- Rock-star good looks
- Great cabin design
- Taut, inspired handling
- Manual transmission, excellent turbo fours
- Advances on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid front
- Just average back-seat room
- You pay a premium for the best mpg
- Gloss plastic interior trim
- No rearview camera on base car
The 2014 Ford Fusion has stunning good looks, satisfying performance, and top-notch safety and fuel economy--all without skimping on the interior space and ride comfort that really means something to mid-size sedan shoppers.
Wearing new looks for the 2014 model year, the Ford Fusion is breathtaking in its design, taking the family-friendly sedan into a fashion-forward area not often encountered.
Even a year later, the Fusion has probably the most radical design of any conventional mid-size sedan. The good looks are now gorgeous; the road manners, if anything, have grown even more athletic; and it's now one of the most tech-forward, fuel-efficient mid-size models As an overall package, it's everything almost any mid-size sedan buyer needs--and that's part of the reason why we named it our 2013 Best Car to Buy.The design's a standout whether you judge it by its impressive collection of details or how it wraps all these elements together, in context. A hexagon grille bends and bevels between headlamps and foglamps in a way that's half-Aston, half-Hyundai. We see the roofline of the Audi A7 from the rear quarters, with the LED taillamps punctuating that point. But take a look at the sideview and it's all Ford, with the details somehow making a greater sense in composite. Inside, it's functional and sleep, especially taking focus front and center at the touchscreen-driven MyFord Touch system and the tablet-like finish of the center-stack controls.
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. For 2014, last year's 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo is gone, replaced by a 1.5-liter turbo four. At the time of posting, we don't yet have power or fuel economy numbers for this new fuel-efficient pick of the lineup, but Ford will include engine start/stop in 1.5-liter automatic version, but we'd be more tempted by the great six-speed manual gearbox--a no-cost option on much of the lineup.
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 2014 is a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber.
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 2014, the inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers is now available on the Fusion.
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, a navigation system, and a rearview camera are options, as are all-wheel drive and a suite of safety features like lane-keeping assist and active park assist.
2014 Ford Fusion
An athletic stance and beautifully sculpted sheetmetal help make the 2014 Fusion one of the most attractive mid-size sedans.
Pretty much any way you look at it, the 2014 Ford Fusion is one of the most attractive mid-size sedans on the market. It's a standout whether you judge it by its impressive collection of details or how it wraps all these elements together, in context.
At the front, the hexagon grille bends and bevels between headlamps and foglamps in a way that's half-Aston, half-Hyundai. We see the roofline of the Audi A7 from the rear quarters, with the LED taillamps punctuating that point. But take a look at the sideview and it's all Ford, with the details somehow making a greater sense in composite.
Inside, it's functional and sleep, especially taking focus front and center at the touchscreen-driven MyFord Touch system and the tablet-like finish of the center-stack controls. We like how it takes a step away from the super-angular, more pinched look of the Focus and Fiesta interior, instead framing the center stack of controls in a simple metallic ring that leaves a strong graphic imprint on the cabin. Even on lesser models, there's a small LCD screen for radio and SYNC displays, flanked by a small battalion of hard buttons. It is undersized for the allotted space but doesn't seem completely out of place. Our chief complaint inside is the use of gloss black plastic on the dash and door panel armrests; it's prone to scratch and swirl, and doesn't look as good after only a few thousand miles as it does before a single use.
On versions with MyFord Touch's voice, wheel, and touch controls, the vitals are reduced to an elegant LCD touchscreen panel and to a minimum of breaks on the surface of the dash. Most of the controls here are almost flush--capacitive controls run the climate control systems and some audio functions, with only a couple of actual knobs. It's a striking effect, with obvious influences from Volvo, including the storage bin under the climate controls, open at the sides.
2014 Ford Fusion
With its turbocharged engines and taut handling, the Fusion is enthusiastic and rewarding, but not too sharp.
The Ford Fusion has for years been one of the more responsive-driving mid-size sedans on the market, but the all-new model introduced last year took it up a notch--both in terms of powertrain technology, and in behind-the-wheel driving satisfaction. In this respect, it tops the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Chevy Malibu, Volkswagen Passat, and pretty much any others we can think of.
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; it's adequate with the six-speed automatic, but you'll be downshifting more than you might think as the engine doesn't make its peak torque until a relatively high 4,500 rpm. If we wanted the performance of a V-6 in the 2014 Ford Fusion, we'd head straight for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four, with its 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque in the top Titanium model. It's quick to rev, and the automatic's shifts click quickly via paddle controls. It's also the most vibration-free, quietest installation of this powertrain we've yet experienced, in Ford-brand vehicles and in those from other formerly related automakers.
For 2014, last year's 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo is gone, replaced by a 1.5-liter turbo four. We haven't driven this new combination--and we don't yet even have power or fuel economy numbers for it--but Ford promises the same performance as the 1.6 with better fuel economy. Also, it will include engine start/stop in 1.5-liter automatic version, but we'd be more tempted by the great six-speed manual gearbox--a no-cost option on much of the lineup. The manual's throws get a little long on the north-side gears, but the shift quality has a soothing, mechanical sweetness that's reassuringly familiar to anyone who grew up driving European cars.
Even in its heaviest form, at about 3,700 pounds with the all-wheel drive offered in Titanium trims, 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 2014 is a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber.
Steering in the Fusion isn't perfect, but it's consistent in force and feel; there's not much feedback when unwinding the wheel, and the ratio could be quicker, but it feels sportier than what you're going to find in other affordable mid-size sedans, whether you go with the 17-inch 50-series treads on the SE, or on the 45-series 18-inchers on the Titanium. The base 16-inch and optional 19-inch wheels at the bottom and top of the lineup will likely be more compromised.
With its front struts and rear multi-link suspension, the Fusion is firm and composed, and never forgets that it's a family sedan first. It's not stiff for stiff's sake. There's more ride compliance here than in the Malibu, but less so than the cozy new Altima and less body roll, too.
2014 Ford Fusion
Comfort & Quality
Even considering the fast, sexy roofline, there's plenty of space for four six-foot adults; just skip the sunroof.
Going by the measurements, the 2014 Ford Fusion is nearly a full-size sedan now, and the swoopy roofline doesn't result in a cramped interior or a lack of back-seat headroom. Overall, this is a package that works for four adults, a fifth in a pinch; and it's a well-organized, refined cabin in nearly every way.
The Fusion rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase and is 191.7 inches long overall--placing it right in the middle of the 'new norm' for our ever-larger mid-size sedans. At 72.9 inches wide, the Fusion also has 44.3 inches of front-seat leg room and 38.3 inches of rear-seat leg room, while headroom checks in at 39.2 inches and 37.8 inches, respectively. The interior volume of 118.8 cubic feet is just a cube or so shy of the EPA's full-size hurdle; trunk space of 16 cubic feet is good, too.
Against any of the competition, the Fusion does a great job balancing between front and back seat space--thanks in part to thinner front seats. Comfort is great in power and manual seats, though on the manual seats there's a little too much front-end tilt to the bottom cushion for our tastes. Headroom is excellent, with a few inches to spare even for six-footers; and we recommend against the available sunroof. Despite the curvy profile, tall doors make entry and exit easy, as do rather high seat cushions. In back, as with the Nissan Altima and VW Passat, six-footers will make contact with the headliner.
In most of the test cars we've driven so far, the Fusion's panels and materials have been well fitted. and well chosen. The only exception is the piano-black gloss trim, either, since it scratches so easily--and the Fusion's cockpit wears a lot of it. Also, the base cloth upholstery has an inexpensive look, relieved only by the leather option. The dash cap is soft to the touch, though, and the switches and controls operate with precision, down to the soft, vibration-free thump of the doors as they latch closed.
Additionally, the interior is very well-hushed from road and engine noise--significantly better so than the Passat and Sonata.
2014 Ford Fusion
Top-tier safety ratings fit right alongside available accident-avoiding features like blind-spot monitors.
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.
2014 Ford Fusion
The 2014 Ford Fusion comes at a premium compared to some of its rivals, but it bristles with technology features and options.
The 2014 Ford Fusion spans quite a range, from within the reach of bargain shoppers to a true premium sedan. It offers plenty of luxury and entertainment features, but keeps many of them bundled in packages or limits them only to certain models or powertrain combinations.
Even the base Fusion S ends up costing a bit more than the base Altima or Camry; but it includes the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission; power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack; 16-inch wheels; cloth seats; SYNC with Bluetooth audio streaming; capless fuel filler; tilt/telescoping steering; cruise control; and steering-wheel audio and phone controls.
At the SE level, the Fusion adds standard satellite radio; more speakers (two more, for a total of six); a 10-way power driver seat; and 17-inch wheels. You can option up to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four (or the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost). We're assuming that the latter will still be available with the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, while the 2.0-liter turbo four comes only with the automatic for a higher base price of up to $26,745.
Options on the SE include 18-inch wheels; a spoiler; a sunroof; memory seats; front heated seats; premium cloth upholstery or leather upholstery; a navigation system; an 8-inch LCD touchscreen with MyFord Touch voice, steering-wheel, touchscreen controls for vehicle systems; remote start; automatic stop/start; reverse parking sensors; active park assist; and safety tech like blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings and lane-keeping assist.
At the top of the lineup is the Fusion Titanium, which comes with the 2.0-liter turbo four standard and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It has almost all of the above equipment standard--including parking sensors; rearview camera; a Sony audio system; MyFord Touch; power front seats; HD Radio; pushbutton start; automatic climate control; 18-inch wheels; aluminum interior trim; and remote start.
Add a few things like the moonroof, 19-inch wheels, navigation, and safety-tech options, and you could lift the Fusion's sticker price to around $40k. But we think that 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.
For 2014, there's a new performance tire package with summer-only tires, available on the SE and Titanium models, while there are two new exterior colors: Dark Side and Sunset. Cooled front seats are also newly offered in the Titanium, while a heated steering wheel is also optional.
2014 Ford Fusion
With no more V-6, the entire lineup is quite efficient; the Ford Fusion Hybrid comes as an Energi plug-in, too.
The Ford Fusion family is now free of V-6 engines; and with a new lineup of naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder engines--plus a Hybrid model and a plug-in Energi model, you have plenty of options if driving green is a priority.
The base engine in the Fusion S and SE is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, carried over with minor improvements from other model lines (a version is found in the Mazda5 minivan, too). It's combined with a six-speed automatic, and generates fuel economy figures of 22 miles per gallon city, 34 miles per gallon highway, or 26 mpg combined. The city number's very low, but the highway number rivals vehicles like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, and beats the base Chevy Malibu.
The standard engine on the Fusion Titanium is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four with direct injection. Teamed to a six-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive, it's good for gas mileage of 22/33 mpg, or 26 mpg combined, Ford says. Those figures haven't been certified yet, but they put the Fusion in the same space as the Sonata 2.0T and Optima Turbo, as well as the Malibu Turbo, while significantly outpacing the Nissan Altima V-6 and its 22/30-mpg figures. With all-wheel drive, it loses 1 mpg on the combined cycle.
In between was our previous recommendation, the 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four. It's being replaced with the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which will include engine stop/start with the automatic transmission. Gas mileage with that previous engine was 25/37 mpg, or 29 mpg combined with a six-speed manual, or 23/36 mpg and 28 mpg combined with the automatic. Ford says that the new engine will deliver the performance of the 1.6 but with better fuel economy.
Will buyers pay the premium for fuel economy? It's been a mixed proposition so far in other Ford products, but the Fusion could prove otherwise.
There's also a Fusion Hybrid, with sky-high 47-mpg ratings across the board, and an Energi plug-in hybrid version with a higher 100-MPGe figure than that of the Chevy Volt--but we're handling those separately due to the technology differences with the gas-only cars.