By on September 5, 2013

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As is sometimes the case at press events, the VW Full Line Drive whence we gathered these Intramural League driving impressions had a few “competitive vehicles” included as well. The idea is that you drive the featured car back-to-back with the competitor. Having done that, you consider the merits of the respective vehicles, and you consider who paid for your hotel room, and you write the test accordingly. Volkswagen had a wide variety of “competitive vehicles” they could have chosen for the Passat and CC which, so far, have taken fourth and fifth place in our feature. The Malibu, the Accord, the Camry. The car they chose was a brand-new, $27,000, Fusion SE Ecoboost.

I’m not sure that was a good idea.


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Turns out the Fusion isn’t just a good reason not to buy a Lincoln MKZ; against the Passat/CC two-punch combo from Chattanooga and Emden it acquits itself remarkably well. Since VW paid for my hotel room, however, I’ll tell you what I didn’t like about said Fusion right away and perhaps the nice PR people will stop reading there and invite me back for next year. So here we go: the combination of the 1.6 Ecoboost and the GM/Ford combo six-speed torque-converter automatic completely, utterly, totally fails to impress. Had I taken the shortest drive loop available, which most of the journalists did, I think I might have come back with the sole impression that both VW big-sedan powerplants — the 1.8TSI and the 2.0T — bitch-slap the Fusion all the way to Hermosillo. There’s a noticeable difference between the 1.6 Ecoboost and the 1.8TSI in throttle response, motive power, and flexibility, and that difference is not in the Ford’s favor. That’s right: the Passat rocks the Fusion all the way through any street race you might care to run.

All VW fans should now stop reading the review and go read that thing we put up about the MRAP yesterday that has so many jimmies rustled at the moment. Thanks for stopping by! See you later today with the second-place finisher from the Intramurals!

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Are they gone? Let’s run another Fusion picture to throw them off.

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Okay. Coast is clear. So the Passat and CC are faster. That’s pretty much all they’ve got going for them. Over the same mountain drive loop I ran in the CC and Passat, the Fusion completely dominated the plus-size Volkswagens. Shall I count the ways?

#1: NVH. The Fusion is quieter than any Volkswagen save for the Phaeton. It practically oozes premium feel in much the same way that the CC does not. The same bumps that rattled the windows almost out of the CC’s frames were distant thuds in the Ford; the repaired pavement that sounded like a steel drum band in the Passat was not entirely discernible from behind the Fusion’s steering wheel. My audio notes tell me that the Ford’s stereo is better. Is it? Probably not, but the noise floor is so much lower in the Mex-American car it’s possible to actually enjoy said stereo more. It’s relaxing and pleasant to drive.

#2: Interior. The Fusion has the distinct look of a car that was engineered from the ground up in the twenty-first century. It’s stylish and made from interesting materials and it’s quite modern. Next to this, the CC looks ancient and the Passat looks dowdy. The seats are positively brilliant and they look the proverbial business as well. Once you internalize how the various Ford infotainment systems work, you’ll enjoy a much broader set of features than you would in the Volkswagens. Don’t forget the fact that the Fusion has two LCD screens in the instrument panel, multi-configurable and chock full of interesting information.

fusioin

To be fair, VW buyers aren’t interested in stuff like that and they never have been. The only “gimmick” standard-issue Volkswagens ever really had was the shift light on the dash. Hell, my Fox had one turn signal indicator in the instrument panel. It was a single exposed green LED. “Volkswagen,” I used to intone primly to my uncaring passengers, “assumes, perhaps alone in this industry, that its customer base is intelligent enough to know which direction of turn it has selected.” Admit it: there’s something cool about that. But there’s also something cheap about that. The Passat and CC feel cheap next to the Fusion. That’s okay. What’s not okay is:

#3: Dynamics. The Fusion has real brakes that really work and really inspire confidence, despite being the porky pig of this bunch. It has overall grip limits that slightly shade the CC and it communicates better through the wheel. It’s properly damped. You can hustle it and it consistently managed to post similar speeds between corners despite having less engine than the Passat by a fair amount. It feels more like a traditional German Autobahn car than the German cars here. If the Passat is the Dasher or Quantum reincarnate, with light steering and plenty of intrusion from the road everywhere you feel or hear, then the Fusion has the hefty arrogance of an E39 BMW, smothering the road and delivering accurate but low-amplitude information through the control surfaces. If you race a Passat for pink slips in a straight line, you’ll walk home. If, on the other hand, you bring it to a mountain over Tokyo to face the “Drift King” and DK is driving a Passat, chances are you’re going to have Sonny Chiba tell you that you’re allowed to stay in Tokyo and date the hot Eurasian chick.

So those are the three primary ways in which the Fusion is superior to the Passat and CC. Let’s check the sticker price:

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It’s more car for less money. Let me slip on my dusty old VW Fanboy Knit Cap and point out that FORD MAKES THE FUSION SOUTH OF THE BORDER IN A CONVERTED HENHOUSE WHILE THE CC IS ASSEMBLED BY FORMER ME262 STURMVOGEL PILOTS IN EMDEN TO STANDARDS OF CARE AND MATERIAL THAT FORD’S “EL POLLO LOCO” FACTORY WILL NEVER ACHIEVE. Also something about how the girls working on the line in Tennessee in their zipperless outfits will probably break your heart, given a chance. I’m being hyperbolic but there’s something to it: if you want a car assembled in Europe, it will cost you more money and you should be prepared to pay more money. Period. Ford saves money by assembling the car in a NAFTA wage-free, I mean, free-trade zone. With that said, if you’re careful when you shop you should be able to get a Flat Rock one now. Many of the parts, however, will still be sourced from places where “fifteen dollars an hour” isn’t a prospective McDonald’s wage but rather the combined take-home pay of a working family of four.

This is also the part of the review where our readers will think to themselves, “Yeah, Ford. Right. I read Consumer Reports, too.” Okay, but the competition here is from Volkswagen. Too bad they didn’t have a Trabant and a ’96 Range Rover at the event so we could put it all in true perspective. If you want to be more or less certain that your new car will still run fifteen years from now, you might not want to fall in love with any of the vehicles under discussion.

Still. Imagine you’ve set the time machine to 1994. Your local Ford dealer has the Tempo and the facelift Taurus for sale. After looking at both of them, you stop by the VW dealer to check out the Passat VR6. Just consider the difference there, in handling, dynamics, materials quality, sheer curb appeal, snob appeal. Now get out of the time machine and sit in both the Fusion and the Passat. Which one feels like the upscale, expensive, luxurious car? Which one has more desire attached to it?

Face it: Ford’s on the move, while VW sits still.

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171 Comments on “Intramural Interloper: Ford Fusion SE 1.6 EcoBoost...”


  • avatar
    cardood

    …and boom goes the dynamite.

  • avatar
    ash78

    “Face it: Ford’s on the move, while VW sits still.

    As a recovering VW fanboi of many years, I like to similarly say that the competition has finally caught up, and in many cases, surpassed everything that VW used to do very well. All of their competitive advantage is basically gone in the US.

    (Though I am proud to say my 15-year-old Passat came off the Emden line and is still my daily driver…but that’s got a lot do with how much less gadgetry cars had in 1998. And the high-torque, non-turbo, cast iron V6)

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      “I like to similarly say that the competition has finally caught up, and in many cases, surpassed everything that VW used to do very well.”

      I’m going to withhold judgment until I see second and first place in this competition. :P

      I’m still enjoying my GLI (purchased after reading Jack’s review). I probably should have at least test driven the Fusion, but I also know from what I’ve read and watched here that the buggy MyFordTouch system would drive me bonkers.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        IMO MFT is now better than thoroughly decent in it’s latest incarnation. “Buggy” isn’t a term that should be fairly applied today.

        • 0 avatar
          segfault

          I think Alex Dykes would beg to differ. Either that, or he has an irrational hatred of MFT. If you’ve watched his reviews, he blasts it for being slow and crashing frequently every time he reviews infotainment on pretty much any make of car.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “Though I am proud to say my 15-year-old Passat came off the Emden line”

      seems an odd thing to be “proud” of.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        The second part of the sentence was the pride, but maybe I should also be proud of all the US tax dollars that rebuilt the German infrastructure to make so many good cars possible today (worldwide).

        Hmm….

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Ford is on the move. They’ve migrated from best of the domestics on any quality list to being one of the worst on the market, a move that resonates with VW buyers.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I have serious reservations about that tiny Ford 1.6 turbo working so hard to move that big car around and how durable is gonna be. In a few yrs it may be dead while the VW power-plants just keep on going.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I feel the same. I’m not sold at all. Turbos for performance gain yes. Shrinking the motor and adding a turbo for mpg considerations, then requiring it to move a heavy vehicle, not so much.

      Hopefully it works out but I won’t be throwing my hat in the ring anytime soon.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It is interesting that the major Japanese automakers, who tend to make very solid and dependable cars, have completely ignored the turbo trend…

        • 0 avatar
          Pinzgauer

          Not completely. The 1.6 DI Turbo in the Juke is a great motor. Have almost 60k miles on mine, no issues so far to report. Overall reliability on these cars seems to be good so far. Jury’s still out on logevity though since they havent been around long enough to really know.

        • 0 avatar
          cpthaddock

          Not completely ignored. Honda has flirted with turbos for quite a few years, here in the first RDX and more significantly overseas in their diesels engines.

          • 0 avatar
            Volt 230

            Turbos in Japanese cars has been limited to certain special models and versions, not the widespread use that Ford has been experimenting with for a couple of years now, only time will tell if it’s gonna come back and bite them in the arse. Imagine if these Ford turbos start self-destructing after the warranty expires, their value will go down the drain

        • 0 avatar
          suspekt

          COMPLETELY agree….

          Here is my theory:
          The Honda/Toyota NA motors were engineered from the outset to realize 40mpg HWY. Honda has done magic in getting the Civic 1.8 to 40mpg HWY primarily via friction reduction measures throughout the drivetrain. Same goes for the Toyota and Honda V6 powerplants…. the current ED 3.5 V6 in the Honda Accord is not a clean-sheet design as far as I understand it. It doesnt even have DI or DOHC yet is the pinnacle to NA V6 smoothness, refinement, and grin-inducing “reviness”.

          Basically, the 3 major Japanese OEM’s have been able to amortize their existing NA powerplants over a longer period, over more units, and against clean sheet designs from Hyandai, Ford, GM, etc, etc.. that must be infuriating for said OEM’s.

          Going forward, we will see clean sheet redsigns from Honda/Toyota over the next series of FMC’s (the next Civic will likely go DOHC+DI+CVT… can you imagine???? The SOHC + 5 Speed auto already achieves 39-40mpg) and we will see them leapfrog the competition again.

          • 0 avatar

            This is the essence of Mazda’s Skyactiv tech. And it seems to work REALLY well.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            A thousand times this. It’s amazing to me just how awesome Toyota’s 2grfe (3.5 V6 in everything from camrys to Rav4s to Siennas) is, in that it is totally competitive with the Pentastar and GM’s Di 3.6, despite first being introduced in 2005, and runs good old port injection. In my parents’ 2009 RX350, it is a total gem. Bountiful power, totally smooth, and it gets them 25mpg on the highway with the A/C on full blast and going 75mph.

            Honda’s latest revision of their 3.5 is perhaps even more impressive, 34mpg on the highway in a car that will absolutely dominate a 2.0T fusion or Sonata Turbo. Nissan’s altima 3.5 with the CVT is yet another example of an older architecture still being very relevant, both power wise and in terms of efficiency.

            Honda’s R18 in the Civic keeps soldiering on, the latest friction reducing measures have allowed these maligned cars get fantastic fuel economy with their ‘antiquated’ powertrains. I’d put an R18 up against the focus 2.0DI engine or Chevy’s 1.4T any day of the week in terms of long term reliability.

            I’m a bit suspicious of mazda’s super high compression DI engines, a few years of subpar fuel from costco and we’ll see where they end up.

            I’m also fascinated to see how the different OEM DI fuel injection systems work out in the long run. GM seems to be doing just fine despite being an early adopter. Haven’t heard bad things about the Focus DI yet (they have enough issues with powershift, MFT, now wheel bearings and headliners). Honda has joined the fray now with the 2.4 earthdreams… we’ve all heard of VW’s woes with intake de-carbonization becoming a maintenance item.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Anyone who believes that the big Japanese manufacturers did not extensively study the cost/benefit analysis, from both a revenue & engineering (i.e. reliability & durability) perspective, of implementing turbocharged engines in their bread & butter vehicles, and that they did NOT see and quantify problems with going in that direction, and therefore did NOT purposefully choose to not incorporate turbochargers en masse, has a fundamental lack of understanding as to how methodical & thorough the Japanese are.

            Heat; thy sworn enemy of the ICE.

            With everything else the Japanese have to adjust to, there’s no way a Honda or Toyota is going to risk their very hard earned, priceless reputation for reliability, which is the one attribute they’ve been able to most fiercely cling to, on a component they clearly tested rigorously & clearly saw as problem arid based on their testing.

            Let’s revisit the durability/reliability issue in 4, 5 and 8 years, and cross-compare Fusions & Accords.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Not to mention Nissan’s VQ engines. I was quite fond of the VQ35DE in our 2005 Murano. It had plenty of passing-power, even with the CVT. The Murano recently got replaced with a Sonata Limited (non-turbo), so I’m having to get readjusted to the planned maneuvering that a naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder requires…

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            GM has had 2.0T for 7 years now including direct injection. Suffice to say this inferior, high technolgy hasn’t failed like most of you have thought. Europe has many more examples of turbo charging with allot more higher speeds.

            My Turbo Verano with 2.0T has the same 60-100 mph passing time as the new Accord V6 according to Car & Driver. I wouldn’t call that “dominate 2.0T” by any stretch. And us 2.0T pass up the gas pump more often than any V6 Accord. I never gotten a lowly V6 34 mpg highway but mostly see 36 mpg at 70 mpg with AC on.

          • 0 avatar
            Shawnski

            wow that is a stretch…Hmm lets see the Mod motors have been around since 1991, and the latest 5.0 Coyote is world class.
            The car business is a Business – and if anything, staid, doughty Toyota/Honda are the ones who are playing catch up. The last ten years we have seen the Japs dominate the family car HP wars primarily with V6s. The domestics/Koreans have cauaght up with their V6s, and are now offering much more drivalble IMO turbo cars that have more grunt down low. Dont agree, fine. One thing is cerain Toyota/Honda are not very imaginative nor innovative as of late and are resting on their reputation. Focus ST for me. Cheers.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Um you do realize that the Honda 3.5 has cylinder shutdown and a CVT with economy oriented highway tune to get that 34 highway number. It has little to do with the old tech engine which still uses a freaking timing belt.
            Nissan’s V6 is a nice motor but showing it’s age. Even with the economy tuned CVT it still only manages 26 highway in the Maxima and 31 in the lighter Altima.

            Honda Toyota and Nissan are saving money by carrying over there existing V6 engines and won’t introduce new design small turbo engines for another couple of years when there forced to.

            I’m sure in 2-3 years Detroit and S Korea will also have new and or improved engines/transmission that will meet or exceed the Cafe requirements.

        • 0 avatar
          DinosaurWine

          It’s OK, some Japanese automakers have switched to CVTs that will implode if the wrong transmission fluid is used. The whole fuel economy push is going to cause a few wrinkles in vehicle longevity and reliability.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The turbo trend is coming from Europe. Europe has punitive fuel, emissions, and displacement taxes, treadmill tests even further from reality than ours, and a market that doesn’t have any concept of trouble free cars. Which is why so many of their cars have been boosted for decades now.

          Honda and Toyota don’t have any presence in Europe to speak of (which is why Europeans believe VWs are reliable) and so had no existing investment in turbos to bring over here when our CAFE laws went crazy. Meanwhile Ford and GM were ready to go with global products they’d been building for years.

          Give it 5 years. They’re coming.

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        I have my doubts too. My turbo 4cyl Ford is shooting the blues on warm start-up and using a quart every 1500 miles. I suspect turbo seals, but could be valve seals too. You’d think a 30 year-old Thunderbird with 170k miles could do better. If their stuff from 30 years ago is that bad, why would I think they’ve learned anything in 30 years?

        • 0 avatar
          otaku

          An ’83 T-Bird Turbo Coupe (wipes up drool)…

          Now THAT was a serious gamechanger!

          Could you post a pic or something?

          The first car I ever owned was a sweet black 1986 T-Bird Turbo with the bordello red velour interior. I miss the hell out of that thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Hoser

            It’s thoroughly trashed. Not impressive in pics.I bought it for $120 at an abandoned/impound auction in 2005. I spray bombed a couple panels and put some wheels/tires on it and thought it might last a couple years, but here we are 8 years later.

            Needed a new cat/exhaust about 2 years ago due to a bad ECU. That’s the worst that’s gone wrong with it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why? In Europe it would not be uncommon to have a big heavy car with a NON-turbo 1.6. And they last just fine, while being driven MUCH harder than anyone in America ever does. The turbo just lets a 1.6 act more-or-less like a 2.Xl motor when it needs to. Only takes 20 or so hp to mosey down the highway at 65mph anyway.

      Modern materials science is a wonderful thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        but as you well know, most wear takes place when you accelerate and folks just don’t let the engine run to allow the oil to flow freely at start-up when most of the wear occurs, ANY engine can keep a car going at highway speeds, specially with 6 speed transmissions and better tires plus improved aerodynamics, it’s getting the thing moving where the issues are.

        • 0 avatar
          Volt 230

          Case in point, the much maligned Corolla with its 1.8 engine and archaic 4 speed gets mileage close to the best in the industry w/o resorting to turbo, GDI, CVT stop/start, cylinder deactivation or anything like that.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            True but the class leading Mazda 2.0 in the new 3 also goes without CVT’s (unlike the new Corolla actually), turbos and stop/start technology. So your point?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Actually Mike, what’s YOUR point? Other than your inability to tolerate any compliment given to a Toyota that should obviously have been steered towards a Mazda.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Well the Corolla is a cheaply made tin can on wheels so light weight obviously plays a big role here. The fact that the Corolla can hit mid to high 30’s on the open road is hardly a big deal to me. I quite frequently see 32-33 with the larger, heavier 2006-2011 style 3500 V6 Impala also with a old tech 4 speed automatic and a push rod engine for that matter.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Why is the small engine more of a problem for the US than Europe? Because Europe doesn’t have the same heat and work conditions. As I write the current local ambient temperature is 98F/37C, hotter on pavement, and cars are being driven in stop-and-go rush hour traffic conditions. On top of this, drivers are venting work/life balance frustration through the accelerator pedal, further heating and abusing the engine and automatic transmission. The American car must take this abuse plus some neglect and still get you to work on time about 245 days a year for about 10 years. If your car fails to get you to work on time, you have a very real possibility of losing your job.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Right…not to mention the severe climate ranges across the U.S., and the fact that a car must be able to tolerate them all. This is why a lot of turbocharged cars are actually detuned for stateside sales…

  • avatar
    mattfarah

    Jack, you try a fusion with the manual yet? I know about 8 people are going to buy it that way, but I had the same car you tested but with a stick and it was seriously fun in the canyons. Had no problem keeping up with cars outside of its power class. Excellent chassis, great feel, and the stick helps keep the revs way up top where it needs to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Capsaicin

      I too am curious about the SE 1.6 Ecoboost and “3 pedal” combination. I’d love to see how it fares against the same competition. Also, is the Fusion hitting its EPA estimates or are we going to have another C-Max issue?

      • 0 avatar
        OM617

        Got one a few weeks back, and I’m still smitten with it. The auto with the 1.6 is a bit wheezy, while the manual plays well with the engine. The torquey motor means you don’t have to rev to high rpms. The fact that the 1.6+manual makes for the lightest (and most balanced) Fusion certainly helps both in acceleration and handling

        The clutch/shift feel compares well to the BMW 316d touring (it was brown FTW) I drove as a rental in Europe earlier this summer.

        I’m averaging 7.6L/100km (about 30mpg…mixed highway/city, not using a light foot). That should improve a bit as the engine is run in.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Consumer Reports tested that and found the 1.6 Ecoboost got essentially worst in class mileage and performance, but that may have been the auto:

        “Consumer Reports calls out Ford mileage claims
        EcoBoost targeted with puns, test data”
        http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130205/carnews/130209889#ixzz2e7PgiMl8

        If you look, I believe Autoweek and Autoblog testing supports CR. Ditto for the 2.0.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Ecoboost owners say rubbish to CR, AB, and non- domestic car owners who read and sight such poppy-cock!

          http://www.fordfusionforum.com/topic/9382-16l-ecoboost-fuel-economy/page-8?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Did you look at your own link Norm? People are getting high-20s low-30s in the 1.6. A few isolated cases of people getting the rated 36, going 62mph on the highway.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The 1.6l is getting 33-34 mpg at 73 mph 80% highway with AC on or at 2,000-4,000 feet elevation. Most are at the 5,000 mile mark based on the entries from July. They must have assembled the engine with very tight clearences it is taking that to get broken in.

            My Turbo Verano bought used has almost 10,000 miles and see 39 mpg on four trips to work 120 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Normy, what is it about “truth” that offends you so viscerally? No one believes your distorts about your unfortunate purchases.

            Those forumists could be anyone. Paid or not. If they actually bought Fusions, they didn’t do their homework. Trust the reviewers, not the shills.

            CR is the most trusted independent evaluator of consumer products for a reason.

            And the fact that other professional reviewers agree means something.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            GM 2.9T owners see 33-36 mpg.

            http://buickforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29646

            Thorny, not sure why the person attacks on owners of said cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been waiting for someone to come in and order one from my dealership. I’d probably have to place a second order after the test drive. Too bad we don’t offer manual with the 2.0 turbo, now that would be a sport-sedan (since no one actually buys the SHO)

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        I’ve never driven one, but the SHO seems too big and porky. I think it’s kind of the spiritual successor to the Mercury Marauder. Given that they’re unpopular, I’m also betting that they’re a much better deal used than they are new.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m not a luddite that hates swooping greenhouses and thick pillars, but I can hardly even maneuver the current Taurus out of a parking spot without the aid of cameras and sensors. For me, that’s a deal-breaker…

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          I have driven an SHO recently, and it’s the first car I’ve ever driven where I said to myself “I will never be able to challenge this car’s capabilities.” The 3.5 twin turbo combined with the AWD and 20 inch wheels just CLAWS at the pavement. Seriously fast, like a raped ape. Handled very well, ginormous trunk. However, it felt less roomy inside than my ’08 MKZ and was much harder to see out of. Both my wife and I are tall, and the bored salesmen who went with us had to splay his legs to the side in the back seat. A very compromised platform that Ford needs to get rid of ASAP.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      Hey Matt… when you are you placing an order for the C7??… you seem like you are very very happy based on your review… I really thought I would be buying a 2009’ish C6 Z06 in the next year or two but now I am not sure it is better then a bone stock (+Z51) C7….

      Also, did you see the C7.R in the flesh? It looks absolutely out of this world in the pics and I am praying the next Z07 gets some of that widebody madness….

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Wonderful piece Jack! One of your best this year.

    What you got wrong is that the bravest and most skilled pilots in the Luftwaffe were not piloting the ME262 but the ME163 “Komets”.

    It takes a special courage to ride a plane full of pyrotechnics that flies faster and higher than anyone else, but that joy only lasts a few minutes. After which you have to glide back literally powerless while a pack of angry P51s chase you with all guns firing, because you previously have downed some Liberators.

    Those guys are the ones working at a VW plant now.

    • 0 avatar
      Capsaicin

      Sans landing gear too!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I thought the T-Stoff accidents accounted for pretty much all of those guys…

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      While many Komets were done in by their fuel, they were also sitting ducks for American fighters during landing. While under power, they were virtually untouchable, but once they climbed to and fired on the bomber formation, they would run out of fuel and have to glide in to land, and the Mustangs would typically loiter over their aerodromes to catch them in this vulnerable state (the Me 262’s also typically were taking off and landing under a hail of gunfire as American fighters learned to park themselves at the jet airbases and wait). You have to respect the way those German engineers approached things – they look at a perfectly good glider and the question that comes to mind is what would happen if they put a rocket engine on it, and then they go ahead and do it to find out.

      As a side note Jack, the interceptor variant of the Me 262’s that brought it such infamy among Allied pilots was named “Schwalbe” which means “swallow.” the “sturmvogel” (or storm bird) model was the generally failed attempt to convert the plane into a bomber by Hitler.

      I also find it ironic that of all the German aircraft you could have picked from WW2, you picked the one that was renown for its unreliable and short lived engines (most sources seem indicate an engine life of around 10-25 hours)…makes any modern VW seem like a Honda :-D

  • avatar
    segfault

    “The same bumps that rattled the windows almost out of the CC’s frames…”

    The CC being a VW, that rattle is probably the first sign of imminent window regulator failure.

    Ford’s turbo fours are conveniently offered in both larger and smaller sizes than the VW 1.8T… I wonder how the Fusion with the 2.0 would compare to the Passat 1.8T, and just for the heck of it, to the Passat VR6.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Jack and staff should do a 2.0T comparison. I know the Turbo Verano will win the most quiet award as Edmunds says it beats LS 460 and Equis in db’s. MotorTrend found similarly when the Tubo Verano beat the Acura in recent comparison.

      http://buickforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=146378#post146378

  • avatar
    afflo

    Next week: VW is full of meanies who won’t return messages or let us test drive their cars anymore!

  • avatar
    walker42

    Well done Jack. I was a bit miffed at the puffy piece on the Passat but you have completely redeemed yourself with this comparison against the Fusion. A car that doesn’t do anything wrong like the Passat will always lose to a car that does the most important things right, even if it has a few flaws. The fact that VW did not know this about American sedan buyers is what is mind boggling. VW brand sales are down 2% year-to-date, in an industry that’s up 10.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Weird, because that’s the polar opposite about what older VWs were all about (90s and 2000s) — doing almost everything better than the competition, but still having some weirdness and annoyances that could be overlooked by most enthusiast buyers.

      I’ve long been against their march towards blandness here. They no longer have much identity.

  • avatar
    wombo

    Nice neuromancer reference in the entertainment IP.
    Am happy yet confused to see the words Ford and top quality used in a review.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Am I the only person put off by the thoroughly modern gauge cluster mounted right above the thoroughly ancient P R N D S indicator for the automatic transmission? I half expect to see a little orange bar that moves left to right over the letters are you shift from P to S. Star Trek up top… Crown Vic at the bottom.

    Jack – I’d like to look at the sticker, but it is a *hair* out of focus. :P

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      You’ll know it’s a Ford when said little orange bar comes out of alignment and the valet revs it in neutral because the indicator reads “D”.

      I love the customizable display idea, but why not make the middle one a display as well? Give it an interface where new “skins” could be loaded by the user.

      Spirit of St. Louis vintage aeronautical gauges? Big Ben’s clock faces? Soothing iDevice Helvetica? 70’s ribbon speedometer? Art Deco letters? no problem!

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Am I the only person put off by the thoroughly modern gauge cluster mounted right above the thoroughly ancient P R N D S indicator…”

      Nope. That could’ve and should’ve been done better.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      It’s there to make us folks trading in Taurus and Crown Vic’s feel at home.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      You are not. I saw that and thought “Where’s the damn tach?”

  • avatar
    Cymen

    My problem is I would be comparing the Passat TDI which only comes in SE+ trim with a 6 speed manual to the Fusion SE with 6 speed manual. The Ford MSRP is a couple thousand less but the MPG on the Ford while good (25/37) is soundly beat by the TDI. I actually like the styling of both cars. After this review, I’m going to need to test drive them back to back to compare the interior noise levels (and to see if by any chance the Ford has a mushy suspension). The Fusion is on the expensive end of what I would expect… Now if the base model came with a manual transmission option the choice might be easier.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Going back to 1995, my friend purchased a beautiful, loaded, dark green Passat that had been a dealer-demonstrator.

    It was gone within a year, as it had numerous, annoying problems that the dealer couldn’t be bothered to fix.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Baruth,

    You’ve done it now. As we speak, the head of VW Vortex is issuing a fatwa calling for your head…placed in the trunk of said Fusion.

    If I we’re you I’d watch my back ’cause those boys at Vortex can be quite barbaric.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      That fatwa was issued in 2008, when they banned me.

      As long as I don’t wander into any suburban basements or model-train-collector conventions, I should be fine.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Thank you Jack for being among the very few auto journalists to have figured out that while the cost difference between premium brands and more humble transportation has not really shrunk, the quality gap has all but disappeared in many cases.

    When I upgraded my Taurus to a BMW 323is back in the late 90s, the difference was out of this world and worth any of the hassles I had with the car. Fast forward to today and compare a 528 to a nicely equipped 300S or even Impala and you have to wonder if the big price premium is really worth any difference in the daily driving experience.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’m really not sure why people are so upset about Mexican-built Fusions. Ford has used this particular plant for numerous vehicles over the last five decades, none of which seemed to have any inherent manufacturing defects. Aside from ultra-pedigree cars like Rolls-Royce or Ferrari, it really shouldn’t be of concern where a car is built. I’m sure these Hermosillo Fusions will be no worse than the Flat Rock ones.

    And keep in mind that the global supply of certain expensive European vehicles are built in places not necessarily known for world-class allure…like, for example, Alabama…

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      I’ve noticed it’s something of a meme among VW owners that only .mx built VWs have problems. Maybe Jack was referring back to that.

      • 0 avatar
        Cymen

        I’m a VW owner but my longest held one is my current 1999 MKIV Jetta GLS which was the first year for the MKIV/4th generation to be build and it was made in Mexico. It’s been solid build-wise (brought at 55k miles, now at 155k). The only faults are design issues. Nothing wrong with the assembly.

        I agree that meme exists though but my direct experience counters it.

    • 0 avatar
      Flybrian

      Mexican GM and Ford plants, IMO, have absolutely nothing to excuse for in terms of quality and I put their fit and finish up to domestic and even some foreign-assembled Japanese and European vehicles.

      Also, how come VW still can’t get a headliner right is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Getting things right consistently takes practice and I wouldn’t buy a Flat Rock-produced Fusion for at least six months, preferably a year. For now, a Hermosillo produced Fusion is the smarter choice if assembly quality is one’s concern.

      We also shouldn’t assume that Flat Rock assembly quality will someday surpass Hermosillo’s. Hermosillo may always be the smarter choice. Only time will sort that one out.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I agree with nearly everything you said, but five decades is a bit of a stretch. Hermosillo opened in 1986 — interestingly, around the same time as the assembly line at Flat Rock.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    2015 Chrysler 200’s are pilot assembly! Whatever Ford can do, Mopar will eventually do better. I wonder about turbos too, I think Chrysler’s use of more advanced ZF transmissions is a better play. I also wonder about all these CVT transmissions that JapanInc is using.

    Congratulations to Ford for building truly great cars in the Fusion, Focus and Edge. Taurus, Explorer and Lincoln not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      An insider on another site said he has seen the car at the dealer preview. He called it “stunning,” but also said that it is not a mini-300. I’m very curious to see the car. When does it officially debut?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        If this is it, I totally agree…

        http://www.driving.ca/cms/binary/8449515.jpg

        Better pic…

        http://media.caranddriver.com/images/media/252458/chrysler-200c-ev-concept-photo-252480-s-1280×782.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          After looking at the pictures, I wish the roofline was a little more 300-formal and less Stratus/200 domelike. Also, the fuel filler is very nearly horizontal and any spilled gas is going to run over the taillight, if not into the trunk.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I doubt it’s the final cut, it’s a year out

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            Here’s what it will really look like
            http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2013/09/first-200s-being-built

            This will be the first car Marchionne has introduced with the optimum drivetrain at introduction something the 300, Charger, Dart didn’t have. Hopefully these drivetrains will leapfrog the industry without turbos or CVT’s.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I was afraid of that, when searching for possibilities this was the other design I saw a lot of, meh

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          Ramacotti supposed to be the genius. We will see if he can create some wonderful new styling language. I think Team Gilles has done great job channeling old designs like 60’s Engles Lincolns and Chryslers into the 300. To me,the latest Charger, Challenger, Grand Cherokee, Durango and 300 are among the most beautiful cars ever made.

          The new 200 (I hope they it call something else) will be a cornerstone for the future of Chrysler. It will be the first new product launched under Marchionne that will have the optimal drivetrain at introduction. The 300, Charger, Grand Cherokee, Durango and Dart have all been crippled by having to wait for more modern transmissions.

          This is proabably close to how the new 200 looks. The old 200e showcar was rear wheel drive this front wheel drive. The Dart was the trail run for building this car. The Dart really isn’t compact but a short midsize that competes with compacts. When the 9 speed comes the Dart will have superior gas mileage even though it’s so big and heavy. The 200 will be a bigger Dart with 9 speeds and a next generation 3.2L Pentastar available from introduction.

          http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2013/09/first-200s-being-bui

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            It looks like Chrysler’s take on the Fusion. Not bad looking, but not particularly earth-shattering, either.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      “Whatever Ford can do, Mopar will eventually do better”

      Well, Ford stayed in business. Mopar didn’t. Twice.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        False. Mopar, or more accurately Chrysler, never went out of business.

        • 0 avatar
          LBJs Love Child

          “Chrysler, never went out of business.”

          If by that you mean “shuttered it’s doors,” you are absolutely correct. But without government intervention, it would have. Twice.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Cressida implied they stopped conducting business, twice. I corrected him because Chrysler never stopped building or selling cars. That’s it and that’s all.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        The government had to send the “Whiz Kids” into Ford at the end of WW2 to save it. Ford also took TARP money. Ford was in trouble before GM and Chrysler while Wall Street was still lending money and put the whole company in hock. The we know the government had to bailout Wall street. I think the government owed the Chrysler community for letting the “merger of equals” go through which just turned into a scam by Daimler’s Schrempt to steal Chrysler’s assets.

        I think Fords reliance on turbos will bite them in the ass around the time Mulally retires. Someday almost all ICE engines will be turbo but it’s better to let someone else go first. I bet Chrysler’s use of 8 and 9 speed transmissions is smarter.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “I think the government owed the Chrysler community for letting the “merger of equals” go through which just turned into a scam by Daimler’s Schrempt to steal Chrysler’s assets.”

          Now that’s just a silly notion. The CEO of Chrysler at the time willingly entered into that merger. The Government had no obligation or even a precedent to intervene.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            That CEO has been in hiding ever since and Schrempf was drummed out of Daimler. The government should have never approved this deal and is was one reason the South Korean government kicked Daimlers offer to do the same thing to Hyundai to the curb and did a government bailout on Hyundai and Kia instead. Screwing over one of the crown jewels of American manufacturing isn’t some board game.

            Counterpoint is how good a job Team Marchionne has done compared to Mercedes or GE hotshot Art Nardelli

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          After WWII, Tex Thornton shopped their services around to various companies, and Ford was the first to bite. The government didn’t “send” them anywhere; they were no longer government employees.

          Spin it however you wish, but Chrysler was a victim of nothing but its own incompetence. Just like Ford and GM.

          • 0 avatar
            shelvis

            Chrysler was a victim of being the most profitable car company in the world in 1999 making it a target for Daimler. What was left in 2008 was being squeezed by the banks and maneuvered to having its bones picked by the bankruptcy vultures.

            The problem in 2008 wasn’t incompetence. The industry runs on cycles of good and bad product. the problem was that the credit dried up.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        Ford got lucky by hocking their assets early. When GM and Chrysler came looking for their financing, the banks mysteriously stopped loaning. Oddly, they still have the same liabilities and issues that the others had pre bankruptcy yet are considered a success. Hmmmmm………..
        If you think Ford was and is somehow magically ran any better than the other 2, you’re seriously deluded by partisan propaganda and Dearborn marketing.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          Then there’s this about Ford and Mulally.

          “Ford was granted a low-interest $6 billion loan which may have helped it to avoid government-assisted bankruptcy.”

          http://lpo.energy.gov/projects/ford-motor-company/

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            There were other companies eligible for those loans. They were not only given to financially distressed companies. There is no proof that Ford would have gone bankrupt without receiving those loans.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The fact that Ford arranged financing earlier than GM or Chrysler IS proof that it was better run than those companies.

          Ford management sat down and determined how much money it would need to completely restructure the company. Management also figured that there would be a recession during that restructuring. It therefore arranged for financing to tide it over any tough times. That is good, solid forecasting, which is an essential part of any business, and neither GM or Chrysler performed this exercise.

          Incidentally, in the wake of Ford taking out its huge loan, financial institutions approached GM and suggested that it do something similar, given its need to restructure. Rick Wagoner turned them down, saying that GM’s new vehicles would carry it through any tough times. Oops…

          That is poor management, plain and simple, particularly given that the United States economy was due for recession, based on past trends, by 2005-06.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Chrysler was busy being passed around during this time period, I would imagine the execs had little say in preparing to take on loans, especially under Cerberus ownership (Wow I can’t believe I’m defending Chrysler).

            GM… well that’s par for the course.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    On that first picture of the rear bumper, am I the only one that sees how awful the orange peel is on that factory paint job from Ford?

    It looks like something from Maaco or Earl Scheib.

  • avatar

    If I were you Jack, I’d find a Deux Chevaux to hide in from those VW people.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In the Passat’s defense it has better visibility, a larger fuel tank, an airier cabin, better trunk opening, and offers a diesel.

    It also isn’t as flashy (inside or outside) as the Ford, which for some people will be a virtue.

    I’m honestly a big fan of the US Passat. If it just wore a tri-shield badge and had a pushrod V6 under the hood I’d be in love with it.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    VW, arrogantly I think, is decontenting cars and trying to charge a premium over other mass market vehicles becuase there are plenty of American who will pay it just to have a Euro/German branded car. I have driven a few VW’s that I was generally impressed with. I was in love with the last gen V8 Toureg and last gen GLI/GTI. I think VW is moving in the wrong direction in its North American offerings in terms of styling, quality and value. At least they are finally ditching the 2.5 (arent they? God I hope so).

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Yes, the 2.5 is slowly going away this year. The 1.8TSI will be in all 2014 Jettas (except for the GLI, Hybrid and TDI) and it’s starting out in the Passat SEL and will filter down to the lower Passat trims in 2014. The 2014 Golf and Sportwagen will continue on with the 2.5 but the 2015 models will have the 1.8TSI.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Keep the 2.5 and send the 2.slow to some place that builds generators or those air compressors that come on a trailer frame.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        If VW has enough leftover engines, Generac will buy them for use in their generator systems. Being that the mean time before a Generac failure is about 100 hours, the engine will do just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      But that strategy, of “German Engineering” and “Fahrvergnugen” didn’t work for VW in America after decades of trying. Making a car unique to American tastes (or their perception of such) with refuced price has resulted in a doubling of sales for the brand. The current slowdown of growth is a direct sign of where VW is weakest: the CUV and SUV segment. The Tiguan is too small and too expensive compared to the direct competitors CR-V and RAV4, and the Touareg, as impressive as it is, is thousands more than a comparably equipped RDX, Pilot, Explorer, or Grand Cherokee.

      • 0 avatar
        walker42

        I don’t think you can blame the lack of a crossover for VW’s poor performance this year. The companies that are doing best in the latest sales reports — Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are doing so because of stand-out performances in mid-sedan, not in crossovers. VW can’t get it right even with TWO entires in mid-sedan, which of course is part of the problem.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          In 2010, Jetta sold 97K units, and the Passat 12K. They are on track to sell 165K Jettas and 115K Passats this year. The two American-market-specific cars are this selling at about 280K units, compared to 109K in 2010.

          Of course Volkswagen (both the cars and the company) is still a total disaster and no one will ever convince you otherwise. You really should start a Volkswagen Deathwatch.

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          VW’s US Sales data, from their own press releases:

          2009: 214,454
          2010: 256,830
          2011: 324,402
          2012: 438,133

          They have indeed doubled their sales since the introduction of cheaper, blander vehicles. Compare Tiguan versus CR-V annual sales and you can see how much of a market there is to go after if they had a cost and space competitive contender. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Tiguan a lot but I see constant reports (even here on TTAC) that the dealers are begging VW for an American market CUV that will no doubt follow the Jetta/Passat mold of being bigger, more boring, and cheaper. Will it allow them to continue the pace they are on? Probably not another doubling in four years like from 2009 to 2012, but it certainly will help as their healthy growth has now stalled in a rapidly expanding market. We’ve discussed before how the problem is less about how lousy VW’s cars are (Jack’s opinions here are actually quite favorable of both the Passat and Jetta), but rather how good the competition has become. Honda stumbled with their Accord and Civic, but have come roaring back with new refreshes. Ford did the same with the Focus and the Fusion redesigns. And Hyundai. And Kia. And Chevy. Amd on and on. It’s a brutal market out there. VW has very deep pockets and they aren’t going to let their multi-billion Euro investments go to waste. I suspect we will see VW come back swinging, and it will be with a CUV left hook, followed by a seven passenger SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            walker42

            I agree VW will come roaring back and this time with a completely different product strategy. They always have.

            Some companies just work better in crisis mode.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I’m not an automotive industry expert, but part of these increases track the overall improvement in the U.S. Economy :-)

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          RAV4, CRV, Equinox, Escape, Forrester played huge roles in last month’s sales stats

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    “I was in love with the last gen V8 Toureg” with you there. That was an all-premium vehicle which tempted us mightily.

    We initially checked out a used one for general perspective and on that strength looked at the both the new Audi Q7 and Toureg – neither of which quite seemed to measure up.

    The value of the Audi was not at all apparent and its weight gain took all the fun out. Something about the refreshed Toureg was just plain disappointing by comparison to the original, despite the weight loss.

  • avatar
    Acd

    The lack of response from the 1.6 was a deal killer for me based on the 2014 I rented last week. The lag was so bad I thought I was in a turbocharged car from the 1980’s. Stomping on the gas leaving a traffic light seems to confuse it and you end up just sitting there for a second before anything resembling acceleration happens. It made pulling into traffic challenging.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “It made pulling into traffic challenging.”

      as someone whose first car had all of maybe 80 hp, I find your statement amusing, to say the least.

      How spoiled we’ve become.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Throttle response and power can be two different things!

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yes, but you knew what those 80 horses would do and when, having experienced a turbo-4 in the 80s, I have yet to own another 4cyl or turbo… it was that bad

        Which makes me also skeptical of the of the eco-boost, so when I read comments like Acd’s it makes me not want a Ford in my future

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Poor VW. They looked at the fact that Americans were buying decontented Camrys and Corollas in droves and decided to do the same with the Passat and Jetta. Then Ford came along and showed that in the current market folks WILL pay for non-decontented cars. They just can’t seem to get in-sync. Of course, the Ford is also a MUCH newer design than the current Passat too.

    Though to be fair, going back to Jack’s comparison of the ’94 Tempo to the ’94 Passat, the real comparison would have been a ’94 Passat to a ’94 Mondeo, or it’s slightly watered down American cousin, the Contour. The Tempo was typical American compact crap on a stick, the Mondeo/Contour was not, even if it was too small for the price for buy-it-by-the-pound Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Based on the experiences of people I knew who owned 1990s VWs, let’s just say the Tempo was more likely to be running a decade later. Was the Tempo crude and unrefined compared to the VW? Absolutely. But it was also cheap to fix and fairly reliable by the late 1980s. The 1990s VWs have virtually all disappeared around here, but you do see Tempos from the 1990s used as daily drivers.

      The problem with the Contour was that it was much more expensive than a Tempo, and had serious reliability problems of its own. People used to buying Tempos with hefty rebates and other incentives were in for a shock when they priced a Contour. The latter’s very cramped back seat didn’t help matters, either.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Somehow there are still Mk II Jettas and a few Corrados here in the brine-tastic Northeast. Though the Mexican-built ones don’t seem to hold up worth a damn.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          Interesting, because I live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the VWs from that era are virtually all gone from around here.

          The Tempos are either beaters with different color body panels, or “granny” cars that only get driven to the grocery store and church.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I live in mid-eastern PA, and I can tell you that I’ve seen more Mk II Jettas than Tempos, and the only Tempos I do see are rotted to oblivion.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        More acutely, the problem with the Contour was that it was more expensive than the *Taurus* being sold next to it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          As well it should have been, considering what a turd the Taurus was by then. The original version of Impala vs. Cruze, no?

          Ford got the first Taurus soo very right, then it was all downhill from there. Fairmont –> Taurus. Imagine that jump today! We’d have to go from modern cars to spaceships.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            The jump from the Granada and Maverick (which were based on the old Falcon platform) to the Fairmont was huge, too.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The Tempo was typical American compact crap on a stick, the Mondeo/Contour was not, even if it was too small for the price for buy-it-by-the-pound Americans.”

      You’re right, the Contour was slightly Americanized Euro crap on a stick.

      • 0 avatar
        LBJs Love Child

        “…the Contour was slightly Americanized Euro crap on a stick.”

        …says the man who obviously has never been around one. Why, it was so bad, Car and Driver put it on its “Ten Best” list for two models; the SE and then the SVT.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I’ve been around too many to count, that’s why I feel the way I do. Problematic, needlessly difficult to service, and did I say problematic?

          When it comes to cheap transportation, I’d recommend a Tempaz over a Constique any day.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          The Renault Alliance also made their list. I’m sure there have been others they’d like to retroactively delete. Only Motor Trend has more embarrassments among their Cars of the Year.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        But the Contour didn’t become crap until it was Americanized. European Mondeos’ dashboards probably didn’t curl up like elf shoes, or warp their fuel tanks, or have audio systems spec’ed out by Mattel. That was Ford pulling out cost for the US market.

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          We purchased a new Mystique in 1995. Shockingly for a first year new model, it was flawless. It was so good that we traded it in 150,000 miles later for a new ’98 model. A mistake, as the ’98 proved to be the aforementioned crap-on-a-stick.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    If Ford offered a Fusion wagon, preferably in Kodiak brown, it would most likely be my next car.

    You listening Ford?

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      +1, but in sky blue; I wouldn’t had picked this color when it was new (my late Dad bought it new for my late Mom); but it has grown on me.

      Hoping the Blue Goose holds up as a DD till they do.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So please educate me. Has TTAC reviewed the Fusion 2.0 Ecobost? You know the hairy chested 240hp turbo Fusion? That’s the one I want to find out about. That is the car that should stop Ford from selling many MKZs since a pimpled out Fusion is $40,000 (Titanium with everything) and a 2.0 Ecobost MKZ starts at $36,000 with NO OPTIONS (try finding one of those on the lot…) and a MKZ with 3.7V6 is kissing $40,000.

    That’s an intramural shootout I’d love to see.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I was curious myself to compare and I could not find a review for the Fusion 2.0 Eco

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      A 2.0 Fusion ST 6-speed would be nice… VERY nice. I’ve been eyeing the Focus ST and fully intend to go test drive one today. I love the Juke but it’s just too small, so I know we won’t keep it but for a couple more years. Once the youngest hits 16y9mo we’ll be playing Musical Cars at my house.

      I’ve been lusting for a hatchback for a long time though.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      They did. See

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/review-2013-ford-fusion/

      Based on reviews, imagine the same car with 20% more power, higher price and lower mpg.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Haven’t driven the VWs, but have driven the Fusion. Nice rental car, but I wouldn’t consider buying one. LCD dash is gimmicky, as is the entertainment system. Drives just fine, but not exactly exciting.

    Also, as in their other cars and SUVs, Ford apparently doesn’t think anyone could be taller than 6 feet, and that comfortable dead pedals are for losers.

    Would take the styling over a VW any day though. The Passat for the US should probably have been given its own name: VW Generic or something like that. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “Let me slip on my dusty old VW Fanboy Knit Cap and point out that FORD MAKES THE FUSION SOUTH OF THE BORDER IN A CONVERTED HENHOUSE WHILE THE CC IS ASSEMBLED BY FORMER ME262 STURMVOGEL PILOTS IN EMDEN TO STANDARDS OF CARE AND MATERIAL THAT FORD’S “EL POLLO LOCO” FACTORY WILL NEVER ACHIEVE.”

    Thanks for the morning LULZ. But I bet you the “POLLO LOCO” guys would give the Emden guys a run for their money… while working sometimes with their nails.

    You VW cap bring the LULZ, don’t take it off. I hope in your next installment you refer to that RS265 while talking about the GETEEAI.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    At least it’s not a converted whore house!

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    I bought a 2013 Fusion SE 1.6 with the stick earlier this summer. To date, this is my favorite driver’s car I’ve owned or driven (taking into account the various Galvin family rides of the past 20 yrs which include a healthy smattering of American muscle and trucks, Ze Germans, the one shot Belgium hatch, a horrid French import, Camcords, a friggin Mitsubishi Cordia, the dirty Swedish Milf Daughter combo, and some healthy Panther love including faux woodie wagons.)

    I’ve placed close to 3500 miles on it already. My commute between various work sites includes a 45 mile blast down the interstate and a 50 mile leg through the back hills of western New England. This is the car for all seasons. Jack was right on the money with the descriptions of ride quality and interior quality.

    The stick transforms the Fusion. The torque is right at the sweet spot for up and downshifting on the backroads. It has plenty of power to overtake on the highway. I returned from vacation yesterday with the wife, kids, and a trunk packed to the gills. Passing with the AC on was not an issue, there was plenty in reserve at 75 MPH. If I drive without a care in the world, it averages 33-34 MPG. Mild hypermiling brings it to 39 MPG for a typical work day commute.

    My SE came lightly optioned. Cloth seating, no moonroof or heated seats, and the middle of the road MyTouch with Sync. I’m neutral on it, it works my 1st gen Iphone (now more an Ipod)just fine, and is okay with the android pandora. I’m 6′ and about 250 and its extremely comfortable for long rides. With respect to the dead pedal, I think its more of a subjective point, it works fine for me.

    Ford has put a real damper on the availability of the manual. There were only 3 in a 75 mile radius from my home. Apparently Ford requires the manuals to be special ordered so the dealers have less of an incentive to keep them on the lot.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Just about what I expected given other reviews of the Fusion and Passat. Worse drivetrain, worse visibility, better everything else.

    After having driven the Escape 1.6, I can’t for the life of me figure out why Ford bothered going the mini-turbo route. The engine doesn’t have much character, the low-end power feels only marginally stronger than most 2.5-fours, and a lot of people are mad about real-world mileage.

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    Sorry, I don’t care if they have 15 turbos, give me a nice, naturally aspirated V6 with sass. I’ll gladly take a bit of a mileage hit.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    The Fusion would certainly be on the short list of midsize cars I’d consider buying, though I’m not sold on the Ecoboost engines, and I’m not sure how reliable the Fusion will be. It wouldn’t have been a question in the mid-late 2000s when Ford was doing really well in that area, but it seems to be slipping; hopefully it’ll improve soon.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The instrument cluster above is incredibly cheap/cheezy looking. It’s hard to believe that belongs in modern automobile.


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