Ace of Base: 2020 Ford Fusion S
Despite the best efforts of Hackett & Co. to turn the Blue Oval into a car-free enterprise, the Ford Fusion continues to sell apace. In fact, the sedan outsold some of the company’s biggest SUV nameplates in 2019, including the Edge. Seriously. The only models to outsell the Fusion last year were the F-Series, Escape, and — by a hair — the Explorer. This helps explain why it hasn’t yet gone the way of Focus and Fiesta.
While it’s still around, there is ample reason to look and see what buyers are taking home in a base-model Fusion.
We have indeed covered the Fusion before and, given its recent nudge toward the grave, it hasn’t received what one would consider anything approaching a massive update — or even a minor update, if we’re being honest. Finding one on the company’s build and price tool is more of a chore than it used to be, given that Ford has unceremoniously booted it to near the bottom of the page.
In fact, given the de-contenting of mid-level trims for 2020 (spare tire has vanished in favor of an inflator, halogens replace some LEDs, and the passenger power seat has been replaced with a manual unit), the base S trim is even more compelling than last year. Starting at $23,170, the S is powered by a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four making 175 horsepower and hooked to a six-speed automatic.
Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety nannies is standard, bringing a lane-keeping system and blind spot monitoring to the rapidly ending Fusion party. Automatic emergency braking is part of the deal as well. Adding the Co-Pilot Assist (adaptive cruise and nav) is a $1,290 proposition. Those are cheap-to-replace 16-inch tires on steel wheels, by the way. Dual power side mirrors and door handles are all color keyed, just like on snazzier trims. The color palette remains respectable on a deathbed car, with only Rapid Red costing an extra $395. Sadly, a wretched beige is the lone interior shade.
When this iteration of the Fusion first appeared, it was lauded for its Aston-like face and attractive bodywork. In what is assumed to be its final year, the base S loses its chrome grille strips which somehow makes it look even more like an Aston. This is like a school firing its teaching staff just as they all earn a Master’s. The chrome spear in its taillights looks good, too.
Your author will forever remain flummoxed with Ford’s decision to kill all its cars save for the Mustang, especially in the face of last year’s sales numbers (and, yes, I know some of those sales were likely from dealers clearing out the lot). Fare thee well, big Ford sedan.
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I wonder why this site has never done an Ace of Base feature on the current generation Kia Optima LX. Very solid and reasonably well-equipped midsized sedan for the money. I rented one for a few days earlier this year and I was surprisingly impressed by it.
Sometimes I think the Fusion was cancelled because of the Focus PowerShift debacle. The Focus was cancelled because Ford Execs were embarrassed by the transmission problems, and the nameplate would forever be a reminder of their ineptitude. So they pretended that "there is no market for cars". Because they needed to be consistent in their lie, the Fusion needed to be sacrificed. American corporate culture is utterly stupid, ego-driven, and dangerous. When the next generation of car buyers swings away from what their parents bought and back to sedans and smaller affordable vehicles, the domestic manufacturers will be in a world of trouble. Again.