By on January 8, 2020

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.

[Images: Ford]

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23 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Ford Fusion S...”

  • avatar

    I’ve been driving a Fusion for the last 6 years/76,000 miles. I like it a lot. Mine has the PHEV drivetrain and is at the Titanium trim level. It’s been trouble free for those six years, the only repair I’ve needed was to have a cracked light ring replaced under warranty. I’ve also paid for three oil changes, six tires, a pair of wiper blades, and the 12 volt lead-acid battery that provides juice to the accessories. The fueling cost of a PHEV is very low around here, probably averaging four cents per mile.

  • avatar

    It’s a solid value proposition for someone who needs transportation and needs to haul a few people on a regular basis and normal amount of luggage or groceries.

    Too bad so many would rather drive a CUV of any kind over a sedan.

  • avatar

    Admittedly, cars like the Fusion, Focus, Cruze, etc sell about half as well as they used to. But is it smart to turn off ANY product that’s still selling 8k-10k a month? And permanently at that? I definitely don’t think so.

    Anyway, the Fusion still has a lot going for it. But you know at least 40% of those Fusions went to rentals/fleets.

    • 0 avatar

      “But is it smart to turn off ANY product that’s still selling 8k-10k a month? And permanently at that? I definitely don’t think so.”

      As many have learned the hard way, it is margins and profitability, not sales numbers, that truly matter. In this market environment, Ford can surely make better use of the plant building a higher margin CUV or truck than continue to ship out Fusions to rental car companies for minuscule profits.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Web survey of local 2020 Fusion S models in my SoCal region reveal the 1.5 EcoBoost engine as standard, and a slightly higher base price. Might be a CA thing.

  • avatar

    The Fusion is a great car IMHO.

    I’m not a huge fan of the, I believe, 1.5L turbo engine (though for all I know my rental experiences were the 2.5L but based on feel I’m pretty sure the small turbo). Its a little noisy for me.

    The hybrid is the one to get in my opinion. You lose some trunk space but the car is smooth, and quick enough and if you drive it properly I can pull upper 40mpg averages, which is excellent for a large car, plenty of room, great ride, great style etc. It is exceptionally quiet as well.

    Ford also always seems to do a very good job on balancing steering feel, ride, brake feel for me as well.

    Really, despite its age, I’d still put the Fusion on any shopping list in this segment. I like the new Camry as well, but the Fusion I think might actually be more comfortable, rides better, is quieter, and the Sync3 system blows Toyota away.

  • avatar

    I will miss the Fusion at the rental counter. I have never groaned when Fusion keys have been handed to me and from poverty spec to every option box checked, they are a pleasant vehicle to drive. I was particularly impressed with the hybrid I had as a rental last year.

  • avatar

    I’ve enjoyed my Fusion as well. Aside from recalls, it’s only been in the shop to fix a sun visor clip. It’s a relatively entertaining drive too (for a midsize family sedan) with the 1.6 turbo and 6-speed manual, and I’ve averaged close to 33 MPG over 47k miles. And it’s certainly capable for family duty, swallowing up my two little boys and all their gear.

    Really disappointed in Ford for ceding the midsize sedan market and leaving 100k+ sales behind.

  • avatar

    The Fusion feels heavy for its class, but otherwise I too have enjoyed my rentai Fusion experiences. But…

    …when we were figuring out how to replace our previous C-Max Energi at lease end, I showed my wife the incredible lease deals that were available at the time on Fusion Energi Titaniums. She wrinkled her nose and said “It’s a sedan.” Game over.

  • avatar

    “She wrinkled her nose and said “It’s a sedan.”

    That’s the ballgame. I imagine millions of customers lately have had the same discussion. Somehow the sedan is becoming the next station wagon or minivan.

    Personally, but not an attack on your wife, it’s also rather funny to me as the C-Max, IMHO, is a really frumpy looking car. Fusion much nicer looking.

  • avatar

    I was honestly surprised she went for the C-Max when we leased it, but she liked it fine. Sedans are enemy #1, vans #2. She will look at hatchbacks (the replacement ended up being a Bolt), wagons, or CUVs without complaint.

  • avatar

    For those who missed it, the Fusion is dead, right now. So is the Mk-Z.

    I happened to see an article on Mexican auto production for last October. Production was down, a lot, due to Ford Hermosillo, where the Fusion and Z were built, being shut down for retooling for the Transit Connect.

    There was a small car show in Novi last weekend. I asked a rep at the Ford stand, and he confirmed that Fusion production has indeed ended.

  • avatar

    Insane. Burning their furniture in a sacrifice to appease the Wall Street gods that they’re doing everything imaginable to jack up profits THIS QUARTER. It’s an object lesson in how American business is built to destroy itself.

  • avatar

    There are several better options at this price. If incentives bring it closer to 20 then maybe.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    What would you choose?

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    It’s surprising I’ve never actually driven this gen of Fusion, but I’ve ridden in a sales reps 2018. It was fairly quiet and he liked it better than some other sedans he’s been through.
    I really like the styling of the MKZ, and a hybrid would make sense for my 30 to sometimes 120mile days, but man the 0-60 times are really slow the hybrid vs. Malibu, Avalon acceleration times.
    I kind of like the One Ford (Euro) Fusion

  • avatar

    I almost got a fusion when it came time to replace my grand marquis. The fusion and the accord were the only midsize sedans that could fit 3 car seats. I ended up going accord because my kids couldnt see over the doorline in the fusion like they could in the grand marquis. Meanwhile the accords low doorline and big windows provided much better visability. A little ironic a good quality of my old ford product pushed me to get the Honda.

  • avatar

    I had a fusion hybrid as a week long rental about 2 years ago. I liked it. Good size, good handling and 40 mpg in San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma. The trunk did lose some room to the batteries, but was still usable. IDK if the “Energi” with bigger batteries and smaller trunk space is as livable. The safety nannies of AEB, BSM etc are much appreciated in the 2019 on models, but yes de-contenting is here. Seat heaters disappeared from the Hybrid SE in 2019 and supposedly the power passenger seat was up for grabs. The SEL reads like its the new sweet spot of equipment, but the list price is about $3K over the SE. I wanted to jump on some screaming good deals on lightly used 2019 Hybrids, but alas, it wasn’t an SUV so the idea was rejected. I note the remarks above that Fusion is already out of production, because I had read that there would even be a short 2021 run. Equally surprised to hear that the Fusion S still has the ancient 2.5NA, as I had read that it was dropped at the end of 2019.

  • avatar

    Even if the cancelled cars were “profitable”, how much is enough? Would it cover liabilities like recalls and warranty claims? What about development of their next generations?

    Or the cannibalization of very profitable cars (“trucks” actually) in the same showroom? I’m willing to bet Ford is making the right calls here.

    And they can be reversed, like bringing back the Ranger. But being in a position were their average vehicles sell somewhere between very profitable and obscenely so. Then they could buyout Mazda for example. And Subaru just for kicks? Or Central America???

  • avatar

    Solid high-value sedan. I will say when I rented one in 2013 (a 1.6EB SE) it felt much more buttoned down and “German.” My last few Hybrid SE rentals have felt heavy and soft. Heavy is not surprising, 3700+ curb weight with the Hybrid bits. I suspect they have softened the suspension over the years to better fit Ford customer wants? Sounds kind of strained getting up to speed but has no problems doing so. In all highway driving the Hybrid barely gets better MPG than many non-hybrid 4cyl competitors, but I’m sure it makes sense in a more mixed, city intensive situation.

    Awesome bang for the buck in terms of real world pricing, and as I understand it they’re pretty well screwed together and reliable. Hermosillo VIN and all.

  • avatar

    We have 2 Fusions as company cars. I drive the owners Fathers hand-me-down (he quit driving due to age), it’s a 2015 SE that is loaded up with the 1.6 Ecoboost and sunroof. The other is a 2016 Titanium with the 2.0 ecoboost. Both are very nice, comfortable cars in my opinion. Cheap used as well. I drove a Nissan Cube before, they are naturally night and day!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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