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2017 Ford Fusion: First Drive Review

AutoNXT logo AutoNXT 12/13/2016 Mike Meredith

Top Seller© Ford Motor Company Top Seller Top Seller

Ford’s popular midsize sedan gets refreshed for 2017, with subtle exterior design changes, interior improvements, new driver assistance technology and two new trim levels. Fusion’s dramatic new design for the 2013 model was a huge leap from the previous model’s ultra-conservative look and has been popular with buyers — sales have topped 300,000 for each of the last two years. A very important car for Ford, Fusion is the brand’s top-selling passenger car, trailing only the F-Series pickup and the Escape compact crossover.

Subtle Exterior Changes© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience Subtle Exterior Changes Subtle Exterior Changes

The Fusion design remains popular, so exterior changes are minimal: a reshaped grille, a revised front fascia and a new headlight design, with powerful LED headlights for Fusion Titanium, Sport and Platinum. The most easily recognizable exterior change is at the rear, where a full-width chrome strip connects the redesigned taillights. Both headlights and taillights include new lighting elements.

Model Lineup© Ford Motor Company Model Lineup Model Lineup

Fusion’s 2017 model lineup offers a wider range of choices than ever before. Two new trim levels top the model line: the performance-oriented Fusion V6 Sport and the luxurious Fusion Platinum. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are offered, as well as Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid versions. Fusion S, SE and Titanium trim levels continue for 2017 alongside the new Sport and Platinum. Fusion Hybrid is offered with S, SE, Titanium and Platinum trim levels, and the Fusion Energi is available in SE, Titanium and Platinum variants. The computer-controlled all-wheel-drive system is available on SE, Titanium and Platinum trims and standard on Fusion Sport.

Model Pricing© Ford Motor Company Model Pricing Model Pricing

Pricing for Fusion S begins at $22,120, followed by the SE at $23,240, Titanium at $30,240, Sport at $33,595 and Platinum at $36,740. Fusion Hybrid S starts at $25,185, with the Hybrid SE at $25,990, Hybrid Titanium at $30,520 and Hybrid Platinum at $37,020. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is offered in three trim levels with Energi SE at $31,120, Energi Titanium at $32,120 and the new Energi Platinum at $39,120. Prices listed do not include a destination charge of $875.

Fusion Sport© Ford Motor Company Fusion Sport Fusion Sport

A new performance-oriented model, the Fusion V6 Sport is powered by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine combined with a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Intelligent All-wheel Drive. Aggressive exterior upgrades include a gloss black mesh grille, deeper air intakes, a rear spoiler, dual twin exhaust outlets and 19-inch painted Tarnished Dark wheels with available summer performance tires. Standard equipment includes continuously-controlled damping, revised springs, revised anti-roll bars and larger brakes. Inside, the Fusion Sport features leather-trimmed seats with Miko suede inserts, suede door trim, carbon fiber pattern trim and a Sport mode button.

Fusion Platinum© Ford Motor Company Fusion Platinum Fusion Platinum

Fusion’s new top trim level, the Platinum offers a level of luxury not previously available in the Fusion lineup, featuring a premium interior that includes quilted leather seats, a leather-trimmed-dash, a leather-trimmed console, leather-trimmed door panels, a hand-stitched steering wheel wrapped in Venetian leather and standard heated and cooled front seats. The Fusion Platinum’s distinguishing characteristics include a unique grille finished in Magnetic paint and 19-inch polished wheels.

Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi© Ford Motor Company Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi

For the new model year, both Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi receive software updates and more efficient electric motors for smoother cruising, better fuel economy and more range. With 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, Fusion Energi offers an electric-only range of 19 miles. Both Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi can achieve electric-only speeds up to 85 mph.

Under the Hood© Ford Motor Company Under the Hood Under the Hood

Fusion is now offered with the choice of three EcoBoost engines; all feature turbocharging, direct-injection and twin independent variable valve timing. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is standard for Titanium, Platinum and SE AWD, and the 1.5-liter EcoBoost is now optional for the SE FWD. The new Fusion V6 Sport is powered by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost producing 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is rated at 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, while the 1.5-liter EcoBoost puts out 181 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. The standard engine for Fusion S and SE is the normally-aspirated 2.5-liter producing 175 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque.

Significant Interior Changes© Ford Motor Company Significant Interior Changes Significant Interior Changes

Fusion features a new console design that offers more storage space and more useable space for devices and other items. A change to a rotary gear selector and electric parking brake located next to the driver created more space for larger cupholders to the right, a larger storage area at the base of the center stack, a 3-inch-longer armrest with a larger storage bin underneath.

Technology© Ford Motor Company Technology Technology

The 2017 model line offers a total of 20 driver assistance technologies, many of which are new to Fusion; all are standard on the Platinum trim. These technologies include Collision Warning with Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Stop-and-Go; Enhanced Park Assist with Perpendicular, Parallel and Park Out; and a Lane-Keeping System. Other technologies that continue to be offered are a Driver Alert System, Auto High Beam Control, Blind Spot Detection and Cross Traffic Alert.

FordPass App© Ford Motor Company FordPass App FordPass App

The new FordPass App allows drivers to lock, unlock and locate the Fusion via a smartphone app. Drivers may also use FordPass to schedule remote starts and check fuel level. Available SYNC Connect is required to use the FordPass App.

On the Road© Ford Motor Company On the Road On the Road

We test drove three different versions of the 2017 Fusion, starting with the Fusion SE with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost, followed by the Fusion Platinum AWD, and a few minutes in the all-electric Fusion Energi. At first glance, a 1.5-liter engine for a car this size sounds like it would be too small, but the new reality is that smaller turbocharged engines produce appropriate power for larger applications, and the 1.5-liter EcoBoost for the Fusion SE is a prime example.

Driving the 1.5-liter EcoBoost© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience Driving the 1.5-liter EcoBoost Driving the 1.5-liter EcoBoost

With more torque than the standard 2.5-liter engine available over a broader range, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost does a great job in the Fusion SE. The engine management and transmission work well to keep the power in the right range, even on steady uphill climbs. Shift paddles allow downshifts to hold a gear, but aren’t intended for full-time manual shifting because the shifts are slightly delayed. Auto start-stop and active grille shutters are standard with the 1.5 EcoBoost, improving the fuel-economy rating to 23 mpg city / 34 mpg highway / 27 mpg combined.

Fusion Platinum AWD© Ford Motor Company Fusion Platinum AWD Fusion Platinum AWD

The new Platinum trim offers the most refined and luxurious driving experience ever from Fusion, putting this top-tier model on par with some luxury brands. The quilted leather seats and leather-trimmed dash, console and door panels — combined with the quiet, smooth ride — create a luxury-oriented driving experience. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost with all-wheel drive delivers fine acceleration with effortless highway cruising. The rear seat in all Fusion trims provides passengers with plenty of legroom and headroom.

Right for You?© Ford Motor Company Right for You? Right for You?

For drivers or families looking for a good midsize sedan, the 2017 Fusion offers a great looking design, a thoughtfully revised center console and a wide variety of powertrain and trim options. For those seeking a performance or luxury version, the Sport and Platinum trim levels are excellent choices. The 2017 model offers even more reasons for shoppers looking for a 5-passenger midsize sedan to consider the Fusion.

Rating: 8.5© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience Rating: 8.5 Rating: 8.5

Bottom Line: Popular midsize sedan offers wide range of fuel-efficient, luxury and performance versions.

Pros: New performance-oriented Sport and luxury Platinum versions; redesigned center console with more useful space; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and AWD versions.

Cons: Slow shifts with paddle shifters; lost trunk space with hybrid versions.


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