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Good design and family-friendly intentions aren't always mutually exclusive, and the 2015 Ford Fusion offers some great evidence of that. It's quite spacious, comfortable, and full-featured, and it remains one of the most attractive vehicles in its segment.
Even two years after its redesign, none but the Mazda 6 carry the same kind of daring image that you find in the mid-size Ford Fusion. It's handsome and athletic in appearance, high-tech inside, and relatively fuel-efficient—making it an incredibly compelling consideration for the mid-size sedan shopper. That's why we named it our 2013 Best Car to Buy.
For this model year, the Fusion sees a handful of new standard and optional features, as well as an available Terra Cotta style package for SE and Titanium model interiors. One feature we loved—its manual transmission option—has been deleted.
Whether you choose to look at each individual detail or the sum of its parts, the Fusion's design is a standout for sedan styling at any price. The looks is half-Hyundai, Half-Aston Martin, thanks to its hexagonal grille, and we see the rakish roofline of the Audi A7 in its rear quarters. In profile, it's 100 percent Ford, though–falling in nicely with the brand's other vehicles. The interior blends excellent materials with advanced technologies, all of which are controlled from its tablet-like center console.
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 2015, the inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers is now available on the Fusion.
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. In the middle is a 1.5-liter turbo four, coupled to an automatic transmission. The former manual transmission model was one of our favorites, and kind of a loner in this segment--which explains why it's been dropped.
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 2015 is a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber.
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, and a navigation system are options, as are all-wheel drive and a suite of safety features like lane-keeping assist and active park assist.