With the continuing growth of the SUV and CUV market you might wonder if people still buy the traditional sedan. Sales figures show that the traditional mid-size and full-size sedan market is doing OK with some cars selling better than others. The competitive mid-size sedan market is the more popular of the two. One of my favourites in this segment is the Ford Fusion which to me is one of the best-looking family cars on the road. It is a big seller for Ford and topped the sales charts in July.
The strongest feature of the Fusion and I’m including the AWD Titanium I recently drove, is a nice balance of ride and handling. Personally I don’t see the need for all-wheel-drive. Partly because I can drive either rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive just fine in winter. Of course, all-wheel drive is also a bonus in dry conditions for extra grip in curves, but is it worth the extra weight and cost? That’s where a test drive is needed to confirm if you check that box on the option list.
The AWD system is available in Fusion S, SE and Titanium trim levels with a trio of four cylinder engines. A 2.5-litre, a turbocharged 1.5 and a turbocharged 2.0 litre which powered my test car. All are linked to smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-litre engine puts out 240 horsepower and does a good job of moving the Fusion. Fuel consumption on our highway trip averaging 120 km/ph was 9.3L/100km one way and 9.2 on the return run. OK for a small engine powering a mid-size sedan. I tried to stay off the turbocharger as much as possible on the highway.
On the open road the Fusion AWD Titanium really shines as a long-distance tourer. Exterior noise is well hushed by generous use of sound insulation. The 18- inch low-profile tires also run quiet so nothing from the pavement is transmitted to the tire rubber and in turn into the passenger compartment. Bumps and road irregularities are also well absorbed without any drama. I give the ride engineers top marks for what they’ve done
Inside the Fusion looks good too depending on what interior option is chosen. My tester had the optional “brick red” interior package which nicely contrasts red and black leather and vinyl. Such a great combo when compared to the boring black or grey cloth interiors so prevalent in today’s vehicles. The effect is classy with top grade fit and finish. The front seats fit my tall frame very well and rear seat room is good. The instrument panel is well done with displays that can be set up to show a dozen different configurations. The basic setup is engine and vehicle related functions to the left, infotainment related functions to the right.
While Ford has struggled with issues related to MyFord Touch and will drop a working relationship Microsoft for the next generation, I don’t have any major concerns with how its touch-screen system works. I’ve seen worse systems from other manufacturers.
In the rear the trunk is quite spacious, though not deep. But it does extend a distance from the trunk opening to the back of the rear seat. For two people you can pack plenty of gear for a long trip. A family of four might have to be a little more creative in taking along all the stuff needed for a road trip.
The entry-level Fusion S starts at $21,723. My top of the line Titanium started at $30,877 and had an abundance of options: power sunroof, $1,250, active park assist, $600; heated and cooled rear seats, $600; heated steering wheel, $200; adaptive cruise control, $1,500; navigation system, $800; inflatable rear seat belts, $190; brick red interior trim (includes 18-inch alloy wheels), $795; driver assist package (includes lane keeping and blind spot assistance systems), $1,500. The final tab, $41,234 before GST. That’s reasonable considering all that you get for the money in a vehicle that is stylish, good handling, quiet and gives you the ability to enjoy the all-season security of all-wheel drive. Others in this segment include; Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler 200, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat.
Garry Melnyk is a St. Albert resident and lifelong car buff who has written about new cars and trucks for radio and print publications since the ’70s.