Since its inception, the Ford Fusion has always been a respectable car to put in your driveway or garage, but the first two generations were more likely to be pur-chased by corporate fleets for roving salesman. If you were given the choice be-tween the Fusion and the two other major fleet players in North America -- the Malibu or Sebring/200 -- the choice was clear.
These days, the waters have been slightly muddied. The Malibu is, well, good. And the Chrysler 200 has performed a complete about-face. Is the Fusion still the crème de la crème of the domestic midsize segment?
What is the Ford Fusion?
After the failure that was the Ford Contour, the Dearborn-based automaker had to re-evaluate their midsize car strategy. Instead of importing and rebadging the next Mondeo, Ford decided to create an all-new midsize sedan with proper American proportions in 2005.
Fast-forward 10 years, the Ford Fusion is well into its third generation and has seen slight changes since its introduction in 2012 (as a 2013 model). These days the Fusion lineup is powered solely by 4-cylinder engines -- naturally aspirated and turbocharged -- measuring between 1.5L and 2.5L in displacement. Front- and all-wheel drive is available, along with the choice of two hybrid models.
The base Fusion S starts at $21,999 equipped with a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. The top of the range Titanium model costs $33,299 equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive without optional extras.
Our tester, also a Titanium model, came with a laundry list of options tipping the monetary scales at $40,734 before A/C tax and freight.
Driving the 2015 Ford Fusion
The first thing you notice once you get behind the wheel of the Fusion and pull away is the amount of power available from the 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder. Torque availability is almost immediate and, thanks to all-wheel drive, none of it is wasted on needless wheel spin. Instead, the Fusion just plants itself and launches off the line, which comes as a surprise when you’ve just gotten out of a car with half the power.
That power does come at a cost, however, as the little four-pot is thirsty. Unless you are just nudging it along and trying your best to stay out of the boost, the 2.0L EcoBoost mill will drink just as quickly as a V6. If given a few more gears (the Fu-sion is only equipped with a 6-speed automatic), it might have better real-world fuel economy like the Chrysler 200.
However, the overall driving experience is pleasant, even upscale, when com-pared with the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu. Ford nailed the suspension tuning on the head. The all-wheel drive system is able to keep everything in order, as well.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Ford Fusion
Our tester was optioned with the Brick Red Interior package including very red seats. Personally, it was not my cup of tea, but all my passengers loved the colour combination and quality of leather used.
Equipped with voice-activated navigation, the 2015 Fusion delivers directions and tunes through the Microsoft-supplied SYNC MyFordTouch system. While others have stated its complexity, I still find it one of the easiest to get used to after an hour or two of driving. It will be replaced by another system, developed by Black-Berry’s QNX division (yay, Canada!) in the coming years.
It’s not just the centre stack receiving all the tech. The instrument panel is a highly configurable affair as well, and puts the desired information where drivers need it most: right in front of their faces. It’s also pleasing to the eye and easy to custom-ize through the steering wheel-mounted controls.
Most importantly, everything felt like it was manufactured and bolted together to the highest quality Ford could afford. The Fusion really is the midsize benchmark these days, and for good reason.
Comparing the 2015 Ford Fusion
The midsize sedan segment might be stagnating a bit in Canada, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great options available, especially with all-wheel drive. The Subaru Legacy and Chrysler 200 immediately come to mind. Aim a little larger and you’ll also find the Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Acura TLX.