- More powerful AND more fuel-efficient
- SYNC audio/calling interface
- Improved interior quality and quietness
- Solid build quality
- New Sport and Hybrid models
- Rear seat-back release only in trunk
- Somewhat tight backseat
- Basic transmission has only "D" and "L" positions
- Sport model doesn't offer paddle shifters
If you seek proof that Detroit in general, and Ford in particular, can build a comfortable, high-quality, fine-driving, and hyper-efficient sedan that is more than competitive, look to the 2010 Ford Fusion.
The 2010 Ford Fusion is a mid-size four-door sedan that offers gasoline and hybrid power in either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.
In normal times, the Fusion, at only three model years old, would have been due for a minor refresh—some added features and a gussied-up nose and tail. Instead, Ford spent $650 million on a major overhaul affecting engines, transmissions, interiors, and styling. The result is a dramatically improved and refined mid-size sedan that comprises a full range of models, including a base gasoline four-cylinder model, a mid-level V-6, an exceptional hybrid, and a gutsy Sport model with a big-bore V-6.
The 2010 Fusion's new styling looks sharp, especially the aggressive front end that puts a new face on Ford's three-bar grille. The design requires a new hood and front fenders, and the result is as sculptural as it is contemporary. The changes at the rear are subtler and, along with updating the look, improve visibility because the third brake light is now mounted at the top of the trunk lid. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid model will appeal to those who don't want to flaunt their sensibilities; only the Hybrid badges give you obvious visual confirmation that you're looking at the most efficient mid-size sedan on the road.
Including the 2010 Fusion Hybrid, Ford now offers four individual powertrains: a 2.5-liter I-4 (175 horsepower), a 2.5-liter I-4 hybrid (192 hp), an E-85-capable 3.0-liter V-6 (240 hp), and a 3.5-liter V-6 (263 hp). Six-speed automatic transmissions are standard on the V-6 models and optional on the non-hybrid four-cylinder. The standard gearbox on the I-4 is a surprisingly nice six-speed manual.
Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive can be ordered on select 2010 Ford Fusion models. The Hybrid comes only with front-wheel drive.
While official EPA estimates were not available when this Bottom Line was uploaded, expect to see figures of 39 mpg city, 37 mpg highway. During several extensive test drives in California, pilots from TheCarConnection.com averaged over 42 mpg, so Ford's estimates may prove conservative.
This excellent fuel economy comes from a sophisticated hybrid powertrain, hooked to a quiet 155-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that runs using the ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle. The electric motor housed within the transmission unit adds 36 hp at full throttle, providing a total of 191 hp. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid can propel itself on electric power alone for short distances and at low speeds, and a lighter, more powerful battery pack allows the gasoline engine to shut off more often.
Perhaps the best compliment that one could bestow upon any hybrid is that it performs as well as a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid does. Acceleration is smooth and strong, much like a small V-6. Transitions between running all-electric (up to 47 mph) and gas and electric or just gas are barely perceptible.
While the current environment isn't quite perfect for the introduction of the Fusion line's first dedicated performance model, that doesn't stop the Sport from being truly entertaining. Power from its large V-6 comes on strong and smooth with refinement befitting a Lincoln—no surprise since this engine is used in Lincoln products. The Sport's handling is so tied down, thanks to unique suspension tuning, that Ford feels comfortable letting journalists autocross the car, something completely out of character with the sedan's purpose in life. However, flying around cones in a parking lot proves that the car has the chops to precisely clip apexes, delivering a feeling of control that eludes the mid-size market's mainstay, the less buttoned-down Toyota Camry.
For 2010, the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder and both V-6 engines are quiet, smooth, and significantly more fuel-efficient. All 2010 Ford Fusion models are significantly more refined inside than the outgoing model thanks to more (and more efficiently applied) insulation, thicker glass, and additional seals on the doors. Furthermore, the entire instrument panel is new and made from a seamless, soft-to-the-touch material that fits with tight tolerances for a high-quality appearance.
The instruments sport a 3-D look that is easy to read even in direct sunlight. The middle area of the instrument panel (called the center stack) is also reconfigured to accommodate an eight-inch (that's big) LCD monitor included in vehicles ordered with the voice-activated navigation system. Hybrid models get their own interior upgrade, in the form of an Eco-Guide instrument cluster.
As as result, these interior changes yield a comfortable driving environment with a good seating position, improved visibility, and much less noise. The Ford Fusion's backseat still feels a bit more cramped than some other mid-size sedans, though, and the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid model lacks split-folding rear seats, which are sacrificed to accommodate the battery pack.
In terms of equipment, the 2010 Ford Fusion is well equipped even in its base "S" configuration. Standard features include a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, air conditioning with cabin filtration, a CD audio system that is MP3 compatible, split-folding rear seats, and power windows. Content builds up through the following trim levels: SE, Sport, and SEL. This last model includes the fully equipped SEL model with leather seats, power everything, SecurityCode keyless pad, SYNC, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Hybrid model comes with features equivalent to the SEL trim.
On top of the dense standard feature list, the 2010 Fusion also offers the following as options (depending on model): a reverse camera with a screen embedded in the rearview mirror or the NAV unit (if equipped), Sirius Travel Link, a moonroof, and a Sony audio system.
Regarding safety, the 2010 Ford Fusion offers what has become the standard quiver of features: ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, tire-pressure monitoring system, remote keyless entry, and six airbags. Extra safety-directed arrows include the Blind Spot Information System, rearview-sensing system with camera, and 911 Assist for vehicles with SYNC—all options on most models.
The Ford Fusion earns mostly five-star ratings from the federal government, along with only the best scores from the insurance-affiliated IIHS. The IIHS deems the 2010 Fusion a Top Safety Pick.
2010 Ford Fusion
A major styling upgrade is just what the doctor ordered for the 2010 Ford Fusion.
The 2010 Ford Fusion has been significantly restyled for this model year, and while the latest Ford Fusion isn't exactly the next generation of Fusion, it does represent a major evolutionary step.
The Ford Fusion and Ford Fusion Hybrid are both "five-passenger mid-size [sedans]," according to the Detroit News, and they are available in a wide range of trims. ConsumerGuide reports that, along with the "new Sport, Fusion should reprise S, SE, and SEL trim levels, all with front-wheel drive." The most noticeable change to the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and its conventional siblings comes in the styling department, where Motor Trend says that a "gargantuan love-it-or-hate-it three-bar chrome grille sits out front." Editors at Motor Trend clearly love it, calling the latest Ford Fusion the "best looking of the new Fords." Jalopnik is also impressed with the "sleeker styling," which they find even more impressive since "the original Fusion was pretty strong on [that] front to begin with." Jalopnik expands upon their earlier praise, noticing that the "freshened grille is combined with lower bumper styling elements reminiscent of the Euro-only Ford Mondeo along with a character line along the hood which all combines to [create] new faces that's substantial without being too flashy." The Detroit News comments that Ford's ultimate goal with the refresh was to "provide a more aggressive look" to the 2010 Ford Fusion, something that rarely happens in the mid-size sedan segment.
The interior of the 2010 Ford Fusion also wins some serious praise in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, especially the styling found on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Jalopnik feels that the interior "changes made were for the better," and reports that "by moving the belt line of the IP up, the 2010 Fusion now appears less cramped and more inviting."
The only real complaint about the interior comes from Jalopnik, where reviewers say that they're "not sure how we feel about the painted accents in the Sport model which remind us more of boy-racers than urban sophisticates."
2010 Ford Fusion
If you're looking for a sedan that’s a little more exciting to drive than the rest, consider the 2010 Ford Fusion.
The traditional mid-size sedan segment is definitely not known for its grin-inducing performance attributes, but the 2010 Ford Fusion isn't a traditional mid-size sedan. Instead, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the newest Ford Fusion is actually engaging to drive—well, at least more so than its competitors.
The 2010 Ford Fusion offers a range of engines that vary in power and displacement according to trim level. ConsumerGuide says a "175-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder replaces [the] 160-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder" on today's base model, while a "240-hp 3.0-liter V-6" is available on uplevel models. ConsumerGuide also notes that the Ford Fusion Sport has "a 263-hp 3.5-liter V-6," and the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid pairs "a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor for 177 hp total."
Both engines win praise for their spirited performance, even the base four-cylinder. Autoblog claims, "for driving enthusiasts, the Fusion of choice might actually be the four-cylinder, six-speed manual version," since the lighter powertrain makes it the "lightest, least nose heavy" version of the Ford Fusion. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid also takes significant strides in terms of hybrid performance, with Motor Trend remarking that it "can operate in all-electric mode at a cruising speed of up to 47 mph."
The available transmissions fare decently well in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, but the automotive enthusiasts understandably pine for a manual on the higher-output engines. They will have to wait for another iteration of the Ford Fusion, however, since ConsumerGuide says that "V-6 versions [will] only have a six-speed automatic," while the base four-cylinder gets "a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission" and the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid offers "a continuously variable automatic (CVT)." Autoblog does offer some consolation for enthusiasts, reporting that the V-6 offers "a manual select shift gate," and while they're "generally not a fan of these manual mode automatics," they do give the Ford Fusion points for getting "the orientation of the sequential shift gate in what [they] consider to be the correct position. Tap backwards for an up-shift and forwards for a down shift." As for the CVT on the hybrid, the Detroit News comments that it "provides smooth acceleration and helps with the car's extremely quiet ride."
Fuel economy for the 2010 Ford Fusion is much improved this year, according to Ford. While official EPA numbers aren't out yet, Jalopnik claims that the four-cylinder "gets at least five miles per gallon better fuel economy than the outgoing 2.3 liter," while the V-6 "gets a one to two MPG bump in economy."
The ride and handling aspects of the new Ford Fusion are better than most competitors, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Autoblog testers note that the Ford Fusion "still understeers at the limit as would be expected, but overall it was much better balanced" and significantly better than the Toyota Camry. The brakes work well, according to Automobile Magazine, which says that "the brakes simply stop the car without calling attention to themselves... unlike the hard-to-modulate brakes in some other hybrids." Automobile Magazine also reports that the new Ford Fusion features a "tighter turning circle," which is a welcome improvement for those who spend a lot of time navigating parking lots. Finally, Jalopnik reviewers find that "the suspension gets tweaks to improve ride and handling."
2010 Ford Fusion
Comfort & Quality
Improved quality and a quieter ride make the 2010 Ford Fusion even more appealing to consumers looking for upscale quality at bargain prices.
Ford takes the 2010 Ford Fusion in for a pretty thorough makeover. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com appreciate the effort, and the latest Ford Fusion's many virtues in the comfort and quality department are well-received by the automotive press.
The 2010 Ford Fusion, which the Detroit News calls a "five-passenger mid-sized sedan," seats five in a pinch, but four is more realistic given the cramped confines of the rear seat. The Detroit News reports that headroom is decent, at 38.7 inches up front and 37.8 inches in the back, although legroom shrinks from an acceptable 42.3 inches to 36.7 in the rear. Jalopnik reviewers present a minority opinion, finding that "the cabin is roomy, allowing plenty of space for five human beings."
Cargo space inside the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and conventional sedans isn't exactly expansive, but there are few complaints in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Once again, the Detroit News provides solid numbers, pegging luggage capacity at 11.8 cubic feet. Car and Driver also notes that Ford's "customizable ambient/cupholder lighting system" makes drink storage a bit easier when driving at night.
With the latest Ford Fusion and 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford has taken significant steps toward improving interior quality. Car and Driver reviewers state as much, finding that "most improvements focus on climbing the scale of perceived quality, with liberal use of soft materials at touch points all around and low-gloss plastics." Jalopnik also notes that "the interior gets materials upgrades in the dash, door panels, center console," and even "the new seats are a pretty comfy place to be." The Detroit News also raves about the "softer touch points" on the interior, as well as the "new dash and nice cubbies throughout."
One place where build quality is clearly evident is in terms of cabin noise levels. To put it simply, a well-constructed vehicle should offer a quieter ride, and according to the Detroit News, the 2010 Ford Fusion offers an "extremely quiet ride." Autoblog agrees, calling the new Ford Fusion "remarkably quiet and refined whether we were cruising on the freeway or blasting through a canyon." They credit the "new seals and acoustic components in several areas [which] help keep out noises and absorb those that do get in." Autoblog concludes by calling the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid "one of the quietest sedans in this market segment," which also goes for its conventionally powered brethren.
2010 Ford Fusion
A full complement of airbags and some high-tech visibility aids make the 2010 Ford Fusion one of the safest sedan options on the market.
Not only is the 2010 Ford Fusion environmentally friendly, thanks to the highly efficient 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid model, it's also safety-minded. The Ford Fusion incorporates the latest safety gear and advanced structural engineering to create an incredibly safe sedan.
The 2010 Ford Fusion achieved top scores in most categories of testing from the federal government. They earned the highest possible rating, five stars, for front impact protection, along with a five-star rating for front side impact but four out of five stars for rear side-impact protection.
In the arguably more stringent IIHS tests, the Ford Fusion earned the highest possible rating, "good," in side impact tests, as well as another "good" rating in the frontal offset impact category. The Ford Fusion performed so well in those tests, in fact, that the IIHS named the 2010 Ford Fusion a Top Safety Pick.
Aside from the stellar crash-test ratings, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and conventional models both offer the latest and greatest safety equipment. Jalopnik reviewers remark that the new 2010 Ford Fusion adds a "Blind Spot Information System (BLISTM) with Cross Traffic Alert, which can help provide extra confidence to drivers in parking lots by alerting drivers sooner of nearby traffic while backing out." In addition to that high-tech amenity, ConsumerGuide points out that 2010 Ford Fusion's "available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags."
One of the major safety concerns of most drivers is visibility from the driver's seat, and here Ford has once again taken charge and developed a few nifty systems to aid overall visibility. While reviews read by TheCarConnection.com turned up no complaints regarding visibility in the 2010 Ford Fusion, Ford has taken steps to make sure that nobody brings it up as a sticking point later on. To that end, Jalopnik reports that Ford adds a "reverse camera system... that is activated when Fusion is shifted into reverse, giving the driver a clear view behind the vehicle." Jalopnik also says the 2010 Ford Fusion's BLISTM "uses two multiple beam radar modules" that work to identify "when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the corresponding side-view mirror providing a warning that a vehicle is approaching."
2010 Ford Fusion
The 2010 Ford Fusion is weighed down with features, but not enough to slow this spirited performer.
Whether standard or optioned to the hilt, the 2010 Ford Fusion enters the market with no shortage of features.
The standard features on the 2010 Ford Fusion vary according to trim level, but the base S sedan comes better equipped than you might expect. Jalopnik reviewers claim that the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and sedan offer "a host of segment-exclusive new features and technologies," while Car and Driver reports that the Ford Fusion "dips into Ford's more recent bag of tricks for its customizable ambient/cupholder lighting system." According to Jalopnik, the 2010 Ford Fusion also offers a "cabin air filter [that] is standard for the first time on the Ford Fusion" and "removes respiratory irritants and toxins caused by traffic and industrial pollution." TheCarConnection.com has learned that other standard features include a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and a CD audio system that is MP3 compatible, along with power accessories.
The options list on both the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the standard Ford Fusion is lengthy, and includes most of the latest features you'd expect in a luxury vehicle. Car and Driver says that their tester comes with an "excellent touch-screen navigation system," while a package is available that includes "a power moonroof, a rear-view camera, 12-speaker audio system, and a blind-spot warning system." ConsumerGuide also reports that "Ford's Sync voice-activated interface for cell phones and MP3 players" is available on the Ford Fusion. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com love the big navigation screen that can sit in the center of the Ford Fusion's center console. Automobile Magazine raves about the "premium eight-inch navigation system," which is one of the largest screens in any vehicle on the road today. Also, Jalopnik states that a "Sony-branded audio system" is available and notes that the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, along with the traditional versions, is "the first mid-size sedan in North America to offer a Sony-branded audio system with surround sound and DSP processing as a factory option."
One item that reviewers invariably mention is the instrument panel in the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Automobile Magazine says that the Fusion Hybrid "has its own unique instrument cluster, in which the speedometer is flanked with several LCD color displays that help the driver keep tabs on the unique powertrain and monitor his all-important mpg." Car and Driver loves that one of the displays in the Hybrid features "a tree branch that grows more leaves as the vehicle is driven in what's determined to be an environmentally friendly manner."