The art of badge engineering is alive and well, folks, and never was the line between upmarket and mainstream more blurred than it is between Ford and Mercury products these days. What we have here is a Ford Fusion with a different front bumper, a new grille and hood as well as a reworked rump. Thankfully, though, the detailing of both the Fusion and the Milan are so distinctive that the two cars don’t appear quite as closely related as they actually are. The bold horizontal bar arrangement of the Fusion’s grilles couldn’t be any more distinct from the Milan’s more restrained and classier vertical “waterfall” bars. The rear, too, is very different at first glance, with LED tail lamps that spill onto the trunk-lid and a lot more chrome than the Ford’s minimalist but stylish posterior.
Stand back, though, or park two side-by-side and the similarities are obvious. The two cars are essentially identical, sharing all the same glasswork and most of the same sheetmetal, not to mention all the hidden hardware like engines, suspensions, transmissions, and electronics. Even the interior is carried over, save for some new dials, a new steering wheel boss and some Mercury badges where applicable. It is the scantest veneer of… what’s that word carmakers like to use so much? Ah, yes… “premium” quality that I’ve ever encountered. It’s as if the Fusion’s putting on a fake Italian accent and wearing a knock-off Armani suit.