By on January 9, 2012

There’s been no shortage of Fusion coverage this week, but now we have the car itself. The verdict? In the metal, it almost looks more like a four-door Aston than the Rapide. And let’s not forget the October Surprise of a plug-in hybrid, which Ford sources at the show told me will be on dealer floors in 2012…

The interior looks as good as the photos had promised. It’s more or less the materials and tech from the 2012 Edge, re-proportioned for sedan duty. The seats are soft and touchy. Obviously, the proof will be in the driving, but if the new Fusion isn’t a “game-changer”, it’s at least a solid kick to the face of the Malibu and Sonata.

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95 Comments on “NAIAS: Here’s The New Fusion…....”


  • avatar
    JCraig

    Yeah Aston is definitely what immediately came to mind. Looks great though. Did Ford keep that little detail in the sale? The rear is a litle plain and the interior could be more stylish. Still makes the Camry look a decade behind the times.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      Actually it looks exactly like the Ford Mondeo that I see in China.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s sooo much closer to a Mitsubishi Lancia than an Aston or Aston Rapide that it’s uncanny:

      Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dsc00713-529×350.jpg

      Aston Martin Rapide: http://images.jaxsportscars.com/pictures/41748431.jpg

      Aston: http://autobuzzi.com/images//Aston-Martin-DB9-White-Behind-608×342.jpg

      In fact, the side profile and beltline is a crib off the Lancia.

      I put up each in white, just to be as fair and complete as possible.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    I’m hoping to be able to see one of these at CES tomorrow (Ford’s a sponsor of the show). Just based on looks, the interior quality seems to be right up there with the entry-luxury class. I’ll withhold judgement on the styling until I see it with Illinois’ stupid front license plate. It looks like it was designed for a Euro front pate, not the taller and narrower US plates.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    Me likey. Thank you Ford, for not making the interior unremitting black like your Fiesta and Focus.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Looks good. If I get one. I’ll put Aston Martin on the back with mailbox letters.

  • avatar
    bmmr

    Yeah, can’t wait to see it with an Ontario License Plate stuck on the front of it.. (Yuck)

  • avatar
    nearprairie

    Heavens to Betsy, first the Dodge Dart and now this! What flavor Kool-Aid is getting guzzled in Detroit? Impressive.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    You do know that in some places it is legal to trim a US license plate to remove the tag line.
    There have also been instances where it was determined it was legal to obscure both tag line and state name with a plate frame.
    Wonder if it is possible to make your own plate as they do in Gt Britain?

    Oh, and the car, it’s a looker! But we, however, already knew that because for the last 10 years we’ve had great-looking Fords here in Europe too. If you folks in North America are very, very, good perhaps will send you an S-max one day.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Not in NC. It’s a $100 fine to obscure the state name. Not sure if it applies to out of state cars, or if it’s even enforced because I still see plenty of plates with obscured state names on the road. We can thank our new camera based toll collection system for this law, as well as one that bans the state from issuing graphic plates (several NC specialty plates types will be replaced with plainer ones by 2015, sorry about those pretty Blue Ridge Parkway, State Parks, etc plates).

      Btw this law is kinda relevant in NC because our state name is at the bottom of the plate. Most states have it at the top, and most plate frames are designed for states with the name at the top.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        At least in NC we don`t have to have a front license plate which I think was the complaint of the original poster with a license plate breaking up the front design.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        I think our state (NC) got this one right. Having a bunch if different license plate designs makes it almost impossible at a glance to tell what state the plate is actually from. A license plate does not have to be a fashion/social/political statement; one consistent design should suffice. In addition, having the plate unobstructed makes sense; the whole point of a license plate is to identify the car, and blocking parts of it makes that function more difficult.

        Between the three dozen NC plate designs and the license plate frames covering the name of the state and/or expiration stickers I wondered how the police ever figured out where the tag was from or if it was legit. Of course, to some people that is a feature, not a bug:)

  • avatar
    200k-min

    As someone who thinks Hyundai/KIA is more flash than substance this is a serious kick in the Koreans jaw. I’m also not so sure the Camcord can live on reputation alone indefinately. Unless the thing is a total lemon I can’t see how this will be a bad vehicle for Ford and I can’t wait to see one.

    When do they hit the dealer lots? When do we find pricing?

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      With the turbo only bringing 238hp (that is the most you are going to get) to the table its actually pretty weak kick towards the jaw, I’m afraid. we’ll see.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        John – how do you know 238hp is the most we will get? I was really hoping for a Sport/ST/SHO version – I just hope you are wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        I WAS wrong, its 237hp.

        “Then there’s the new 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, which will be the “performance” option. It’s expected to deliver 237 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. Not bad, especially when you consider that it will come with a standard six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic along with optional 19-inch wheels and tires and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.”

        http://www.insideline.com/ford/fusion/2013/2013-ford-fusion-2012-detroit-auto-show.html

      • 0 avatar
        Brian E

        Don’t judge based on peak horsepower. The current A4 is only rated for 211hp but is as fast as the Sonata. Gearing, torque curve and AWD are deciding factors.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        John – thanks for the correction. I suppose the Lincoln MKZ will have more powerful engines to give it a reason for existing.
        Good point on the A4 and the new 328i is 240hp and 260lb/ft torque so comparable. I just hoped there would be a sports package – anthracite headliner, different wheel design that sort of thing.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Brian E – how does the A4 compare to the Sonota when it comes to MPG? I bet that also has a lot to do w/ why the Audi is just as fast.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        A4: 22/30
        Sonata: 22/34

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        It’s a nice design (though would be better as a hatchback, as another commenter said), and some people will like it, others will not — just like the Sonata is not for everyone.

        But based on what I see so far, I really don’t see how it is a “game-changer” or “blowing the competition out of the water.”

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        rear-biased all-wheel-drive system

        I’m surprised this bit hasn’t been getting more attention. A RWD biased system, possibly combined with Ford’s torque vectoring control (I haven’t seen it confirmed for the Fusion yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised) would give the Fusion AWD performance chops closer to Audi’s Quattro or Acura’s SH-AWD than the traditional FWD-until-it-slips systems that most midsizers with optional AWD use.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      And this, from Ford’s press release, is the kick in Kia’s teeth: “Fusion demonstrates that a tasteful, well-executed design does not require add-ons or visual clutter”.

      Burn.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Yeah I don’t see the substance advantage here when all the engines across the board don’t touch the Sonata/Optima. Styling is subjective but they are all great looking cars IMO. This is the least original however. Aston grill, looks like a Lancer from the front profile, generic rear…

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        Hyundai/Kia lacks substance in not engine options or electronic do-dads, but in a proven track record. They are coming around, but they aren’t there yet. Case in point, I test drive used cars to determine how well the new ones will hold up. Drove a 2010 Sonata with 30k miles. It drove like garbage, like a rental car that had been flogged from day one. Test drove another 2010 thinking that was a fluke – same results. My 1999 Accord with over 180k miles is a FAR FAR better built vehicle. That’s where I think Hyundai/Kia still is weak. I won’t consider them because they aren’t Honda/Toyota good yet.

        Ford OTOH has built a pretty good vehicle in the Fusion. Used versions seemed much better built all around than a comparable Sonata. If this new one can live up to the old model it’ll be a winner. Peak HP and such doesn’t sell vehicles in this class. Good quality at a good price does.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Are you going to drive a 2010 Focus and make the same judgement on the new one? I also wouldn’t give a lot of credit to Ford on the last Fusion when they took the last generation Mazda 6 and made it worse. I don’t like the previous Sonota either but I don’t see how Ford has a better history making cars with substance.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        I will however agree 100% with you that Honda/Toyota have a solid reputation in this regard. It has to be the one thing fueling sales of the arguably crappy new Civic, the ancient Corolla and aging ‘all new’ Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        Disaster

        200k, the newer Sonata is much better. Our 2009 Genesis has 30K miles on it and feels as tight as the day we bought it. The only warranty we’ve had is an O2 sensor.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The verdict? In the metal, it almost looks more like a four-door Aston than the Rapide

    Well not really of course (FWD typical front overhang FTL), but the front end still looks good. I’m not sure if the interior is better than that of the current Mondeo which this car will replace more than a year from now, but maybe there’ll be some changes for the Euro model anyway. Seems like a nice car, but not totally blown away, cause it almost seems like an intensive refresh of the current Mondeo instead of a totally new car.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Very nice, inside and out. Camry does not even come close in looks. If Fusion can keep reliability up in the first year, they should have a big win here.

  • avatar
    JKC

    Nice car. It points out why Mercury was a redundant brand, and it makes me wonder if there’s really any point to Lincoln any more.

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      To your point, isn’t the next MKZ supposed to be the game changer for the Lincoln brand? The Fusion is a stunner already. I’m optimistic, but curious to see how much “better” the MKZ will truly be versus the Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The top-of-the-line versions are supposed to take Mercury’s place. It will be interesting to see the new MKZ, and how Ford differentiates it from the Fusion.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “Here’s The New Fusion…”
    Very Funny, Jack. Writing that,
    then posting pics of an Aston Martin…

  • avatar
    derek17005

    Beautiful car. Let’s hope the hardware is as good as it looks.

    Been driving a 2010 Fusion for the past two years and it’s been a decent car, if not a little boring (4cyl). My only complaint is the material used for the soft touch dash (charcoal interior) is starting to look blotchy if that makes sense. No chemicals have been used on it either, but almost like the UV is damaging it. It is very tight riding without rattles and I’m at 45K on the odometer.

    As long as the pricing is reasonable and Ford doesn’t Taurus price it (charge too much), it should be a good seller and a leader in the 4-door sedan segment.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    Looks good, but in a totally derivative kind of way. The blatant copying evident in Ford’s recent designs, if we want to call them that, is really disappointing. What’s next – a copy of the Hyundai Equus?

  • avatar
    86er

    And let’s not forget the October Surprise of a plug-in hybrid, which Ford sources at the show told me will be on dealer floors in 2012…

    Prior to the Ch11 fillings of GM and Chrysler, those respective companies were cutting and slashing everything they could to staunch the negative cashflow situation. This included project spending.

    Ford refused to, and some of the fruits of these efforts are being realized now.

  • avatar
    NN

    Looks very good. A wide selection of trim levels and engines gives the idea that there will be an offer for nearly anyone, plus the Energi and Hybrid models will do a lot to build the impression of the Fusion as being a technological leader. Glad they’re bringing back assembly to the US, also…that will also help sales by converting those who looked at the old Fusion as not much more than a Mexican made last-gen Mazda 6.

    I think as long as Ford makes sure to provide value models with the options that most Americans yearn for at a price competitive with other class leaders, then they’ll do well with this.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Wait a minute, now. Fusion used to look like a late-’90′s Accord, you know, sensibly styled for a mid-size family sedan that one could see out of. Now what? It looks like a Focus, only done blowed-up a bit, with some kind of Euro-something grille on it. Just when I was getting used to Venetian blinds…

    Chevy, don’t let me down!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Zackman, you read my mind!

      If you really like the current corporate styling theme, then the new Fusion will look great. If you don’t like the Aston Martin Rapide styling, it’s going to be a long wait for a new design paradigm…

      I know it’s a bit premature to judge the car before I’ve seen it in real life, but I’m not all that in love with the Focus, Fiesta and that little CUV thing shown last week in India. I think the whole front grille idiom that’s current with the new Fords may not age well.

      Maybe it will be like the Pontiac Aztek I had some years ago, I was on the inside of the car while driving it, so I didn’t care what the outside looked like… :)

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Azteks were awesome if you were driving them. Great interior, visibility, functionality and ride. I worked as a wash boy at a dealership when they debuted. The savvy sales staff that sold them were the ones to get people to actually test drive them.

        Not to mention, I rarely saw Azteks in for warranty work. Could have been due to the law of averages.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @tresmonos: We had two of them. I had a 2001 3SC (I think, it’s been almost 10 years) and a 2004 Rally. They were a great size, could haul a lot of stuff, good fuel mileage, truly versatile. To be truthful, when my wife selected the car, I wasn’t too crazy about it’s looks, but the functionality of the car won me over.

        The 2001 was very good in regards to repairs, but the 2004 was pretty bad. I think the 2004 cancelled out the 2001′s good service record.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I was invited to a Focus group on the Pontiac Aztek. I described it as a lobster after being shown the vehicle. Horrible to look at with a gangly shell; but if you can get past that and get to the interior, a sweet surprise waits inside.

      I said definitely would not buy, please don’t build this. It is ground breaking in one way in that it was one of the very first CUVs, and on paper would have been far better executed had GM bean counters not insisted that Pontiac engineers have to dumpster dive from the existing GM parts bin to put it all together. That and if it wasn’t designed by committee and focus group, and wasn’t so marketing driven, and one hand knew what the other was doing, and if the God awful head gasket destroying 3.4L V6 didn’t have Dexcool circulating in it, and…oh who am I kidding.

      It had a nice interior and did ride very rice.

  • avatar

    I’m not as bowled over by the car as the rest of the internet seems to be.

    I am really not a fan of the Aston-cribbed grille as well as the tank-like greenhouse. The car has a very slabsided look and vision may be compromised.

    The interior looks a little cheap or plain as well, not as rich as the Mondeo that came before it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Euro market gets better insides than what we see here.

  • avatar
    slance66

    That’s a hell of a car. They should have given us the Mondeo as Fusion two generations ago, it was always better looking and nicer inside. This car makes the Accord look dowdy and bloated, and makes the new Camry, which is nice, look like an old-person’s car. The Optima is pretty competitive on looks and power options, but it is a Kia. Sonata is too feminine.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I think it looks like the Sonata.

  • avatar
    redav

    I like the look except for a couple features. I truly despise the popularity of the crease along the sides to ‘hide’ the door handles. This one isn’t as bad as the Sonata, but it’d look better without it.

    Also, the LCD may be difficult to see with it tilted up like that and no hood to keep sunlight off of it. I don’t mind LCDs for displaying information, but I’d do away with the MFT and every other touch screen and opt for traditional controls.

  • avatar
    zznalg

    I like that the c-pillar doesn’t look like it’s designed to thwart anti-aircraft fire. It looks like you could actually see out of the thing. To my eye, that looks like an almost retro touch and is most welcome.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Is it just me or does that sunroof look tiny?

  • avatar
    geeber

    A very nice car. If the reliability is as good as the current Fusion, then Ford has a winner on its hands.

    Maybe Ford can pull a page from the 1970s, and instead of comparing it to a Mercedes-Benz, compare it to an Aston Martin. We could have a whole generation of campy ads to poke fun at 30 years from now.

    “Is that your new Aston?…No, it’s a Ford.”

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    Grand Slam!

  • avatar
    willamettejd

    Will it be available in a manual?

    Is it correct that we’ll still have to wait a few years for new/more efficient engines?

    When does it hit dealers (i.e. what does “late” 2012 mean)?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Listening to the Ford presentation a manual transmission will be available on the 1.6 Ecoboost engine only. That will be an optional engine for the SE spec. I wonder why they do a SE, SE with Luxury package and then Titanium. Wouldn`t an SE with Luxury be an SEL? Any manufacturing gains to be made from having an options package rather than a discreet spec level?

  • avatar
    david42

    I mostly love it. But with a butt that big, Ford should’ve given it a hatch back instead of the usual too-narrow trunk. (This is a peeve of mine: sloping rear windows have made trunk openings too shallow! In my old Benzes, you could plop a set of snow tires directly down instead of trying to shove them to the rear of the trunk.)

    Anyway… On the topic of reliability, have Euro-Fords turned out as well as the Mazda-Fords? If I understand correctly, the current reliable Fusion shares a lot of engineering with the Mazda6. The new (European-designed) Focus, on the other hand, has had some teething troubles.

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    So the headlights and taillights look way too small, squinty.

    The interior is great! I hope that isn’t the top most titanium trim, which I suspect will probably cost more than a base BMW 3r.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Hmm. It’s got a guppy mouth like the sporty Focus… I do hope this isn’t Ford’s/Lincoln’s new design strategy “Make the front end of our cars look like sea life.” Unless that sea life happens to be a shark.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Jack – do we know if this will have a real 6 speed automatic or the jerk-monster twin-clutch from the Focus?

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      There’s no mention of the PowerShift in the press release, so I think it’s a conventional 6-speed. Makes me wonder if Ford’s going to kill off the PowerShift after all the negative feedback.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The PowerShift is the way of the future for Ford, but it may not be ready to handle the power from the EcoBoost 2.0 and it’s likely easier to have one automatic that worry about two on the same production line.

        The more recent software upgrades for the PowerShift in the Focus have tamed the jerky starts that some people experienced early on.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        I’ve heard about the software upgrades, hopefully they do fix the problem. Early responses on owner forums as well as a recent review of an upgraded Focus by MotorTrend are promising.

        I like the idea of the dual-clutch, it’s just that Ford’s initial execution was poor – and I’m still not totally convinced of the design’s long-term durability yet.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Guest Columnist: Miss Bea Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina

    Hello from Mayberry!
    When Opie isn’t looking at internet porn, he reads TTAC. Andy told me that I need to keep an eye on Opie while he is online, so I look simply use software the over rides brower history, so I can see if Ope is blogging with you dear friends, or at Fleshlight.

    Clara and I have had our share of Fords. Right now, I am still driving a 1962 Mercury Comet. That has been such a nice car, but I’m getting pretty tired of it. It doesn’t have any of the nicer new features in it like a cassette radio, an alternator, or seat belts. After 328,902 miles, it looks like a rolling pile of old swiss cheese – and smells like it too. If any of you care, Barney’s ashes are in the trunk. I never liked girly men.

    So, let me tell you what I think about this new Fusion. I think Clara would like it a lot, but you know she’s kind of slutty and likes sporty cars. As for me though, I think Ford has definately gone over the brink with this modern look.

    The front end looks mean. It isn’t happy! My Comet looks happy! What ever happened to cars that look gay and festive? Headlights should be round, not squinty like it ate one of my pickles! And the grille – I don’t see any real chrome at all. Grilles should look like grills, like you can use it to barbeque a hot dog. This grille looks cheap and skinny.

    It looks like a fastback my brother used to drive – a 1947 Chevy Businessmen’s coupe. So, there isn’t any trunk like the kind my Comet has either. Where do I put the key? I don’t even see a trunk lock. Andy and Helen like to borrow the Comet when they are in town and go shopping. I don’t know how they will be able to fit Andy’s walker in that little trunk. Or his oxygen tanks.

    The interior isn’t spacious. My Comet has a bench seat. This car looks like it has two sport seats, bucket seats, I think they’re called. And they are not even vinyl! How am I to clean these seats up after Opie blows chunks after getting all liquored up? Andy always let Opie drink and drive and never reprimands the boy, even after he totaled Floyd’s Studebaker. And I wear a sensible hat – and I don’t see how I can get into this car without knocking off my hat. Clara can do it because she is now wearing black leather studded outfits without hats, but I can’t get away with that two bit Harley look like she can.

    Howard Sprague would like this car. He is always trying to find some kind of, what’s he say – oh, babe magnet like this new Fusion. He would like how this new car looks all space age and groovey. He might be too tall for it though. That sun roof would suck his toupe right off his bald head.

    So, that’s my take gentlemen. Fusion – not for me!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      ” If any of you care, Barney’s ashes are in the trunk. I never liked girly men.”

      Ha ha ha! My dad hated Barney, as did I. I rarely watched the show, as I couldn’t stand most of the characters and the forced “hom-i-ness”.

      My favorite show back then was COMBAT! Not a “girly-man” in sight!

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Can we get a Sanford and Son version of this?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I’m pretty certain that the “grille” below the front bumper is actually a TED…that’s “turtle excluder device.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_excluder_device

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’ve read that the plug-in gets 7 MPGe better than Volt and better mileage than the Prius plug-in. The electric range is 20 miles. Any word on price and seating capacity?

  • avatar
    th009

    It’s a nice design (though would be better as a hatchback, as another commenter said), and some people will like it, others will not — just like the Sonata is not for everyone.

    But based on what I see so far, I really don’t see how it is a “game-changer” or “blowing the competition out of the water.”

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Great looking car. Should be very successful.

  • avatar
    bd2

    I’m a bit mixed on the design, in some angles it looks good, in others, a bit ungainly.

    Will need to see it in the flesh to get a more accurate look.

    Overall, a pretty decent design but not a groundbreaking one.

    Based on talk from across the pond, it’ll drive pretty well and has a pretty nice interior.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      So maybe it is “ground breaking” if it drives at or near top of class, has class leading fuel economy, is the only plug-in mid-size car, is stylish to most people and has good class leading quality of interior materials for a comparable price.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    If this is soundly built, has quality switchgear, door handles, drives well, etc and is as reliable as the previous Fusion, Ford will have slammed one out of the park. The plug-in is icing on the cake.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Some will like the looks of this. Many will hate it. This is a problem. It is not conservative enough, and the low roof line means head room trouble in the back seat. The trick to sell a lot of vehicles in this segment is conservative looks and reliability. This fails on the conservative looks test. And, Ford has had trouble with reliability on many of it’s newer products, according to Consumer Reports.

    Based on the performance of Ford stock today, and over the last year, Wall Street does not think Ford has it.

  • avatar
    otaku

    I don’t really have any problem with the Aston-inspired grille. To my eyes, it looks pretty similar to the one from the electric version of the Focus. Actually, I wouldn’t even mind seeing that type of front end treatment carried over to all of the new Focus models. The only negative styling comment I can come up with is that I think the grille looks like it’s been placed a bit high on the Fusion’s nose. Maybe it’s just from the angle of the photos, but IMO it might have been a better idea to either move the grille a couple more inches south or to try and make the section of the bumper just below the grille slightly less prominent.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    While the styling is hugely better than the last Fusion, that is like saying Angelina Jolie is prettier than Tori Spelling. It looks a little generic to me, like a Mitsubishi Lancer coupled with the nose of the Sonata Hybrid. It also looks like it is continuing the trend of ultra high belt lines and severely sloping rear windows which rob backseat room and makes it feel like you’re driving in a submarine.


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