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2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6

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Justin Pritchard
American attitude fused with Japanese quality and European manners for a delicious combination

2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6 (Photo: Justin Pritchard, Auto123)
Don't you just love checking out hot, young models? I sure do. So I spent some time with the hot new Ford Fusion which was recently released alongside a promise to spice things up in its segment. Fusion is a kind of cooking too, apparently. A chef friend of mine named David Koski tells me that it "combines elements of various regions onto one plate for a very unique experience". I tried it once, something like spaghetti and chicken balls. My take on fusion cooking was that each country should be on a different plate. Not here though. Built off the same CD-3 architecture as the Mazda 6, the Fusion fuses Japanese technology with American looks for a modern and unique package that's both dense and rugged like most American cars, with a confident, quality feel associated with most Japanese cars.

This CD-3 platform isn't just built for rigidity, quietness and handling precision. It's also built to be very safe. The structure of the car is designed to send the force of impact in a collision through the cars roof
2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6 (Photo: Justin Pritchard, Auto123)
and floor, rather than through the passenger compartment. Its wonderful peace of mind when you know your car has occupant safety designed right in from the beginning. There are optional side impact and side curtain airbags for further protection.

For Ford, the Fusion fills in a space between the Focus and the Five Hundred. I imagine if you wanted a Ford, and found the Focus too small and the Five Hundred too big that you would go buy a Mazda 6 instead, which is fine unless you're Ford. The Mazda 6 is the real sports car of the segment, and the best looking one too. (Until now that is). But that's just my opinion. And opinions are a bit like sub-$35,000 4-door cars: everybody has one.

For that reason, the playing field is full of worthy competitors, each with their own special strengths and weaknesses.

The Accord and Camry cater to the value minded consumer who likes such boring things as economy, sensibility and long term peace of mind. Most people who buy these already have one in the driveway and have owned at least one before. The Accord and Camry are the best choices in the class if you don't like to be terribly excited by a vehicle. The Altima, the 6 and the G6 do the opposite. They offer things like tire smoking performance to us youngsters who like to go tearing around underground
2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6 (Photo: Justin Pritchard, Auto123)
parking lots at 3 am, usually sideways. They flaunt dual exhaust pipes, big wheels and even spoilers in back. The Altima and the 6 brush all that boring econo-value-sensibility stuff under the rug to maintain their youthful appeal. All this to say that the market seems to be fairly divided. On one hand, we've got cars that convey sensibility and value, for our parents. On the other, style and performance, for you and I. Where will the Fusion fit?

Somewhere in the middle. It can't go for long term value leader, Honda owns that title. Best bang for the buck? Hyundai has that one covered. Turns out the Fusion is aimed to offer buyers value and functionality as well as reliable performance at the same time, without one overlapping the benefits of the other. It's got one other thing going for it too - the styling.
Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert