Ace of Base: Ford Sedans

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

You’re getting a four-for-one today, folks. With the Glass House deep-sixing all of its sedans, we figured it’d be an apropos time to inspect the cheapest of the lot bound for death row.

Picking on them in order of size sounds like a plan: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. Ready, Blue Oval fans? Let’s go!

The base Fiesta S (what was wrong with LX as entry-level trim?) find a 1.6-liter inline-four under that diminutive hood, making 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque. Not a rocket, to be sure, but enough to get the thing out of its own way, especially compared to base penalty boxes of yesteryear. Interestingly, Ford notes those power numbers are only attainable on 93 octane fuel. How many el-cheapo Fiesta owners do you think put premium in their rides? I’ll tell you: somewhere between zero and zilch. A five-speed stick is standard.

Externally, this cheapest of Ford sedans doesn’t advertise its lot in life with flat black trim; door handles and bumpers are colour-keyed and the grille is trimmed in (plastic) chrome. Stability control and brakeforce distribution modulate the brakes which are drums out back, natch. There are seven airbags and a backup camera. Surprisingly, air conditioning is included at the $14,205 sticker price. There is up to $3,000 on the hood as of this writing.

Not a bad package, despite being limited to three colors, all on the greyscale. Let’s look at the Focus now. Hmm.

The Focus S (would it kill ya to make a few LX badges, Ford?) has vexed me in the past but at least the 2018 model doesn’t look as downtrodden as older versions. The massaged exterior design has aged rather well. Still, black base-model trim screams “budget!” while the 2.slow motor moans its way to 60 mph in under 10 seconds. It only feels like a week.

Hill start assist will help new drivers get going, and a trunkload of safety nannies will help them stay going. Again, buyers are restricted to whites, blacks, and greys. Air conditioning vents or power windows for rear passengers? Armrest for the driver? Nope. The princely sum of $17,950 graces its window sticker but customers can currently take one home for much less. More than $4,000 worth of incentives are kicking around today.

Ford’s midsize Fusion, once hailed for looking not unlike an Aston Martin, is powered by a 173 hp 2.5-liter four in base S (grumble grumble LX grumble) form. No manual transmission is to be found, unlike Fusions of yore that could be had with a stick that made it kinda fun. Like its little-brother Fiesta, no black trim belies its budget status.

There is no shortage of infotainment features, with the SYNC system on duty to handle Bluetooth and voice recognition duties. A monochrome 2.3-inch information screen dead ahead of the driver looks cheap and, in a move that would only please accountants with the darkest of hearts, rear seat passengers are denied floormats. Cruise, push button start, and a choice of seven no-charge colors round out this $22,215 package. Incentives currently push the price down to near eighteen grand.

This brings us to big-daddy Taurus, which makes an opening bid of $27,690 but has up to $4,500 in available rebates. Get a white one and everyone will think you’re a cop. The venerable 3.5-liter engine – dirt cheap to service in this author’s experience – makes a respectable 288 hp and is paired with a six-speed automatic. Nearly 30 mpg is achievable if you believe the propaganda, good numbers for a stretch-em-out large car.

Eighteen-inch wheels, twin chrome exhaust tips, an appropriate amount of chrome, and LED taillamps imbue the base Taurus with a look that outstrips its price. Power seats, a yaffle of places in which to plug in, and durable cloth on the seats round out this well-equipped sedan. My sole gripe is a base infotainment system that looks like Worf’s forehead.

With the sole exception of the Taurus (and even then, the SHO is tasty) I do not think any of these base models are the best of their range. Will the next iterations of these sedans be better than the current versions? We’ll likely never know.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges but available incentives are mentioned today. As always, your dealer may sell for less … and in this instance, probably a lot less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 51 comments
  • Voyager Voyager on May 03, 2018

    Ford sells Volvo. Volvo continues sedan. Geely buys Volvo. Ford kills sedan.

  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on May 04, 2018

    Jim Hack-it is nothing more than the second coming of Jacques the Knife. He's gotta go, NOW. Get on it, Bill Clay!!!

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.