some of the spirit of those cars while moving the game on in speed, size, capability, and other facets.

    A few commenters have discussed AWD. Let me tell you that, under our testing conditions, it was money in the bank in terms of over-the-road speed. We had a Mustang out at the same time (TTAC review on the way) and it was far, far harder to extract “X” percent of the available speed from the ‘Stang.

    As for the CPO G37 discussion… it’s a great point to make, but that’s a pretty slippery slope. For $30K you can buy any variety of used cars up to and including a Porsche 996. The G37 is really a different product intended for a different audience. But with that said, I think I could run an RWD G37 awfully close down a twisty road with this Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      I agree with you Jack, except for your last sentence. I have an 07 SE V6 FWD and I know for a fact that if you were to even try to stay near my tail driving most any rear wheel drive car on a twisty road, you would end up off the side of that twisty road. And all I’ve done is added a couple hundred to the price by upgrading suspension just a little. By a little I mean a sway bar, tie-rod, and tighter springs.
      A very low cost up grade that makes it now handle like a $50,000 M5 Beemer. Even with stock suspension I’ve never seen or driven a RWD car that could keep up with my FWD fusion on curvy roads.

  • avatar
    chamar

    Thanks for the review.

    As a current 2006 Ford Fusion V6 SL Owner, (still own 2 other Japanese pieces of work, 96′ I30 & 05′ Quest). I think Fusion delivers exceptionally well for its price and overall in its class.

    The fact that i got the Fusion for monthly installments of less than what I would have had paid for a 06′ Civic (After a “Hard Bargain” at the time) I am more than content with the car, performance and the bang for buck factor.

    And will give 2010 Fusion V6 SEL (not sure about the sport version) a long honest consideration in 20 months time.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Ford needs this car to be a massive hit and I think it has every chance to become one…although Ford depreciation and the anti-American auto maker stigma…and this price is a major issue.
    Regarding the front of the car – I’m starting to look at the end of the 2000′s as another “dark ages” of styling. Of course not every car falls into this trap, but as a whole, too many cars are overloaded with busy lines, too much chrome, grilles that redefine rancid, and pointless trim like fake vents. Ford, especially with their trucks, thinks that more chrome = upscale when in reality, after several years of the elements, it gets faded and pitted.
    If they can get the price under control AND avoid the problems GM had in getting the excellent Malibu delivered in necessary numbers, this could be the car that starts a turnaround in at least one American car company.
    Plus the hybrid Fusion is (in these eyes) the best family-sized hybrid out there.
    And Ford…avoid the rental car trap with this, OK???

    Side note – For those who might live in the area or are always looking for some fun roads to drive on, the Hocking Hills region of Ohio is just a blast and the scenery (especially the waterfalls) will take your breath away. Find a good, fun car like the previous Miata review and flog it on those roads. That’s one perk about living within a couple of hours from there!
    Look for Logan, OH. It’s SE from Columbus and Lancaster, NW from Athens and Marietta.
    They also just had a zip line put in last tourist season and there’s a lot of nice places to stay.
    (C’mon…help support my home state!!! It needs it!)

  • avatar

    I’m Proud of FORD and I want them to succeed. I want the Taurus to be great in every way and I want the company to gradually get better.

    The MKS is an example of where Ford is going. I like the direction.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    As far as pricing goes, I agree that if the domestics are going to be competitive it is imperative that the huge rebates and discounts from MSRP stop. The 2010 Fusion is just as good if not better than the Camry/Accord, so pricing it to compete makes sense. Ford is not going to recover by playing Hyundai pricing tactics.…

    I suspect they build-in giveaway money to the list. Since people are used to the big discounts on the domestics and second tier imports, buyers would not buy if they didn’t feel like they were getting more off MSRP.

    Really good review. Not once did I miss any reference to cupholders or LATCH child seat anchor points. Kudos to
    Ford for doing a good job with this car, and the hybrid version, too. Camcorders won’t look at it, but the road back need to come one step at a time.

    Your reference to the Probe was interesting. Back when Ford spent 6 billion(?) on the Contour program, I had wondered why they just didn’t take the excellent Probe platform and make a small sedan from that, like the Mazda 626? They would have saved a bundle in development costs, and the would have had a class competitive small car. They could of made their own corner carving performance variant, too.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Regarding the front of the car – I’m starting to look at the end of the 2000’s as another “dark ages” of styling. Of course not every car falls into this trap, but as a whole, too many cars are overloaded with busy lines, too much chrome, grilles that redefine rancid, and pointless trim like fake vents. Ford, especially with their trucks, thinks that more chrome = upscale when in reality, after several years of the elements, it gets faded and pitted.

    So true. For a while, Ford went crazy with the Matte Silver paint on their interiors. The 2004 F-150 was especially horrible.

  • avatar

    See, that’s the problem, if you can’t make the product and sell it for a price that competes, perhaps you shouldn’t be making the product in the first place! If Ford can’t do a Fusion at a competitive advantage (i.e. quality, style, pricing, etc all in sync) then perhaps it’s time to not make a Fusion at all…

    Exactly.

    John

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    As far as pricing goes, I agree that if the domestics are going to be competitive it is imperative that the huge rebates and discounts from MSRP stop. The 2010 Fusion is just as good if not better than the Camry/Accord, so pricing it to compete makes sense. Ford is not going to recover by playing Hyundai pricing tactics.

    I can see where one would think that, but here is the sad truth.

    The 2010 Fusion is a reskin. It is a carry-over car that has received slight tweaks for the new model year. The core Fusion is the same car that we have seen for years. It still has SYNC, it still has AWD, it still has awkward styling, etc.

    The 2010 model will not do much to boost the Fusion’s overall sales. And the reason for that is very simple; Ford overcharges for their products. We saw that with the Flex, MKTauruS, and we will see that with the Fusion. Looking at the sales numbers, the VAST majority of people would rather pay MORE and get LESS for a Honda or Toyota than spend the same amount on a Ford. People don’t car that they would be getting a few more electronic gimmicks on the Fusion, they refuse to spend that kind of money on a Ford…and rightly so. Ford completely forgot how to build a competitive car in the late 90′s and most of the 2000s. Meanwhile, Toyota and Honda kept quiet and continued to build a solid customer base and providing value in a way where now…even though the new Fusion and Malibu are better cars, people are not willing to pay the same prices. People are speaking with their money…and they prefer the Camry, Accord, and Malibu over the Fusion.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I agree that Ford went through a dark time in the 90s/early 2000s, but now that the quality vehicles are back, Ford has to make a profit from them to keep the ball rolling. Yes, there are still plenty of people who will only buy the Camry or the Accord (not so much the Malibu as GM has just as much if not more of a bad rep to repair), but slowly but surely as long as Ford keeps the quality going, more and more converts will come.

    And yes, the 2010 is a reskin, but the underlying car was already very solid and competitive, if there was any deficiency it was in the interior, which has now been redone. Overall Ford products are priced right where they need to be, the Flex is priced to compete with the Acadia/Highlander/Pilot, with which it competes very well on merits, unfortunately just seeing slow sales due to the styling being harder for customers to accept than Ford had hoped. The MKS is selling very very well, better than the Genesis, the STS, the RL, the Infiniti M and the Lexus G, which were the vehicles Lincoln targeted with the launch.

  • avatar
    Ach

    My main point is that the Uplevel Variants of all these MidSize FWD Cars make no sense, at least as far as pricing. Very few people looking to spend $30k on a Sedan are going to find the Fusibu SportGTZ a compelling choice.

    Fine, but don’t just make it about the American entries. Are Camry/Accord/Altima (with no AWD offered) a much more compelling value at the 30K point?

    And Jack: Is the Camry’s platform really any newer than the Fusion’s?

  • avatar

    @Ach:

    I’m not naive enough to call the current Camry “all-new”, but it probably has more recent content than the 2010 Fusion.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Let’s get some thing straight. Why should Ford price its cars $5K less than the competition? Maybe this was a good pricing strategy when the big 3 was churning rental fleet trash. But this cheapening is was did so much damage to the brand images of the Big 3. What is this car’s direct competition anyways? Camcord. But a fully loaded Camcord still costs about as much or more than Fusion Sport, and still has no AWD, and Accord does not have six-speed transmission. I personally would take the Fusion over the bloated barge that Camcord has become.

    Please do realize that if you don’t need all the bells or AWD, a new Fusion with 4-cyl or 3.0 V6 is priced in the low 20s.

  • avatar
    brush

    Put the current G6/F6 (Falcon) nose on, ditch the FWD and make it AWD/RWD and a sucessor to the G6/F6 will be born. Unless Ford NA goes to the wall and we export G6/F6 to the States!

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Great review Jack.

    Ford has done an admirably job keeping a great platform fresh 6 years after its debut underpinning the Mazda6. I think the Fusion is a very underrated car that deserves as much attention as the Chevy Malibu. Personally, I think there’s too much chromework on the nose and a 3 spoke steering wheel would’ve done more to differentiate the Sport model from its lesser kin (a manual option would’ve been great but at least they FINALLY have a manumatic function for the 6 speed auto).

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Ford will be with us forever.

    If GM push thru with their Electric Vehicle the CEO will not be fired.

  • avatar
    wsn

    CarShark :
    March 27th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    You want them to make a profit, but think their cars should be $5K less than the competition? That makes no sense. Mid-sized sedans aren’t exactly per unit cash cows to start with.

    ————————————————-
    1) That’s what you have to do as an underdog. First gen Lexus LS undercut competition by $20k.

    2) Mid-size sedan are THE cash cows. At least for Honda, most of their profit are from Accords. If Ford or GM cannot make mid-size sedans cash cows, they should figure out what is the problem with them.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Ok, I like the review. Sounds like a fun ride, all but the lack of a manual tranny. Still, I have to agree that the price is out of line. While I wouldn’t go CPO on a G37 (Not an apples to apples comparison people) for the same price, neither would I go brand new Fusion Sport over a brand new Accord for the same $$$.

    It’s depreciataion people.

    Ford needs to MSRP these things low enough to make up for the depreciation delta between a class leading Accord and a bottom dweller like Ford. If after a good 2-3 years of ownership I can trade in a Ford and come out even with an Accord I’m game.

    Oh, and in the mean time Ford needs to build these things rock solid and better than Honda or Toyota to get their depreciation to class leading status. When that happens they can demand class leading prices.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    200k-min – According to every quality measurement I have seen from Consumer Reports, TruDelta, and JD Power the Ford Fusion is ranked at or above the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry since introduction…net they are “rock solid”. Understand your depreciation concern—but quality is not part of the equation here.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I’m 37 and drive around 50K miles a year. I’ve had many cars, and many of those were Fords. Included among the Fords was a 98 SVT Contour, Toreador Red.

    The SVT Contour was a great car, in that it reminded me of a smoking hot broad, red dress, brought home from the bar, and easy to enjoy all night long. But really hard to live with.

    The SVT Contour was a horrible car, in that when it was time to get up and go to work, the same qualities that made her so enjoyable when the going was good, made her a bear when the hangover set in. Though the Contour was as reliable as the day was long, the clutch’s point of engagement was anyone’s guess. This made driving a chore.

    But give me a long stretch of curvies, and she sang. The engine made wonderful noises, on the cams, the acceleration was a kick. And the handling was rock solid, even at triple digit speeds. I remember a Tennessee State Trooper saying “Wooo Boy. Them truckers been all over the radio about you, little red car just FLYIN past them…”

    My other stick shift Ford, an Escape, suffered from the same clutch maladies, with a bit of shudder thrown in for good measure. Otherwise, it would have been the perfect vehicle. For me.

    The lesson I’ve learned, is that Fords are very reliable. None have left me stranded, and all have served faithfully. But my future Fords will always be automatics. As is my current Mercury Grand Marquis.

    As for the Fusion, it strikes me as being competitive. And I like that it falls on the smaller size of the now too big Accord and Camry. If I were to buy one, it would be the 4cyl auto.

    Thanks for a good review.

  • avatar
    mesh

    Jebus forbid that I could never afford another Audi, but if I couldn’t, it’s nice to know that there are cars out there that could offer a cheaper substitute. Let’s hope Ford resists the temptation to super-size the next iteration of the Fusion, unlike Mazda who went all biggest loser on the Mazda 6.

  • avatar

    Downshift should be a pull motion. 90% of my downshifts in a manual box are from 5-4 or 3-2, so it’s more instinctive to pull back.

    At least they didn’t feel compelled to use the garbage flappy-paddles which are only good for nervous fiddling in traffic.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Let’s hope Ford resists the temptation to super-size the next iteration of the Fusion, unlike Mazda who went all biggest loser on the Mazda 6.

    One big reason for super-sizing the North American 6 is so that it can share assembly and design resources with the Fusion, Edge and CXs. The Fusion was always, essentially, a bigger, more softly sprung 6 without a trunk or hatch. Now that the 6 has grown, the difference is effectively minimal: the 6 is a Fusion with swoopier styling.

  • avatar
    viper1974

    Bad review of this car. There were several comments that made me squint and say, “WHAT?!?!”

    1) “Let’s get something straight here: the 2010 Fusion Sport is no successor to the vaunted SVT Contour.”

    —I’m sorry, but the “vaunted” SVT Contour? There’s no way that an SVT Contour will ever beat my ’02 Grand Prix GTP. And I’m sure a BMW driver isn’t worried either. The Contour was overrated. Plus, my GTP still gets 31mpg while cruising on the highway at 73mph (flat highway of course).

    2) While the Fusion Sport will never trouble a 335xi, it will absolutely demolish a “sporty” Camry or Accord when the road turns twisty.

    —-Demolish? Not likely. I will take a Honda Accord coupe with the V-6 any day over a Fusion Sport.

    Jack, were you paid by Ford for this review? hehe…

    • 0 avatar
      jbird7185

      You apparently have never driven an fusion, accord,or camry of the same year. Well I have, and actually own a new camry and a fusion se 3.0. My fusion gets compliments every where I drive it because of it’s stylish body. The camry has gotten right at ZERO compliments. My fusion does and will demolish ANY camry or accord on any test course. Especially a course with obstacles. My fusion also has never been in the shop for anything that wasn’t routine maintenance and has 151,000 miles on it. Still drives like it did the day I bought it. The camry has been great also, but has been in the shop a half dozen times and is not even halfway as enjoyable or comfortable as the ford. The camry has 56,000 miles on it. The review was dead on. Even though it was on the fusion sport 3.5, and I have a SE 3.0 V6. That even speaks less for the camry and accord, not to mention your(viper1974) ridiculous review. people that are closed minded and have no clue what they are talking shouldn’t even be on here writing reviews. And actually the resale value on the fusion is great. The fusion also got much better overall quality reviews than the accord and I believe it did start outselling the camry after a couple years in production. All great cars, fusion just surpasses. Get some experience or atleast some facts on all the cars tested next time. And maybe leave personal opinion out of it.

  • avatar

    @jgh: The reason sequential transmissions should be forward-to-downshift is simple: under heavy braking, it is much easier to perform a relatively precise forward “push” than a backwards “pull”.

    Pretty much every race car with a sequential box uses push-to-downshift. Note that motorcycles use a push-to-downshift in their sequential boxes as well.

    “Dogleg” racing transmissions, as found in my old Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, have the 3-2 downshift oriented to be a forward push as well.

  • avatar
    dean

    Jack: racing motorcycles often reverse the shift pattern so that you push to upshift. I believe they do it that way so that you can upshift while leaned over in a corner (without trying to sneak your foot under the shifter, pretty tricky when your scraping your freaking shoulder armor like Rossi). Since downshifts are usually done before entering the corner it isn’t such a big deal.

    Push to downshift on a sequential autobox makes sense, though.

    The Fusion Sport looks like a good car, and I would definitely look at it if I was in the market for such a beast. But the price is going to be near $40k Canadian, and there is too much competition at that price, both new and lightly used.

  • avatar

    @dean: Thanks for the heads-up. I sold my last bike a few years ago, and I never put a motorcycle on a racetrack, having learned the fundamental lesson of my two-wheel imperfection (and broken my neck) on BMX bikes.

    Actually, I’d really like to try racing some time in whatever the modern version of the old Yamaha Seca series is, but I think it would be the end of me.

  • avatar
    davey49

    “—-Demolish? Not likely. I will take a Honda Accord coupe with the V-6 any day over a Fusion Sport.”

    Just because a car has 2 doors and looks “sporty” doesn’t mean it is.

  • avatar
    harrymac

    No doubt prices in the US may differ but as an experiment I priced on line a loaded Accord V6 with Nav, and as close to all options on the Fusion Sport. It came out to $45747 CDN + fees & taxes (before any discounts if any exist) and thats with only FWD, no Sync and BLIS etc. standard on The Fusion Sport AWD, which can be had today for a street price of about $33,000 CDN+ fees & taxes. So talk of resale value down the road has to be weighted against real initial cost.

  • avatar
    gemstone

    Wow, great review….

    Unlike most comments above, I have recently left the fence and purchased (2 weeks ago) a ’10 Ford Fusion Sport. This car is absolutely phenominal.

    I wanted something destinctive and noticable. The Camcords are neither. Granted the Accord Coup is sleek (not usable with my family), yet it looks much like every other plain sheet metal Japanese car on the road. (Lexus’ newer IS line looks great but way out of my league on pricing!)

    I guess I belong to the target market Ford is after, mid-to-late 30s. I have never owned a North American vehicle and I took the plunge on this one. It fills every need, and more importantly wants I had.

    The SYNC 12 speaker 5.1 surround system is stellar. I wanted a heavy feel, quiet yet throaty, with less float. A little more German road feel with a North American Style and ride. The AWD was a big plus!

    I suspect that I am not alone. I sincerely believe that this is the trend now… away from bland vehicles using quality of build as their only “claim to fame.”

    The Japanese cars that are trying to emulate this are over compensating on these angles I feel. Look at the TL, Maxima, Mitsubishi, Accord Coupe, etc. They are now trying to copy the MKZ and Caddies of 3-5 years ago. The last company holding out… and losing market share… is Toyota. I suspect it wont be long to see a change there too.

    Its great to see North American Styling reassert itself… its about time!

    In my opinion, Ford is finally at or ahead of the curve. You may like or dislike the front grill (I love it) but you can’t argue its distinctiveness. People turn heads with this car… Camcord’s don’t.

    I finally felt comfortable enough with the reliability and fit/finish and bought the machine that, as the Caddie commercial with the hot chick says “return’s the favour.”

    Very impressed with the looks, tech, and drive. We’ll see it it pays off… I suspect it will and should pay off for Ford.

    A toast to Ford!

  • avatar
    randymrtn@yahoo.com

    well,i just put 2000 mile on my 2010 awd sport fusion,way better than i thought,i lost my job and got very carefull with my money,bmw and audi are no longer in my price range…the ford fusion awd out performes my aging audi a6,thank you ford,i never would have dreamed that a mid size ford would make life worth living…its good, real good..life is good,and fun things make it better..test drive one today and save$$$

  • avatar
    whamel

    I own a 2010 Fusion Sport w/ the 3.5L V6. Bought used with 23,000 miles for an even $20,000 (including tax title fees) but not plates. Didn’t anticipate the $800 price tag for Mississippi tags. I hadn’t owned a vehicle since an ’06 Jetta I sold was unneeded. Living in the city of Chicago, I used public transport, so I got rid of the Jetta.
    I paid cash, up front in full, so I was given a decent deal. Dealer was asking 24,990 and I walked away paying 20K even with tax title fees and I am a very happy camper. However, the gas mileage leaves alot to be desired, but the engine puts out in horses what it eats in fuel.
    I get 21HWY, 15CTY but I do have a lead foot, and lets be real, EPA estimates are just that, estimates.
    Beautiful car though. I have owned a ’97 Jeep Cherokee, ’02 Explorer XLT, ’06 Jetta, and now a 2010 Fusion Sport FWD and I’m pleased. I will say that the parts are EXPENSIVE to replace. I replaced a rocker panel that a pot hole took out and it was over $1K in parts and labor to repair. Didn’t anticipate that…


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