Some thought the styling was a bit more tepid. While some had kind words for the Fusion's big headlamps and a bold, chrome grille, while BusinessWeek turned to the rear end and found the Fusion's "perky backside" less compelling than the Toyota Camry's "sculpted butt."
Autobytel had the least admiration for the Fusion, saying that its "plain vanilla" exterior paled against the "eye-popping" sedans from Chrysler. "Aside from the distinctive styling of the front end, the Fusion is just another sedan," they wrote.
In our opinion, the 2008 Ford Fusion's a lot better than plain vanilla--although the entire class of family sedans is looking better these days. It seems plain isn't enough any more to sell even the most basic four-doors. The Fusion succeeds because it has the right attitude up front, in its wide and bright grille, all the way back to its Benz-like taillamps.
The road tests we researched had some complaints for the Fusion's interior. The neat-and-clean theme from the Fusion's sheetmetal carries over to the cabin, where it meets with more mixed results. ConsumerGuide calls the Fusion's interior design "understated," with "some plastics that look and feel cheap." Edmunds.com agrees with that thought, but admires the cabin for its "more cohesive look" that comes from "crisp lines and coordinated textures."
FamilyCar.com drove a Fusion with a more upscale interior than our test vehicle, and found that the "uncluttered" interior was "well laid out" and that the "instrument cluster was clean and easy to read," as were the climate and audio controls in the Ford.
Car interiors have improved greatly, and the Fusion has a contemporary look inside but needs a touch better execution. We agreed with the comments on the Fusion's interior trim. Particularly in the black plastic of our test car, it felt like this Ford car had missed a step that Toyota and Honda have conquered -- making ordinary materials look far richer than they might seem. Ford actually offers a "piano black" trim option, but we preferred the more conventional, metallic-look trim, which seemed richer and more refined. The lighting in the cabin also could use some integration -- the green-lit gauges don't quite match with the rest of the car, but multi-color ambient LED lighting is a new option for 2008.