- Excellent turbo fours
- Advances on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid front
- Taut, inspired handling
- Rock-star good looks
- Great cabin design
- You pay a premium for the best mpg
- Just average rear sear room
- No rearview camera on base car
- Gloss plastic interior trim
- No more manual transmission
The 2015 Ford Fusion continues to offer an excellent blend of top-notch safety, solid fuel economy, and stunning good looks–all without compromising on interior space and comfort.
Good design and family-friendly intentions aren't always mutually exclusive, and the 2015 Ford Fusion offers some great evidence of that. It's quite spacious, comfortable, and full-featured, and it remains one of the most attractive vehicles in its segment.
Even two years after its redesign, none but the Mazda 6 carry the same kind of daring image that you find in the mid-size Ford Fusion. It's handsome and athletic in appearance, high-tech inside, and relatively fuel-efficient—making it an incredibly compelling consideration for the mid-size sedan shopper. That's why we named it our 2013 Best Car to Buy.
For this model year, the Fusion sees a handful of new standard and optional features, as well as an available Terra Cotta style package for SE and Titanium model interiors. One feature we loved—its manual transmission option—has been deleted.
Whether you choose to look at each individual detail or the sum of its parts, the Fusion's design is a standout for sedan styling at any price. The looks is half-Hyundai, Half-Aston Martin, thanks to its hexagonal grille, and we see the rakish roofline of the Audi A7 in its rear quarters. In profile, it's 100 percent Ford, though–falling in nicely with the brand's other vehicles. The interior blends excellent materials with advanced technologies, all of which are controlled from its tablet-like center console.
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 2015, the inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers is now available on the Fusion.
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. In the middle is a 1.5-liter turbo four, coupled to an automatic transmission. The former manual transmission model was one of our favorites, and kind of a loner in this segment--which explains why it's been dropped.
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 2015 is a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber.
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, and a navigation system are options, as are all-wheel drive and a suite of safety features like lane-keeping assist and active park assist.
2015 Ford Fusion
The Fusion's a graceful shape, with an interior built for business.
No matter how you slice it, the 2015 Ford Fusion is one of the most attractive vehicles in the mid-size sedan segment, and that extends to its interior, too.
This year, an optional Terra Cotta interior package is available on SE and Titanium models, which adds rich, reddish leather to the seats and door panels, as well as premium floor mats and an upgraded set of 18-inch wheels.
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.
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.
2015 Ford Fusion
Taut handling and turbocharged power give the Fusion a purposeful but not punishing temper.
The Ford Fusion holds its position as the best-driving mid-size sedan in the segment, with real competition only coming from the less-powerful Mazda 6.
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.
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 last year was a new performance tire option with summer-only rubber. This year, the 2.0-liter SE models can also be equipped with all-wheel drive.
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 2015 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.
Last year, a 1.5-liter turbo four replaced the original 1.6-liter EcoBoost four in automatic-equipped Fusions, and this year, the 1.6-liter/manual combo has been dropped. The mid-line turbo four is probably the best compromise on price and performance for most drivers.
2015 Ford Fusion
Comfort & Quality
Skip the sunroof, and that sexy roofline still has enough headroom in back for tall passengers.
The 2015 Ford Fusion almost ranks amongst full-size sedans, and even its rakish roofline doesn't affect rear passenger headroom. There's room for four adults inside–though a fifth can squeeze–and the interior is attractive and well-organized throughout. Additionally, the interior is very well-hushed from road and engine noise--significantly better so than the Passat and Sonata.
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.
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.
2015 Ford Fusion
The Fusion has earned top safety honors from the IIHS, and a rearview camera is now standard.
Though the agencies that evaluate vehicle safety haven't yet tested the 2015 Ford Fusion, we except its excellent ratings from previous years to carry over for this year's model. New for this year, the rearview camera is now standard.
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.
Rear parking sensors are an option on the SE and standard on the Titanium, too. And as of last year, 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.
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.
Separately, in federal testing, the Fusion has earned five stars overall, including five stars in the frontal test and four stars for side impact.
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.
2015 Ford Fusion
The Fusion's best at about the $30,000 price point, where it bristles with tech features as well as driving fun.
For 2015, the Ford Fusion SE gains a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, while Titanium models receive a 10-way adjustable seat. Base S models now receive 16-inch alloy wheels, rather than hubcaps, and a reverse camera is standard on all models.
As of last year, 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
2015 Ford Fusion
The whole Fusion lineup is fuel-efficient, but for the best numbers, try the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
You won't find a V-6 engine in the Fusion; Ford has opted for turbocharged four-cylinders instead. However, you can find ultra-efficient Fusion Hybrid and plug-in 'Energi' models, if fuel efficiency is your biggest priority. Keep in mind that last year, Ford was compelled to re-rate the fuel economy of the Fusion Hybrid, down from 47 mpg combined to 42 mpg combined, after the EPA revisited its fuel-economy procedures.
The base engine in the Fusion S and SE is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. 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.
In between is a 1.5-liter turbo four paired with an automatic. Gas mileage is rated at 23/36 mpg and 28 mpg combined -- or 25/37 mpg when equipped with engine stop-start. The former manual-transmission option has been dropped.
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 rated at 22/33 mpg, or 26 mpg combined. Those figures put the Fusion in the same space as the Kia 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, the Fusion loses 1 mpg on the combined cycle.