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2010 Ford Fusion First Impressions (video)

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The future might be uncertain for GM and Chrysler, but at Ford, the morale must be a lot better. They started their crash diet two years ago, and they're not on the verge of destruction.

That's no reason for standing still, however, so Ford is aiming to resist the U.S. economy slump by offering solid new products, not far-away promises. The new Fusion is exactly that, and is more than ever a serious threat to the perennial mid-size leaders, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

The new Fusion is exactly that, and is more than ever a serious threat to the perennial mid-size leaders.

Bolder appearance
We're not talking about a total redesign from the ground up, but the changes to the 2010 Fusion are significant. Visually, the three-bar chrome grille is even more prominent, while the lower front bumper looks more dynamic. At the back, there are new taillights, decklid and bumper, too.

Inside, the Fusion gets a new instrument panel with blue illumination that replaces the old green and red setup. The seats, whatever the trim level, are also new and proved wonderfully supportive through the whole day of driving. What really impressed us is the level of fit and finish inside the car. The Fusion feels solid and well screwed together.

We were less impressed with the car's navigation system, unfortunately. It works well in general but many street names don't appear on the map, which complicates finding your way.

The safety features list grows longer with the 2010 model, as a blind spot monitor and a rear backup camera are optional on the SEL and Hybrid versions but standard on the Sport.

Four powertrain choices
Under the hood, the 4-cylinder gets an increase in displacement to 2.5 litres and now produces 175 horsepower, up by 15. Its performance still won't leave you breathless, but for most people it will do the job nicely; it's quiet while cruising and delivers good fuel economy; we averaged about 9 litres to 100 km. The 6-speed automatic works smoothly and at 100 km/h, the engine is spinning at just under 2,000 rpm.

The Fusion gets a new instrument panel with blue illumination that replaces the old green and red setup.