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Ford Fusion CD931 (2012-on): Review, Problems, and Specs

The Ford Fusion is an essential car in the Blue Oval's North American lineup. Launched in late 2012 as a 2013 model, the second-generation Fusion later provided the base for the Mondeo sold in Europe. The Fusion is an enormous improvement over its lackluster predecessor and has won praise for the sweet balance between sharp handling and composed ride quality, as well as the quiet cabin and fuel-efficient turbocharged engines. Not to mention that the Fusion has remarkable depth when it comes to engine choices: it offers four gasoline engines, a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and optional all-wheel-drive. The facelift introduced for the 2017 model year has even brought a 325 hp V6 Sport trim, so there's a Fusion for everyone.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Sleek design
  • Powerful twin-turbo V6 (from 2017 onwards)
  • Fuel-efficient turbocharged and hybrid versions
  • Quiet cabin
  • Fun to drive, available with AWD

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Infotainment system is less intuitive to use than some rival systems
  • Less spacious than some competitors
  • No diesel option

Stay Away From
  • Underpowered 2.5L engine
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • December 2016: Ford recalled certain model year 2017 Fusion vehicles to replace the left hand, second-row seat back frame that was improperly welded
  • December 2016: Certain model year 2013-2016 Ford Fusions were recalled to apply a protective coating to the seat belt cable to prevent the front seat belt anchor cable from failing
  • April 2016: Ford quarantined certain model year 2016 Fusion vehicles before their sale to replace the front driver seat track rail that was improperly welded
  • October 2015: Certain model year 2016 Fusion sedans were recalled to replace the fuel tank that might have insufficient wall thickness
  • April 2015: Ford recalled certain model year 2013-2015 Fusion models to apply sealer and replace the steering gear motor bolts that were prone to corrosion
  • April 2015: Certain model year 2013-2014 Fusion sedans were recalled to replace all four door latches with an improved part
  • November 2014: Ford recalled certain model year 2014-2015 Fusion, 2015 Fusion Energi, and 2015 Fusion Hybrid vehicles to fix an issue that allowed drivers to remove the key even when the transmission was not in Park
  • September 2014: Ford recalled certain model year 2013-2014 Fusions to replace the Restraint Control Module (RCM) because coating on some portions may crack, leading to malfunctions in the deployment of airbags and seat belt pretensioners
  • April 2014: Certain 2013-2014 Ford Fusion vehicles were recalled to replace the front seat backs that might become loose or lean while driving
  • May 2013: Ford recalled certain 2013 Fusion sedans to replace a faulty steering gear that might cause impaired steering, including the loss of steering control
  • December 2012: Certain 2013 Fusion vehicles equipped with 1.6L engines were recalled to inspect the engine for coolant system leaks and reprogram the vehicles' powertrain control module and instrument cluster with an updated calibration and overheat strategy software
  • November 2012: Ford recalled certain 2013 Fusion sedans to replace a faulty headlamp assembly

Car Details
Powertrain

From 2013 to 2016 model years, the Fusion offers four gasoline engine choices, a hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid. The standard engine is a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 175 hp that's a bit underpowered and lacks torque. A better choice would be one of the turbocharged EcoBoost units: a 178 hp 1.6 liter (retired for 2015), an 181 hp 1.5-liter (introduced in 2014), and a 240 hp 2.0-liter. Something the Fusion lacked was a V6 option, but that changed with the facelift for the 2017 model year that brought the 325 hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Sport version. Eco-conscious buyers can choose from the Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion Energy plug-in hybrid. Each combines a 2.0-liter iVCT Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with an electric motor, for a combined output of 188 hp and 195 hp, respectively.


Handling

The Ford Fusion is not a sports sedan, but it feels nimble and precise in corners, with minimal body roll. The steering is accurate, and the suspension offers the right balance between handling sharpness and comfort — while favoring the latter. All-wheel-drive versions benefit from increased traction and are safer on slippery surfaces, but a standard front-wheel-drive model is just good enough on most occasions. The Sport model introduced for the 2017 model year is the clear choice for sports sedan lovers. As for the Hybrid and Energi models, they are more fun to drive than any hybrid or plug-in hybrid competitor.


Safety

The second-generation Ford Fusion is among the safest cars in its segment, a fact attested by the crashworthiness ratings received from both the NHTSA and IIHS. In government testing, the 2017 Fusion received a five-star overall rating, with four stars for frontal crash, five stars for side crash, and four stars for rollover. The IIHS gave it the "Top Safety Pick+" label for 2013 and 2014, and the "Top Safety Pick" label for 2017. The facelifted model received the maximum "Good" rating in all crash scenarios, the top "Superior" rating for crash avoidance & mitigation, but got the lowest "Poor" mark for the headlights.

Comfort

The good ride quality is one of the Fusion's defining features. The suspension swallows road irregularities without drama and the cabin remains silent most of the time. Highway cruising is remarkably quiet and refined, and the seats make long trips a pleasure. The driver can easily find the right position behind the wheel thanks to the highly-adjustable power seat, and benefits from good visibility out the front and sides of the car. However, visibility through the sloping rear window suffers, which is most likely why Ford offers a standard rearview camera.


Quality

As mentioned earlier on, there's a Fusion for everyone. It may not be a premium model, but the new-for-2017 Platinum trim can easily be mistaken for one, due to its leather seats with contrast piping and stitched dashboard. However, lesser grades are less spectacular, without looking cheap. The finishes are high-quality, and most surfaces are nicely textured. Ford's preference for all-black interiors makes the Fusion's cabin a bit uninviting, though. On base models, the center stack lacks a clean look because of the multitude of buttons. Thankfully, the optional MyFord Touch and SYNC3 (from 2017) infotainment systems solve that problem.


Practicality

The Fusion offers plenty of headroom and legroom for front passengers, but at the rear things are different. The 60/40-split folding rear seats offer generous legroom (thanks to the fact that the front seats are mounted high enough off the floor), but the sedan's sloping roofline eats into rear headroom a bit. Still, the Fusion is comparable to rivals in this respect, offering enough space for average-size adults. The trunk has a capacity of 16 cu-ft, which places the Fusion somewhere in the middle of the midsize sedan segment. If you want the Hybrid or the Energi plug-in hybrid, you must know they offer reduced boot volumes: 12 cu-ft and 8.2 cu-ft, respectively.


Infotainment

The infotainment system is a weak spot of the Ford Fusion, at least until the 2017 mid-cycle refresh that brought the SYNC 3 interface. 2013-2015 model year Fusions featured fiddly touch-sensitive pads on the center console that were thankfully replaced by more user-friendly buttons for 2016. The MyFord Touch infotainment system is too complicated and distracting to use, but if you go for a 2017 Fusion, you won't have to worry about that because it features the (optional) much-improved SYNC 3 interface. It's more responsive to inputs, and the larger virtual buttons are easier to press than the old system's small bars and boxes.

Efficiency

It should come as no surprise that the most fuel-efficient model in the Fusion lineup is the Energi plug-in hybrid. The 2017 model is EPA-rated at 97 MPGe, thanks to an all-electric driving range of 21 miles (34 km). The Fusion Hybrid doesn't fare too bad either, with a combined fuel economy rating of 42 mpg (43 city/41 highway). If you don't want a hybrid, the next best choice is a front-wheel-drive Fusion equipped with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which returns an EPA-rated 27 mpg combined (23 city/34 highway). The standard 2.5L and optional 2.0L EcoBoost gasoline engines each return 25 mpg combined — 21 mpg city/32 mpg highway for the former and 21 mpg city/31 highway for the latter.


Equipment

Whatever Fusion you choose, you can't complain about insufficient standard features. An entry-level 2017 Fusion S, for example, comes fitted with automatic headlights, LED taillights, 16-inch alloys, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a rearview camera, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a height-adjustable driver's seat, and a four-speaker sound system, among other things. Besides the V6 engine and AWD, a 2017 Fusion Sport adds adjustable dampers, leather and suede upholstery, a nine-speaker audio system, 19-inch wheels, and much more.


Acquisition

The Ford Fusion competes in a highly-disputed segment with models like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and the like. A standard 2017 Ford Fusion S starts at about $23,000, including a $875 destination charge. All grades are priced similarly to its competitors, so you're going to have a hard time deciding as all the cars listed above are very competent. Where the Fusion trumps them is in the handling department, the breadth of the lineup, and the styling — although the latter is obviously a subjective criterion. It's also good to know the Fusion's resale value isn't too far off the segment's leaders, the Camry and the Accord.


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