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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall; five stars frontal; four stars side
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear impact; 'good,' roof strength; 'acceptable,' small overlap frontal
Top Safety Pick+
The Fusion's coupelike profile means those front windows do not provide the most visibility.
The Ford Fusion was an all-new vehicle last year, and with some of the latest safety features plus a new architecture reflecting Ford's latest in occupant protection measures, this is one very safe four-door sedan.
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. Those IIHS ratings, by the way, include very respectable 'acceptable' scores in the new small overlap frontal test that's becoming part of the Institute's battery of tests. That rating, combined with 'good' ratings in frontal, side, rear, and roof strength tests, together qualifies the Fusion for the '+' nod.
Separately, in federal testing, the Fusion has earned five stars overall, including five stars in the frontal test and four stars for side impact.
Standard safety equipment includes eight standard airbags, dual front knee airbags, active headrests, and a Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio-streaming interface, along with SYNC phone and audio connectivity.
A rearview camera isn't offered on the base model but is an inexpensive option on the SE and standard on the Titanium--part of a larger 8-inch LCD touchscreen that's part of the MyFord Touch display. Rear parking sensors are an option on the SE and standard on the Titanium, too. And for 2014, the inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers is now available on the Fusion.
You'll need to step up to the top Titanium and add an option package if you want all the latest safety technologies. They include a lane-departure warning and lane-keeping system, that nudges the car gently back on track if its forward-facing camera detects that it's crossed the lane divider; adaptive cruise control; blind-spot monitors for the side rearview mirrors, with cross-traffic alerts that make backing out of parking spots a little safer; and active park assist, which dials the car into a parallel spot while you operate the pedals.
Thanks to relatively slim roof pillars, visibility in the Fusion is excellent; you'll find the rearview camera useful, though many drivers won't have issue with an over-the-shoulder glance.
Top-tier safety ratings fit right alongside available accident-avoiding features like blind-spot monitors.