- Rock-star good looks
- Great cabin design
- Taut, inspired handling
- Manual transmission, excellent turbo fours
- Advances on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid front
- Just average back-seat room
- You pay a premium for the best mpg
- Gloss plastic interior trim
- No rearview camera on base car
The 2014 Ford Fusion has stunning good looks, satisfying performance, and top-notch safety and fuel economy--all without skimping on the interior space and ride comfort that really means something to mid-size sedan shoppers.
Wearing new looks for the 2014 model year, the Ford Fusion is breathtaking in its design, taking the family-friendly sedan into a fashion-forward area not often encountered.
Even a year later, the Fusion has probably the most radical design of any conventional mid-size sedan. The good looks are now gorgeous; the road manners, if anything, have grown even more athletic; and it's now one of the most tech-forward, fuel-efficient mid-size models As an overall package, it's everything almost any mid-size sedan buyer needs--and that's part of the reason why we named it our 2013 Best Car to Buy.The design's a standout whether you judge it by its impressive collection of details or how it wraps all these elements together, in context. A hexagon grille bends and bevels between headlamps and foglamps in a way that's half-Aston, half-Hyundai. We see the roofline of the Audi A7 from the rear quarters, with the LED taillamps punctuating that point. But take a look at the sideview and it's all Ford, with the details somehow making a greater sense in composite. Inside, it's functional and sleep, especially taking focus front and center at the touchscreen-driven MyFord Touch system and the tablet-like finish of the center-stack controls.
The base-level engine, a 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, doesn't come close to performing as well as the rakish design suggests, but it's adequate with the six-speed automatic. If we wanted the performance of a V-6, essentially, we'd head straight for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four, with its 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It's quick to rev, and the automatic's shifts click quickly via paddle controls. For 2014, last year's 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo is gone, replaced by a 1.5-liter turbo four. At the time of posting, we don't yet have power or fuel economy numbers for this new fuel-efficient pick of the lineup, but Ford will include engine start/stop in 1.5-liter automatic version, but we'd be more tempted by the great six-speed manual gearbox--a no-cost option on much of the lineup.
Even in its heaviest form, at about 3,700 pounds with the available all-wheel drive, the Fusion is quite light for this class, and with well-tuned steering and a taut yet absorbent feel, it has firm, flat, reassuring cornering that's not to the detriment of ride quality, combined with a nimble, eager feeling that's missing from most mid-size sedans--except for the latest Mazda 6. Of note for 2014 is a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber.
The Fusion's cabin isn't camped by the sexy silhouette, either. It's a little longer overall than before, with a much longer wheelbase, which adds up to better legroom all around. Thinner and firmer front seats also help bring a lot more back-seat space; and even the base manual front seats are quite comfortable and supportive. Headroom's great, provided you avoid the optional sunroof. And overall this is an interior that lends a feeling of quality, with good materials everywhere you look (and feel), great noise damping and vibration quelling, and satisfying sounds as you open and close doors. The trunk is 16 cubic feet, big for the class, and the Fusion has ample storage all around the cabin, with a stow space under the center stack, bottle holders in the doors, and a decently sized glovebox.
The safety assessment here is superb. Five-star overall ratings from the federal government plus IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status, as well as safety features like front knee airbags and standard Bluetooth hands-free all combine to give you a lot of reassurance. And for 2014, the inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers is now available on the Fusion.
Fully loaded, the Fusion fits just under $40,000, but some of the best builds--with the smaller EcoBoost engine--should slot just under $30,000. For that, you'll get navigation, blind-spot monitors, leather seats, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Even the base car includes cruise control; the usual power features; a CD player and an auxiliary jack; cloth seats; tilt/telescoping steering; and steering-wheel audio and phone controls. Power front seats, leather upholstery, a navigation system, and a rearview camera are options, as are all-wheel drive and a suite of safety features like lane-keeping assist and active park assist.