By on April 27, 2010

Read through a few reviews of the Ford Fusion, and you’ll notice that few are able to avoid reference to the midsized sedan’s polarizing chrome grille. Though different reviewers compare the gaudy grille to different brand-name razors, the consensus seems to be that it’s more than a little over the top. Certainly no other car in the Camccord class lays on the plastichrome quite so thick, and it’s hardly the only Ford with class-leading amounts of cheesy bling. And honestly, until I saw the recent Ford ad shown above, I had no idea the Fusion could even be purchased with a body-color grille. The Blue Oval’s marketing forces are only just beginning to feature Fusions with the subtler grille in its advertising, and the difference is instantly noticeable. And with a little research, you’ll find that, having earned a special spot in the Pantheon of Detroit chrome abuse, Ford appears to be moving towards offering chrome-free fascias on more of its vehicles.

Ford’s US-market move away from the “any grille, as long as it’s chrome” mentality started with the Coupe version of the Focus, which made a chrome-free grille standard for the 2009 model year. For 2010, the Fusion got the Monochrome Appearance Package, an $895 option that vastly improves the car’s appearance, bringing it in line with the standards of its segment.

But that’s not all… for 2010, the Focus SES sedan also comes with a blacked-out grille standard, bringing it in line with the Coupe’s appearance. And if you’re a fan of Ford’s trend away from chrome, you’ll be happy to learn that the forthcoming Fiesta and next-gen Focus do without chrome altogether, as Ford’s European “Kinetic” design language kills grilles altogether. If, however, you like acres of chrome on the front of your mass-market sedan, and are concerned by Ford’s move away from the stuff, don’t lose hope. After all, Ford has no plans on getting rid of Mercury, which shows no signs of breaking its hopeless addiction to chrome baubles. Besides, there’s always the JC Whitney catalog…

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35 Comments on “Ford Gets It: Not Everyone Loves Chrome...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    And with a little research, you’ll find that, having earned a special spot in the Pantheon of Detroit chrome abuse, Ford appears to be moving towards offering chrome-free fascias on more of its vehicles

    Tell that to the F-150 Platinum.

    On a serious note, I didn’t really mind Three-Bar: it worked fairly well on several vehicles (especially the Edge); the problem is that it has been amateurishly grafted onto others (Five Hundred, Focus (!!), Fiesta, E-Series).

    If you’re going to have a signature styling trick, it has to be integrated. You cannot just bolt it on.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Interesting moves. Reminds me of a few stories in Hot Rod Magazine during the 1990s. I one story they put a fiberglass bumper on a drag race car cause it cut down on weight and then went to the expense to have the bumper painted and airbrushed to look as chrome-like as possible. A few pages later they covered a story where they built a hot rod and decided to make it monochromatic cause the chromed pieces were solid but decided it was too expensive to re-plate them.

  • avatar
    areaman

    *shrug* The Fusion still isn’t what I’d call a looker.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    VW have also got into the habit of using too much chrome lately ( on the front of the Passat for example).

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Which Winterkorn put a stop to when he took over. See the new Scirocco and Mk VI Golf for good examples of what the back-to-the-roots VW front end looks like.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    For 2010, the Fusion got the Monochrome Appearance Package, an $895 option that vastly improves the car’s appearance, bringing it in line with the standards of its segment.

    So Ford has learned the Porsche metric of charging more for less.

    Yes, I know you get wheels and tires and some interior trim, but that you have to order ‘delete cheesy grille’ as part of a package is brilliant. Or, at least, profitable.

  • avatar
    86er

    It’s all irrelevant anyway, so long as it’s fake chrome.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Last real chrome I had the pleasure of polishing on a car was my 1987 Oldsmobile. My father taught me the proper care of chrome. If it wasn’t for my F150 I’d have lost the need to polish. (Of course on the F150 it’s only the front bumper, it’s a 2004 Heritage package and the front bumper was chrome plated standard.)

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    So I suppose they won’t be partnering up with Gillette on that new chromed 5-bar razor grill?

  • avatar
    chonralda

    I like how she loves the Ford because it has bells and whistles her Toyota does not – and that’s likely because she is just a mid-20′s gal who cannot afford all the bells and whistles and if she could she would have gotten them…on her Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      Sure, but if she sticks with the Ford and it treats her right, as the Fusion is very likely to do, then she’ll probably be happy to consider a Ford again in the future.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Should I forward this post to Acura?

    Hard to believe such a little change makes such a difference but I literally did a double take when a saw the ad which featured the black Fusion with the blacked out grill. I figured it was some new performance model instead of just a chrome-delete option. Like in the 80s when monochrome was only available on the SHOs.

    I saw a show on chrome plating, and its a very involved process… thus I’d guess it actually cost MORE for chrome versus paint.

  • avatar

    When I ordered an ’04 Mazda6 I had to pay extra for the sport grill, which eliminated the heavy chrome band at the top. Sadly, I never did get that car, but that’s a story for another day…

  • avatar
    N Number

    Any chance they’ll tone down the huge [brackets] grille on the Super Duty that they just rolled out? That truck was respectable looking when first rolled out in 1998, but each new grille update gets worse and worse.

  • avatar
    Turbo60640

    Why can’t cars have a little flash and personality? That red Fusion with the body-colored grill looks as boring as every other identical, soulless Camry. Ford wouldn’t have put a shiny chrome grill on the Fusion if there wasn’t a market for it.

    All of that being said, I recently had a black Focus SES as a rental and it was very sharp looking.

  • avatar
    Revver

    I will probably regret this, as I am trowing away all credibility, and will never again be able to critique the oh-so-slightly-out-of-place dohicky on the next Ferrari, but. . . I like the chrome. OTT? Yes, but better than bland.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      On the first gen Fusion the grille was fine. On the new one it’s way, way too much. I like the Fusion triplets but if I were to buy a new gen one today I’d go for the Milan which has a better snout (and a much better tail light treatment) IMO.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I can’t get too worked up about the fake chrome. In fact, I seem to recall several reviewers expressing positive opinions about its appearance. I certainly would not be interested in paying 900 Benjamins to get rid of it.

    At least Ford doesn’t charge to get rid of the spoiler on the Mustang. Now that is a totally silly appendage that I would be happy to do without on a street car.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “Modern cars. They all look like electric shavers.“

  • avatar
    jaje

    I always ask myself WWBLD (What Would Bob Lutz Do)? He’d chrome the crap out of the cars b/c customers always think chrome and shiny means its fancier. Anyone still have his most recent statement that the “General” will put more chrome on their cars to make them seem more expensive.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I would not buy a car with a grill like that simply because of the increased ease at which you could get clocked with a lidar gun. You would have to mount 6 jammer heads on that thing to blind a laser gun.

  • avatar
    Loser

    IMHO the worst chrome offender Ford has is the new Super Duty. They took a decent looking truck and made it look like crap.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    N Number
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Any chance they’ll tone down the huge [brackets] grille on the Super Duty that they just rolled out? That truck was respectable looking when first rolled out in 1998, but each new grille update gets worse and worse.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    It’s not as bad as what they did to the E series vans.

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    I think this is great… that Ford wants to charge THOSE who want to BUY Ford… a $895 charge to make the front clip match the rest of the car…

    Now if only the mirrors, and door handles can also match.

    NOW..
    If Ford could start shooting some non-condescending advertisements.
    The woman obviously doesnt know or read car magazines.. so its of no use for her to know about 2010 Motor Trend car of the Year. It technically.. means nothing to me.. and I used to spend 100bux a month on CAR MAGS.

    Which is only backed up by her purchase of a CAMRY.

    Navigation and bluetooth are both extras.. both of which I could definitely do without. I can buy a cheaper unit at Target and keep a standard “smart” phone for bluetooth handsfree conversing.

    P.S.
    Its not CHROME.

    Its plastic.. sprayed with a color that mimics the Chrome look / aesthetic. Look for the Malibu LTZ / Aura XR interior for more of that winning material fit, sound and finish.

  • avatar

    Chrome or not the grille still looks ugly, it looks more like rear window louvers that were put in the wrong place.
    That and about every Ford I see now looks like a Toyota, no amount of fake chrome will fix that.


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