Being the car guy in the family is sometimes a difficult thing. Case in point is when someone asks for your help with buying a car. About a year or two ago, my dad asked me for some help with buying a new midsize sedan. He had two contenders in mind to replace his 2006 Ford Fusion - the new Fusion or the Nissan Altima. At the time, I had just reviewed the Altima and thought the four-cylinder powertrain needed a bit more refinement. The Fusion had its own set problems as the 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder - the engine my dad was considering - was having a number of reliability issues. There was also MyFord Touch which had a number of problems. At the time, I was leaning towards the Fusion when my dad threw a curveball; what about the last-generation Fusion? After giving it a few moments of thought, I thought it would be the best choice at the time.
So fast forward to now when a 2015 Ford Fusion Titanium AWD came in for a week’s evaluation and I found myself wondering if my dad had made the right call with going with an older Fusion. Well, let’s find out.
As for the Fusion’s interior, I wished Ford had done more in terms of design. Step inside and you find yourself surrounded by materials in black and sliver. While the company does deserve some credit for using high-quality materials throughout the interior, I wished Ford’s designers had taken some of the enthusiasm from the exterior and placed it inside.
My tester came equipped with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, This system has been criticized for a number of issues including non-responsive capacitive buttons, laggy performance, and a questionable voice recognition system. Ford has been ironing a number of problems and the good news is that some of the problems are gone. The capacitive buttons actually respond when pressed and a good amount of the lag is gone. But there is still a fair amount lag in the system. An example of this comes when going to my presets on the radio and it taking a few seconds to respond. Also, I found the voice recognition system not recognizing my voice. I tried using the commands the system provides, but it couldn’t understand anything I said to it. Just for a laugh, I swore at the system and the response it gave back was something to effect of ‘Do you need help?’
For Powertrain and Handling Impressions, See Page 2
Being the top-of-the-line Fusion, it means that it gets the turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic, and the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. My tester had the latter of the two drivetrains. Since this was a turbocharged four-cylinder, I was expecting it to be like other ones I have driven where power would come on instantaneously before running out of steam midway through the rpm band. In the case of the 2.0L EcoBoost, power doesn’t come on instantly. Instead it feels more like a V6, gradually building up power as the revs climb. It should also be noted the 2.0L EcoBoost is quite refined with barely any noise coming from the hood. The six-speed automatic is quick and responsive for any situation you throw at it.
Driving around in the Fusion presented a mostly comfortable and quiet ride. I say mostly due to my tester being fitted with optional 19-inch wheels which do let in a few more bumps and imperfections. On the freeway, there is barely the hint of road and wind noise. Out on a twisty road, the Fusion handles quite well. The car barely has any body lean and is very nimble. Steering is quite hefty, but more exuberant drivers will wish for a bit more feel.
So at the end my week, I felt a bit mixed about the Fusion. On one hand, Ford has done a lot to make the Fusion stand out with an upscale look, impressive powertrain, and a nice balance between comfort and sport. But there are some big downsides to the Fusion as well: MyFordTouch still has a fair amount of issues, the rear seat is kind of tight, and the optional AWD results in some poor MPGs. The biggest sticking point though is the price. A base Fusion Titanium starts at $30,390. With AWD and options equipped on my tester, it rose to $38,820. That price puts in the range of base and decently equipped compact luxury sedans, Drop AWD and the price goes to around $36,000. Still that's a lot of money for a midsize sedan, especially when many competitors offer a lot of the same features for less money.
So when I think back about my dad and whether or not he made the right call with going the older Fusion and not the newer one, I can say now that he made the right call.
Disclaimer: Ford Provided the Fusion, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Trim: Titanium AWD
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L Four-Cylinder
Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 5500
Torque @ RPM: 270 @ 3000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
Curb Weight: 3,821 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Hermosillo, Mexico
Base Price: $32,600
As Tested Price: $38,820* (Includes $825 Destination Charge and $490 Sync and Sound Discount)
Driver Assist Package - $1,200.00
Adaptive Cruise Control - $995.00
Active Park Assist - $895.00
Navigation System - $795.00
19-Inch Aluminum Wheels - $695.00
Heated and Cooled Front Seats - $395.00
Ruby Red Tinted Clearcoat - $395.00
Rear Inflatable Seatbelts - $190.00
Premium Floor Mats W/ Trunk Mat - $175.00
Heated Steering Wheel - $150.00