The base Fusion gets Ford/Mazda's new 2.5-liter four cylinder that also finds a home under the hoods of the 2009 Ford Escape, Mercury Milan, and 2009 Mazda6 among other corporate cousins. The uplevel 3.0-liter V-6 gains 19 horsepower over its predecessor, and a 3.5-liter V-6 (also feature in products like the 2009 Ford Flex) that spins out 263 hp is available in the Fusion Sport model (pictured). All engines may be teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission that Ford claims is in part responsible for mpg ratings besting the Fusion's competitors (3 mpg better than the Honda Accord on the highway, and 2 mpg better than the 2009 Toyota Camry).
Ford wisely notes that "fuel economy continues to top customers’ purchase-consideration lists," claiming that 38 percent of those intending on a new purchase claim they'd sacrifice performance for improved economy. But Ford intends to offer them a "no-compromise proposition" wherein they may enjoy both improved economy and high performance.--Colin Mathews