Making its debut back in 2006, the Ford Fusion is a true people’s car. As a four-door, a mid-size sedan that seats five passengers comfortably, this model has managed to adapt and grow according to consumer needs. With two generations and multiple refreshes, this zippy ride is currently available in gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. The Ford Fusion has shown to be one of the best used cars on the market, and continues to be strong in its class.
The First Fusion
Manufactured in 2005 and released the following year, the original Fusion was meant to be the “New Face of Ford” with its stylish 3-bar grille and matching bumper/fascia design. These futuristic stylings were first seen in 2003 at the North American International Auto Show on the Ford 427 – a concept vehicle.
Available in three trim levels (S, SE, and SEL), the base model was powered by a 2.3L I4 engine that pumped out 160 HP and 156 lb-ft of torque. Buyers could also choose between a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood of the next two trims was a 3.0L V6 engine that generated a whopping 221 HP and 205 lb-ft of torque. With Ford having a reputation for brute strength, it makes sense that the Fusion would be offered with more power in mind.
The sedan quickly gained in popularity throughout the United States. Auto magazines such as Car and Driver and Road and Track had the Fusion come out on top over its Japanese competitors, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
In 2007, the vehicle underwent its first refresh for the SE and SEL models. All-wheel-drive became an option as well as Sirius Satellite Radio. Fold-flat seats, an auxiliary jack, and a slew of protective airbags were also added to these trim levels. However, 2008 was when the Fusion truly started to blossom.
Just two years after its initial release, the Ford Fusion got some advanced upgrades. ABS and a tire pressure monitoring system became standard safety features. Along with rear parking assist, the SYNC infotainment interface, and interior ambient lighting all became options. Two new packages were also made available. The Sport Appearance Package added 18-inch aluminum wheels, body-colored fog lamp accents, a smokey grille, and a sleek rear spoiler to the exterior. The inside also saw cosmetic improvements with red stitching on leather surfaces and red seat inserts. A stiffer suspension gave the ride a smoother feel, as well. The second package was known as the Moon and Tune that added a power moonroof and eight-speaker Audiophile sound system with an amplifier for a high-quality music experience.
By 2010, it was time to shake things up again. This was a big year for Ford as they released another refresh for the Fusion and unveiled the first hybrid version.
The base S trim level was powered by an improved 2.5L I4 engine that generated 175 HP and 172 lb-ft of torque. It also came standard with an auxiliary jack and four-speaker AM/FM stereo with MP3 compatibility and a CD player. The SE and SEL also saw enhancements to their 3.0L V6 engine, which could then pump out 240 HP and 223 lb-ft of torque. However, due to the popularity of the former Sport Appearance Package, Ford decided to release a sport trim level to appease customers. This athletic version of the Fusion was powered by a 3.5L V6 engine that produced 263 HP and 249 lb-ft of torque. It could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, which is pretty impressive for a mid-size sedan. Rolling on 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark grille, leather seating, lower body skirts, and a rear spoiler for aerodynamics, this sleek beast rode like a dream.
The groundbreaker for the 2010 model year was, of course, the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The first of its kind for the American automaker, this car, coupled the 2.5L I4 engine with a hybrid electric motor. It generated a surprising 156 HP and 136 lb-ft of torque and had a fuel economy set at 39 mpg combined (41 city/36 highway). Giving it a futuristic look, the digital instrument panel and Eco driving mode helped the driver keep track of battery life and fuel efficiency. Kelley Blue Book put the Fusion Hybrid on its list of “Top 10 Green Car,” and it outranked the Toyota Camry Hybrid in fuel efficiency.
The Second Generation of Fusions
Unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the 2013 Ford Fusion kicked off the second generation. Designed by a team of engineers from Europe, the vehicle received mixed reviews. This model had a wheelbase that was 4.8 inches longer than previous versions, but it somehow felt smaller on the inside. The trunk, for example, dropped from 16.5 to 16 cubic feet. However, new safety features like a rearview camera, blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alerts made the Fusion more attractive to small families.
The base S trim level came standard with entertainment upgrades like a USB port, auxiliary jack, the SYNC infotainment interface, Sirius Satellite Radio, a backup camera, and Bluetooth for hands-free calling. With advanced technology such as that, it would have been hard to beat the Ford Fusion.
The Titanium trim level replaced the SEL and added synthetic leather and heated seating for style and comfort. My Ford Touch was also added along with an SD card slot, push-button start, and a Sony surround-sound system.
For the second generation Fusion Hybrid, a few performance updates were in order. Lithium-ion batteries replaced the nickel-metal hydride batteries of the past. This seemingly simple upgrade enabled the Fusion Hybrid to outperform the Toyota Camry Hybrid in fuel efficiency yet again. The Fusion Energi (plug-in hybrid) was released that year as well.
A Generation to Last
The second generation of Ford Fusions is still in production today. Although, in 2017, they underwent another facelift with new packages, exterior styling, trim levels, and more. For example, the Platinum trim level was added as the top-of-the-line version. Luxury features on this particular model included a power moonroof, a chrome mesh grille, heated/cooled front seats covered in leather material, and a universal garage opener. Also new for that year, most models came standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless audio streaming of your personalized playlists.
From 2019 until now, Ford Fusion models come standard with the Co-Pilot 360 safety suite. This slew of advanced features includes blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, emergency braking, and automatic high beams. Rain-sensing wipers have also been added for convenience. The Fusion Energi (plug-in hybrid) now has an electric driving range of 26 miles. Which can be comforting for people who live in urban areas with daily rush hour traffic. The 1.5L Ecoboost engine is now standard on gasoline models and enables the Fusion to get better gas mileage.
An Uncertain Future
Even with its award-winning history, the Ford Fusion is in talks for being discontinued in the coming years. Ford has already dropped its full-size sedan, the Taurus, and its compact model, the Fiesta. As of now, the Ford Fusion is the only remaining sedan in the company’s lineup. Currently available are the S, SE, SEL, Titanium, Hybrid SE, Hybrid SEL, Hybrid Titanium, and Plug-In Hybrid Titanium. With adaptive cruise control, Stop-and-Go technology, and state-of-the-art navigation, this petite car is better than ever before.