By on July 2, 2013

Aside from the fame, fortune and talent, my design school stylings were criticized much like the early works of one Mister Lenny Kravitz.  I felt, as idiotic as it seems now, both of us were pigeonholed for our unabashed use of “influence” in our art. Kravitz overcame. I left the College for Creative Studies to pursue a less interesting career.  A career that makes me travel. With rental cars.

How fitting that I’d be blessed (cursed?) with The Son of Aston: the Ford Fusion Hybrid for 8 days and 800 miles. 



This was my constant companion from Oklahoma City to Kansas City.  The Texas plate made me feel more at home while avoiding a horrible storm that pummeled the city of Moore, but that beautifully disgusting Aston Martin grille was a constant reminder that I couldn’t be a car designer while THIS actually made production.

So beautiful, yet so offensive.  Somewhere between Tulsa and the Kansas border, I decided that there’s simply no fv*king way this facade would get an “A” in a design school’s studio review.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure.



There are some vehicles that look overstyled when you mirror the elements from left to right.  The Fusion isn’t busy, it’s downright perfect.  Every crease and muscular fold compliments the other.  The powerdome hood is too cool for any family sedan, the bumper cover is creased to perfectly compliment the grille, and the headlights sweep far back to give an aggressive appearance. And the lower valence’s speed holes add race car style without looking like an afterthought. (cough, Camry SE)

The Fusion looks expensive and assertive.  There’s so much attention to detail presented here!  Question is, how much of that detail was already hashed out by Aston Martin?  And can we approve of this?



Dare I say it, the headlights look BETTER than the pods presented on the Aston Martin from whence this schnoz came from.  From this angle, the Fusion looks like a low slung sports car, not a boxy sedan sitting as tall as a CUV.



Light absolutely dances on the Fusion’s bumper.  The subtle bends turn the sunlight into logical extensions of line that doesn’t technically exist…but they somehow do.  The line I’m pointing to blends nicely into the powerdome hood only inches behind. The details never cease to amaze on Ford’s Fusion.



Even the beveled silver border with recessed blue oval looks far more expensive than any other corporate logo at this price point. Damn.




Many of those logical lines in the front bumper sweep back into this power dome hood. And the plateau is far from a simple square or trapezoid in cross-section: as you can tell from the different grade of shadowing, the Fusion’s dome has (some of) the flair of a late-model 7-series BMW.



The fluted grille reminds me of my first car, a 1965 Ford Galaxie. Perhaps it’s a hat-tip to the Norelco chrome grille of the first Fusion. The detailing is absolutely stunning: this is Cadillac worthy.


Surprisingly, the lower valence’s grille is just as precisely designed…just without the chrome plating.  Even the teeth’s bends and the frame’s shape compliments the main grille.


Of course they match for a reason. Ford even added a little crease in the bumper to make sure you noticed how both grilles “talk” to each other. Nice.

(Disregard the bug splatter, I wasn’t gonna wash a rental car just to make YOU happy!)


The lower valence has a sporty “body kit” feel to it, without being tacked on like many modern Toyota products.  Ford has something to prove in this market, and prove it they do. Even the scalloped area near the lower grille looks like a far more expensive car.



Luckily the solid black plastic panel around the fog light brings us back to reality. Nice touch with the chrome ring’d fog light, however.



While most new vehicles are finally abandoning the googly-eyed, oversized plasti-chrome headlights from the last decade, the Fusion does it the best.  Just the right amount of squinty, never small enough to get lost on this fairly large face…from any angle.



Massive power dome hood is…massive!  Only now does this front end look more like a boxy, modern FWD sedan and not something from Aston Martin. Note how much painted fender there is relative to the front wheel.  Things are getting chunky!

That said, I must compliment Ford on the transition from sexy Aston Martin to boring Camry-competitor.  This transition shows great attention to detail.

15By the way, I saw plenty of other rental cars during my travels.  The only one I really wanted besides the Fusion was a damn Crown Vic Kia Optima.  Note how both family sedans have a somewhat bullet-ish nose, but one doesn’t look like a Chinese knock-off of an Aston Martin.



This Fusion Hybrid sported 17″ wheels that wouldn’t look out of place on a baseline, super cheap to lease BMW sedan. Too bad the nose couldn’t move forward and downward…like the Aston Martin from whence it came. Sadly, nerdy family sedans are just that.


18Welcome to Tallsville: population, this guy. The Fusion’s 17″ hoops are positively lost in the height and bulk of the body.  The fenders need a good 6″ of length to justify that nose. The space between the cowl and the front wheel (dash-to-axle) is short and static.  Which kinda ruins everything: the A-pillar obviously wants to begin at a point between the cowl and front wheel.  Too bad it can’t flow right…because this chassis isn’t shaped like a Crown Vic an Aston Martin.

All the sculpturing of the Aston-inspired nose is gone…or is it?



Like modern BMWs, the Fusion creates many layers that hope to keep you from noticing its lofty height. With all this real estate, the good car designers make something that catches the light, plays with it, and fascinates the onlooker. Since demanding the cowl of a Panther Chassis is stupid even by my brain’s distorted standards, what we see here ain’t half bad.




Oh, except for that clumsy and fat A-pillar.  And the DLO fail.  Demanding the cowl (and resultant A-pillar) of a Panther would be nice, as it wouldn’t mean we’d need a black plastic triangle (with chrome trim!) to give the illusion that the greenhouse (the glass area) is sleeker than it is in reality.

Even worse, there’s a fixed vent window in the door.  Nothing wrong with that on the Aston, because it has a far more “Panther Like” cowl and A-pillar. We can’t expect the Fusion to have a DLO as lovely as an Aston, or a 2004 Nissan Versa Hatchback.



It sure is a pity, that your DLO fail couldn’t be a 2004 Nissan Versa hatchback instead. But from here, the short (width) and tall (height) of the Fusion’s dash-to-axle ratio could branch out into a vehicle that doesn’t try too hard to be sporty, swoopy.


These fancy heated,  bi-focal’d mirrors not only look cool, they definitely help with visibility.  A good thing, since the greenhouse of this faux-Aston is pretty horrible when it comes to avoiding highway traffic. I felt like a kid in a school bus…which isn’t unique to the Fusion in this class, of course.



The different planes and textures of the side view mirrors were fun to analyze in the hotel parking lot.  I only wish the signal light was flush, sharing the same external plane of the silver painted housing.



Everything is fun here.  There’s plenty of surface tension in the fold below the glass work, and there’s a subtle yet speedy crease near the bottom that keeps this tall vehicle from looking static.  It works, mostly because it does the job without looking busy.


The door’s stamping gives extra visual excitement to the form presented by the handle.  The “30-60-90 triangle” look of the lower door handle area compliments the actual door handle, unlike the amorphus blob presented in same area by many other vehicles.  It looks like it’s dying for an old school key lock! Me likey.



Wasn’t too thrilled about the slop in the plastic door handle itself.  And this wasn’t an abused rental…at least not at 1200 miles.


The Lincoln-Mercury fanboi of the 1980s within me totally adores Ford’s new keyless entry interface. Flush, completely invisible until it’s needed: a logical extension of the flush-button’d 1980 Thunderbird that started it all. Too bad I couldn’t find the code to use it.  I checked the trunk hinges for a 5-digit code like a proper Dearborn Man would…until I realized it hasn’t been there in decades, either. Rats.



Aside from the need for 20+ inch rims to put this body in proportion, this is a surprisingly sleek C-pillar and rear door. There’s a big window in lieu of DLO fail, the hard folds from the center section are starting to fade away, and the ever-so-gentle bend of the rear door’s cutline near the rear wheel: all are the marks of a well planned design.

My only concern is the harsh fold around the wheel arches: a more organic bend would keep one’s eyes from fixating on the oversized wheel arches and undersized wheels.



The big plastic pillar needed for the rear window to roll down is a nice, shiny one piece affair.  Good enough.



There’s a mild taper in the C-pillar, and a shocking amount of sculpture in the quarter panels and rear doors.  From this angle, the Fusion is just a two-tone paint job away from being an optimistic 1950s Jet Age design!



This is a faaaaaast C-pillar.  It’s lovely to behold, unless you’re in the driver’s seat. Then you curse it for blocking everything in sight.

Much like the front bumper, notice how light and shadow dance in different shades at the top of the (upper) C-pillar, in the gentle bend of the (lower) C-pillar’s taper as it blends into the hard edge in the middle of the body.


Also note that the fuel filler door is smack dab in the middle of the crease.  While not offensive, illogical, or asymmetrical, the door looks a bit silly with such a strong crease in it.


Our man Ronnie already covered this quality control snafu, and it’s sad to see he wasn’t lying.  I love how many modern cars use “floating” rear glass with no fat black gasket, but what if they don’t finish the metal underneath to the same level of brilliance as every other panel?


The CHMSL lives within a unique polished black container that juts out from the natural sweep of the roofline. This looks cheap and unrefined, like the bad old days of pre-Bankruptcy General Motors designs. (except with better materials, ‘natch.)Why the CHMSL can’t be as flush and invisible as the keyless entry keypad is beyond me. Put it inside the cabin like everyone else!



Ain’t technology grand?  This wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful if there was a big rubber gasket around the rear window. Just a lovely form.




Unfortunately the Fusion’s back end can’t mask the height nearly as well as the front.  The trunk’s cutline extends far below the logical end point (where the bumper normally begins). The rear bumper is flush enough to make that CHMSL up there a little jealous.  It’s all very flat and tall.



Something about these “furrowed eyebrow” taillights isn’t pleasant enough to go with the Aston Martin front end.  If you were ripping off the Aston for the front, why not do the rear too?  If it worked for the Jaguar XF…


And the plastic insert between the taillights looks out of proportion with…WAIT, WHUT?  IS DAT HYBRID BADGE ON CROOKED? Damn son, are you kidding me?



Back to that plastic bit. I’d prefer that cutline started where my other finger’s located on the taillight.


Or even better, eliminate the plastic trim and be like my neighbor here in the hotel’s self-serve parking lot. Much nicer!


The panel gap around the trunk was also a bit unsettling, after you got over the crooked emblem.


And there’s something counter-intuitive about a trunk that cuts this deep into the body.  Perhaps it will make more sense if I look at the cross-section of the trunk itself.



Chunky and clumsy.  I wish the trunk wasn’t flush with the bumper, if only it was sunken in like the Optima in the above photo.


Luckily Ford didn’t cut corners down here, either.  Just like the front valence, the rear’s chrome exhaust, black plastic “visual bulk reducer” and extra reflector (markers or fog lights in Europe, I suppose) lenses look suitably expensive from here.



Note the negative area in the black plastic, and how it matches the same area at the bottom of the silver painted bumper. Shades of the symmetry seen on the front bumper!



I also adore this little bevel to “introduce” the red taillight to the silver quarter panel. It’s a subtle bend that blends with all the more aggressive creases on the same quarter panel.


So what’s the end result?  Is the Fusion too strongly influenced?  Should we care since Aston Martin is also willing slap their face on anything to make a quick buck?


Too much influence!

This wouldn’t fly if a broke-ass design student (peep the tuition rates for design school) used this level of “influence” in design school.  While any student would be publicly, mercilessly humiliated for grafting an Aston Martin nose on their family sedan proposal, they’d be dragged out of the studio by the short hairs for making the C-MAX.

No way in hell this would be considered “A” work for a design student. Is it worth a “B”?  Maybe a “C,”  I think. Then again, FoMoCo writes some big-ass checks to all the major design schools..and offers priceless internships for would-be designers. 



In the end, I’d love the Fusion if it was on the same platform that pinned the GEN III Taurus.  Such a low beltline, low taillights and an open and airy greenhouse.  Put the Fusion’s design elements on this Taurus and you’d have a far more honest tribute to an Aston Martin.  If that’s what Ford actually wanted.

This was taken in front of the birthplace Will Rogers, entertainer and informer extraordinaire.  He famously remarked, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I suspect he never met the critics in a design studio…

or a snotty auto blogger, for that matter.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

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82 Comments on “Vellum Venom: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid...”

  • avatar

    While it looks decent, the problem is the styling caused a rear seat squeeze. Plus, after a few years, the styling will look dated.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    The front end reminds me more of a luxified Mitsubishi Lancer, although I won’t argue Aston language isn’t there.

  • avatar

    I don’t like the looks of this car.

    I think the Lincoln version looks better, except for the front end of the Lincoln, which looks like a giant cockroach.

    Bottom line is, no version do I find pleasing to the eye. Which is too bad, because it is a fine car.

  • avatar

    I can forgive them the Aston thing (and I’m a huge, lifelong Aston fan). After all, the modern Aston design palette was conceived by Ian Callum, a Ford employee at the time. And they did a much nicer job of ripping off Aston/Callum that Kia did (though the new Kias look quite good).

    And I can tell you from personal observation that if you park a DB7 Vantage coupe next to a new Fusion, the Fusion completely disappears, even for people who aren’t car geeks.

    It will look dated, but not for several years — just like the early 300Cs are looking dated now. I’m sure J Mays will have a well-thought-out MCR that extends the basic design’s life, though.

  • avatar

    The Aston front end is really nice, but the rest of the car looks kinda fat, mostly because of the height. Current Mazda 6, for example, is so incredibly elegant:

  • avatar

    When I look at the Fusion, it reminds me of old Detroit. In old Detroit, styling trumped reliability and practicality. In Toyota and Honda land, practicality and reliability rule. From a value ( i.e. pocketbook ) perspective, practicality and reliability rule. When east and west coasters are taking on 7 figure mortgages for a starter home, the Toyota and Honda formula look more attractive.

    • 0 avatar

      While one could debate style all day, I find the appearance to be very attractive overall, and simply put, there are plenty of imports that have sacrificed function for flashy form. What does bother me – and I am surprised that you did not jump all over it – is that the overall fit and finish of the body panels is a bit casual by today’s standards. Badge aside (I’ll give Ford the benefit of doubt on that as who knows what happened to it) the assembly is not horrible but I expected the panel fit to at least mirror the previous Fusion and sadly this example does not. One can correctly argue that even Toyota has slipped a bit in this regard, but not to this level. I hope that this is an anomaly and not typical. I’d make the dealer realign that rear door. It’s been a long time since body line were so visibly off. Ford, get on this ASAP. One year of marginal assembly will undo a decade of progress…

  • avatar

    I’d have to say that the trunk lid has been messed with, possibly removed and rebadged.

    Every Fusion I’ve ever seen (and I mean EVER), including my own, since this new body style’s arrival has had the left side of the trunk lid misaligned with the rear quarter and the tail light lines tell the tale. Check ANY Fusion on the lot and you’ll see it.

    So… the magically corrected tail light lines and the fact that either the “SE” or “Hybrid” is crooked leads my deductive reasoning skills to tell me that the trunk lid has been tampered with.

    Side note- along with the tail light lines not meeting on the Fusion, MOST (but not all) new Explorer rear hatch door panel gaps get larger from left to right where the door meets the rear bumper. Sometimes its more obvious than others depending highly on the color of the car.

    • 0 avatar

      This stuff makes me go crazy. I cannot STAND when the panel gaps or design lines between panels don’t line up. I’ve seen it on this Fusion, I’ve seen it on some Lincolns, and I’ve seen it ESPECIALLY on the new LaCrosse. The chrome trunk “eyebrows” don’t line up between the trunk lid and the rear fenders above the lights. Makes me nuts. They didn’t do this on the Verano since it’s all one piece.

      My car is 12 now, and 12 years ago they could manage to make cars without panel misalignment – so why all the sudden can’t they do it now? If you design a car with elements which flow between panels, and you aren’t 100% sure you can manufacture to enough precision to line them up, then create an easier design to execute.


  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    I just don’t understand this obsession with larger and larger wheel/tires. My wallet is definitely not happy about it either.

    Is there a non stylistic reason for these cartoonishly big wheels on modern cars? I guess it is all about what floats your boat.

    Perhaps you can cover this in the next installation.

    • 0 avatar

      Non stylistically speaking, lower profile tires help with performance…but the benefits end usually by the time you get to a 17-18″ wheel on cars. (not trucks). They also allow for larger brakes for these bigger/taller/heavier/more powerful machines, which is also good for active handling systems.

      But I still suspect that height and the proportion challenges that come with today’s cars are the biggest factor in why need larger wheels.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the former is more the driver than the latter. The Fusion would look odd with smaller diameter wheels and a lot of rubber to fill the gap or correspondingly shorter tires.

        Also the tire package works well on the Titanium edition car, I got a chance to drive the Fusion back to back with as closely equipped Camry as could be provided and the Fusion just felt better when it came to steering, braking, and handling in general. A lot of which had to do with the shorter sidewall tires. although the tire choice itself was important – Michelin Primacys on the Toyota and what looked like a more sporting Continental on the Fusion, both V-rated and both all season but much different priorities.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for your analysis of the Fusion.

        Large diameter wheels are because racecar. Racecar stared at by designers who draw concepts with rubber band tires. Racecars have the high diameter wheels to accommodate the high diameter brake discs so they can outbrake the other guy. This is why wheels that aren’t stuffed with the maximum diameter discs possible look wrong and stupid. Same goes for useless ground effects cladding and furbelows on cars too high to benefit from same.

        Is it possible the uneven gap on the door handle is there to allow clearance of the handle when operated? Assuming the handle hinges at the leading end.

        • 0 avatar

          Except the sad reality is that race cars have a fantastic sidewall-to-rim ratio. If designers are anything like my time at CCS, they are more interested in tuner cars…because tunercar.

          The handle pulls out from the sheet metal of the door, not the leading end. I don’t think there’s a good excuse for what I saw.

          • 0 avatar

            Those things are usually farmed off to the lowest bidder, so whatever company made the doorhandle assembly either wasnt caring, or Ford wasnt paying enough per unit for them to care.

            Or Ford doesnt QC their suppliers? Seems a lot of the misalignment could probably be blamed on bad tolerances, or bad training.

          • 0 avatar

            Sajeev, there is no good excuse. This car is a step backward in terms of fit if this car is typical of the marque. I am sad to see it. Even GM is nailing fit today.

          • 0 avatar

            ‘Fantastic’ ratio being some optimum number for performance over all other considerations.

            High diameter wheels combined with low ratio tires on mainstream cars are a silly, pretentious styling affectation, providing higher unsprung weight, less compliance, and higher cost. Donk Lite.

  • avatar

    Part of me loves it, part of me hates it. I’ve loved Aston’s as long as I can remember so to have that style in this price point is exciting. But it seems… overwrought somehow. I definitely like it more in darker colors. This car in blue is gorgeous.

    Totally agree with Jean-Pierre Sarti, the best looking sedan on the market today is the 6. Stunning.

  • avatar

    Wow, talk about a comprehensive analysis!

    I rented one of these in your home state about a month ago, Dallas, to be precise. I generally think that Fords are the ugliest cars on the road. The Fusion is different in that I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. I think it is a good start but I found it to be too chunky and awkward. It needs a march towards svelteness without losing the basic concept. I find it no where near as bad as a Taurus, which is a complete fail and a fuggetaboutit in my book, but the Fusion still needs some work I think. There are too many different angles going on at once and the car feels just fat.

    To your point, the visability from the greenhouse is poor, and A-pillars designed to hold up the Golden Gate Bridge make driving much more dangerous than it needs to be especially in slow turns where you are trying to navigate your way around other cars doing the same thing. The oncoming and turning traffic simply hides behind the pillar.

    I don’t know what was under the hood but I know it wasn’t a hybrid. The power was surprisingly good but someone at Ford needs to fix the torque-steer! This isn’t 1982 for crying out loud but the road manners of this car (and the Taurus for that matter) remind me of an early ’80’s Celebrity or Ciera, certainly not the first thing that Ford would want popping into your consciousness I have to imagine.

    I rate the car overall as a fail (many others apparently don’t as they seem to sell real well) but a fail with promise with a little bit of reconfiguring.

  • avatar

    The triumph of form over function. So how is it to parallel park?

  • avatar

    Whenever I see one coming, I always think it’s a Rapide. Every single time.

    Always disappointed.

    And the taillights should definitely have been more “inspired”. Such a teeny, tiny minority would complain. The taillights are the worst part. Even the ones on the Focus hatch are better.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      The taillights look to me like they tried to stretch the fiesta’s butt and someone said “hey we’ve got a maserati thing goin’ on back here! Better drop everything and call it a wrap!”

  • avatar

    I’ll forgive the stylistic shortcomings on the cut line of the trunk, as it looks to be very functional. Basically a big, low, rectangular opening for… you know… actually using the trunk. Unlike a porthole dropping into a trunk, it looks like you can actually use this one.

    Overall I think these cars look great, ripoff or not.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    I really want to love the Fusion, but it just comes across too busy. Especially the front end. But you’re right that they had to do a lot to hide the height. Which is a lot like GM’s Epsilons and several other current midsize FWD cars — everything except the Camry, which is the only one to still be based on a 1990s “platform”. The only alternative is apparently to make the car longer, a la the Mazda 6. Either way makes what’s supposed to be a midsize car come across more like a big old boat, with exterior proportions out of scale to the interior space.

    Is the extra height in all these cars to make room for a Tesla-style battery pack in the hybrids? Or is it to try to visually hide the tall hood for European pedestrian safety standards?

    • 0 avatar

      Id vote Ped standards, massive platform sharing, and people just seem to like sitting high, including me.

      Going from a 1998 civic CX to a 2006 xA meant not having to use the grab handle to get out.

      Sat in an FR-S recently, and the seating position reminded me of my old civic.

  • avatar

    Let Love Rule, Mama Said and 1/2 of Are You Gonna Go My Way are far superior to anything Mr, Kravitz has done in recent years. As for the Fusion, the tail lights look like the red a$$ of a sock monkey doll.

  • avatar

    I agree that it is basically handsome, and looks much more expensive than it is. I do think that, as with most new Ford products, there came a time where they should have stopped styling but did not, both inside and out. And as to quality, referring to the shot of the RR taillight with the crooked “Hybrid” badge, note something else: the taillight segment in the trunk lid is not level with the taillight segment in the RR fender. Yet, the top of the trunk lid is level, so it isn’t merely an adjustment. I have noticed this on every single Fusion I have followed (usually on both sides). This tells me there is something wrong in the tooling, but that Ford said, in typical American fashion, “Oh, heck, it’s close enough.”

  • avatar

    The Fusion rear end is very “m’eh” and the trunk deck sits higher than it should given the smooth lines on the rest of the body. If you could graft the KIA Optima back end on the Fusion I think we’d have a winner. Oh and the beltline is about 2-4 inches too high, but this is a rampant epidemic in the industry. The rest of the Fusion is very impressive, and should also be available in coupe form (Probe comparisons be damned).

  • avatar

    This whole Ford / Aston discussion reminds me of the 1955 Chevy’s rip-off of a Ferrari grill. Would Sajeev consider a retro-Vellum Velum on that first modern Chevy?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Nice writeup, Sajeev. These are always interesting.

    This car looks phenomenal from an elevation of about 10 feet. Once on ground level you realize how tall and blunt it is, and that absolutely kills the styling for me.

    The details are very nice, but in light colors the overall profile looks like a sea creature that flopped its way onshore. Oddly enough, I think the sharper angles and lower beltline of the reviled Camry SE gives it a cleaner, sleeker profile. Certainly easier to see out of.

    Introductory photos of the Fusion hid its massive height well, so once I saw this car on the road I was really disappointed. Same thing with the 1.6 Ecoboost powertrain: looked exciting and unique on paper, and then the real world numbers started rolling in.

  • avatar


    I’d like to see you compare the styling bits on the Fusion Hybrid with the Sonata Hybrid, which is shaped similarly and has a different grill than the regular Sonata.

    Regarding your comments on the C-Max: I think grafting the “Aston” grill to the C-Max is both an aesthetic and functional mistake. It looks like there is too much open grill area which hurts aerodynamics. The car has active shutters, but that is a band-aid on an open wound. Give the C-Max a front end suited to its purpose people might stop complaining about how it doesn’t get 47 MPG.

    Finally, I’m jealous that you were able to rent a Fusion Hybrid. I looked a couple months ago, and I couldn’t find one to rent anywhere.

  • avatar

    At some angles I love the look of the Fusion…but seeing them on the road now they look just…well…wrong…from so many angles. I agree that I don’t think they’ll age well.

  • avatar

    If you put the CHMSL in the cabin (like everyone else) you block the top center of what narrow slit of what little rear visibility you have. And if the road behind you slopes up a little, you’ve got light pod dead center of where you’d want to be looking. My Fit has this problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps. When it comes to modern sedans with insane fastback C-pillars, there’s plenty of parcel shelf for the CHMSL. And you can’t see the parcel shelf very well in the Fusion.

      Since the Fit has no shelf, I see your point.

    • 0 avatar

      Conveniently enough, the new Accord’s CHMSL tucks behind the rear center headrest in the driver’s view, which isn’t too bad to begin with since the Accord actually has a nice big greenhouse with reasonably thin A-pillars! (And it aced the new IIHS offset test.)

      The Fusion has promise, but that squat greenhouse and feeble turbo engines ruin things; my Accord’s V6 will pull down mid-to-upper 30-mpgs running at 70mph without A/C, and only a couple mpg less with A/C blasting, and a couple more pax on board, at 80+. The simplified VCM system along with the new six-speed slushbox make this possible (and with intake VTEC variable-valve timing restored, make this car scat like an F-18 in full A/B if you choose–sub 5 second 0-60mph is possible on V6 6-MT coupes)

      The adage holds here: no replacement for displacement! 8-)

  • avatar

    How about writing some VVs on interiors? Many now, including Ford’s new Escape, for example,, are over angled, over trimmed with sweeps, intersecting planes, swooshes, glitter, plasticky, chromy stuff, and so on. Not restful, not convenient. And you do have to look at these messes more than misses on the exterior.

  • avatar
    Ned Funnell

    I liked this design well enough to harass rental agents to make sure that I got one as my getaway car for my recent wedding.

  • avatar

    I want to like these, but every one I’ve seen has had misaligned panels and horrendous panel gaps. On this example, notice that the left doors don’t match up with each other – the side crease doesn’t align – and the gap between the hood and bumper isn’t even close to being uniform.

    Manufacturers that can’t make panels match shouldn’t put out overstyled product. It’s almost like Ford deliberately designed the Fusion to look poorly assembled.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    The Fusion and the Taurus are both way too bulky and tall, especially when you look at them side by side with other cars.

    I saw a Fusion parked in front of my W211 E350, and it dwarfed my car in pretty much every dimension, which I always thought was “full sized”. It was like the Fusion was 9/8ths scaled.

    • 0 avatar

      “way too bulky and tall”

      Depends on the demo you’re after.
      And no “Depends” jokes, please.

      So many are decrying the tallness of the Fusion, but look at the photo of it side by side with the KIA. Maybe 1″-1 1/2″ difference?

      The Fusion and new Accord are the only sedans that still tempt me, both for the same reason. Ford and Honda both seem to grasp the fact that humans are just going to keep insisting upon actually entering and driving their products. Gotta make some grudging room for them.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fusion started out slightly smaller than the Ford Taurus it replaced. But, I parked my ’95 Taurus next to one just today; it was actually with an inch in all dimensions except wheelbase, as confirmed by Wilipedia (112 inches for Fusion vs 106 for the ’95 Taurus.) The max curb weight is only 50 pounds greater. But the belt line looks to be about 2 or 3 inches taller.

      I also noticed that it has provisions for three abreast seating in the back; though the headroom may be slightly less depending on how high the seating is. (The Fusion peaks at 3-4 inches taller than the Taurus; but slopes down more.)

  • avatar

    I don’t mind the bulky-tall look of the new Fusion, or I wouldn’t if Ford hadn’t grafted sleek styling on top of it, both of them just clash to make a mis-proportioned car really. Technically the styling is already dated since its cribbed from roughly 10 years ago.

    Thanks to this article I think I’ll stop comparing the new Fusion to an Aston but instead compare it to a Kia Optima competition, which itself is just a VW Jetta with a few angles and creases.

    In Astons defense the new Cygnet was created because of some new requirement in England to produce an economy car or something like that, its a necessary evil. The Rapides new grille…not so much.

    The styling will age yes, but I have yet to see any modern car that’ll look “fresh” for more than 5 minutes save for the Coda, which seemingly lasted only 5 minutes.

    I want to ask if Ford ever fixed the fire-trouble that Fushions and a few other Fords were having, the panel gaps may be unique to fleet models but I’m sure they wouldn’t be there if the designers had any decent priorities.

  • avatar

    The front of this car looks so angry! Grrrrr! I’m scared!

  • avatar

    “Floating Glass” on the rear window or hatch has a nasty downside: the gap is easily filled with crap from trees and it’s difficult to get the junk out again.

    Likewise, every car designer should be required to park his product outside in the winter and commute while sitting in the slush and mush that drops down from the top of the cut-back door opening onto the seat every morning.

    Form is nice, function, even better.

  • avatar

    If you took a partial downward head shot of the original Monster From the Black Lagoon…….

  • avatar

    I like the new Fusion, but can’t say that I love it. Close, but no ceegar.
    The detailing mentioned by Sajeev is intricate and obviously well thought out. But while a design may sometimes trick the eye, it can’t fool it forever. Proportions matter. Surely the company that brought us the ’61 Lincoln knows this.
    The main problem I have with most new Fords is that the main body (below the greenhouse) is too tall. Especially from the rear. In spite of this, many modern Ford’s offer poor interior space relative to total mass. Taurus anyone?

  • avatar

    Vellum Venom is one of my favorite articles on this site; so well done, and I always learn something new. Would love to see VV pop up more often.

  • avatar

    Great analysis as always, thank you! I wonder how long it will take for people to start saying things like “That Aston looks like a Ford”… ‘Cos you know they will.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Here’s how most people buy cars:

    1. “I like the color.”

    2. “What’s the notes?” Translation: How much are the payments?

  • avatar

    Sajeev great article. Your reference to the 1996 Taurus is interesting; though I guess it was because you parked next to one. Still, what DID you think of the the Gen3 Taurus/Sable?

    After reading your article, I parked my ’95 Taurus next to a brand new Fusion during lunch. Was surprised how close in size they were; and noticed there is actually a third head rest for three across seating.

    Will it and the Ecoboast engines be for Ford what the 1985 Taurus was – or what the 1996 Taurus was? Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar

      I kinda liked the GENIII Taurus, my Dad had a ’96 Sable LS. Very cohesive design with good detailing, but it was a horribly polarizing concept.

      A good design, but not a good design for a mainstream family sedan.

  • avatar

    Enjoyed reading that a lot.

    Perhaps it’s just me and my literal eye, but the Fusion’s grille does not look like an Aston Martin, because it misses the curves leading downwards from the top at each side. Whether a DB4GT or Vanquish those curves exist, as a quick google will show. They are not there on the Fusion.

    The details on the Fusion are nice as individual studies, if haphazardly made in the flesh; however step back and the car looks like Dizzy Gillespies’ cheeks at full toot. Overblown, as if someone had gone crazy with an air compressor on an original sleek design.

    Stepping back 20 feet from an Optima in white, and I get an overwhelming feeling of wow, that is a gorgeous car! And in your photo deriding the “Chinese” Kia, I much prefer the Optima. It actually is sleek. Styled by a German, as we know.

    The Fusion comes across as a box covered in baubles to disguise its bulk. At least it’s not just homely and sad like the C-Max.

    BTW, the Fusion is the best-selling midsizer in Canada, if not the US.

  • avatar

    Great analysis of the styling of the Fusion.

    By the way, except for when you wrote “I must compliment Ford”, “complement” should have been used instead.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      No, he got that one right. However, there were several instances where “compliment” (to give praise) was used instead of “complement” (to enhance or add to something).

      • 0 avatar

        That was actually was my point: “I must compliment Ford” is correct, but the 4 other times “compliment” was used, “complement” should have been used instead.

  • avatar

    While watching the “last corolla at NUMMI” and “last tacoma at NUMMI” videos I noticed that the trim line workers used a template to install the badges properly.

    The top badge looks ok. the bottom one looks like it was designed to line up with the crease instead of the badge above.

    Or Juan in Hermosillo didnt need no stinking template?

  • avatar

    Looks just like an Aston-Martin ’till an Aston-Martin pull up.

  • avatar

    Pretty darn good article though borders on near nauseating. I”d love to see the same careful analysis of say…the Velostar….and the Fusion looks an order of magnitude better than a current Mustang. All it needs is an EB V6 and hands down, beats the Taurus. Fail in a design studio? Got to one of the funniest comments I’ve ever read as most of the class is likely out of work in their chosen profession.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Oklahoma City? I wish I’d known you were here!

    Also, the 2013 Fusion *was* my favorite midsized car design…right up until the 2014 Mazda6 came out. I’m sorry, but it trumps the Fusion.

    And for the F01 7-Series you mentioned, I feel that BMW squared-off the front end too much just so that the Rolls-Royce Ghost could work with that platform…

  • avatar

    Just a quick Google…

    Fusion – 58.1 inches high
    Camry – 57.9 inches high
    Optima – 57.3 inches high
    Mazda 6 – 57.1 inches high

    We are talking about one inch difference in height across all four of these cars commenters are mentioning. Just FYI.

  • avatar

    This is good work Sajeev. Now I look at cars, some ugly, some not, and try to pick out the elements that make it that way…and then I ask “WWSD”…What Would Sajeev Design?

  • avatar

    Like the front, hate the back of the car. Cal me when the station wagon is available ( see Ford Mondeo Estate)

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