- Hybrid and plug-in choices
- Elegant, sleek design
- Very good seats
- Modern, tasteful interior design
- Good safety scores
- Ford cut fuel-efficiency ratings
- Optional equipment adds up
- Slow steering isn't the best
The 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid combines high gas mileage and a quiet ride with one of the best-looking family-sedan bodies.
The 2016 Ford Fusion manages to show that good, space-efficient design can also be very good-looking. This mainstream mid-size sedan manages to be comfortable, spacious, and very well-equipped, and even though it's no longer a new design it's still one of the most attractive in its class.
In profile, stance, and details, the 2016 Fusion remains one of the most attractive models in its class. It's handsome and athletic, supremely comfortable, and packed with technology. We named it our 2013 Best Car to Buy, when this current generation of the Fusion was released, and it continues to be one of our best-rated vehicles here, not counting luxury marques.
The 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-4, doesn't come close to performing as well as the rakish design suggests, but it's adequate with the 6-speed automatic. And on the other end, there's the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline-4, which makes 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and doesn't leave us missing a V-6. In the middle is a 1.5-liter turbo-4, coupled to an automatic transmission; that's still a nice-driving powertrain that should deliver great real-world mileage. And covered by separate reviews elsewhere, there's the especially fuel-efficient (yet still responsive-driving) Fusion Hybrid and its plug-in version, the Fusion Energy—both of which earn more than 40 mpg in EPA combined driving.
In all of its versions, the Fusion has some truly top-notch ride and handling, 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.
The Fusion has 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. 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. Provided you avoid the sunroof, head room is great, and there's ample storage space around the center stack and doors.
The 2016 Ford Fusion has very good—albeit not quite top-tier—ratings from both U.S. safety agencies, as well as a reasonably good set of standard features and safety options. Although a few safety items to stand out here—including the innovative inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers.
Pricing for the Fusion is almost like that of a premium-brand model—as you can add a rather conservative number of items, including the moonroof, navigation, upgraded wheels, and the safety-tech items and end up with a sticker price around $40,000. That said, we think the Fusion is at its best value in SE trim, where you can end up with a reasonably well-equipped model for closer to $30,000.
For 2016 there's a new S Appearance Package that lets you dress up the base model with 18-inch alloy painted Ebony black wheels, front fog lamps, and a rear spoiler. Additionally, a new Cold Weather package brings remote start, heated cloth seats, and floor mats to the SE.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is the base powerplant for the Fusion S and SE. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic, and generates fuel economy figures of 22 mpg city, 34 highway, 26 combined, according to the EPA. You'll probably do quite a bit better in real-world driving with the 1.5-liter turbo-4, also paired with an automatic. Gas mileage is rated at 24/36/28 mpg—or 25/37/29 mpg when equipped with engine stop-start.
The hybrid and plug-in hybrid are the fuel economy champs for Fusion, which we've covered elsewhere.
2016 Ford Fusion
The 2016 Ford Fusion is sporty and graceful, with a neat, focused cabin design.
The current generation of the Ford Fusion is no fresh entry in its design, as it's been on the market already for four years; yet it somehow manages to be one of the most stylish, head-turning models in the class.
The 2016 Fusion remains one of the most attractive models among mid-size sedans, and that holds true inside or out, and whether talking about overarching design themes, styling, or up-close design details.
From the nose on, to use the word "bold" here is no exaggeration; the hexagonal grille bends and bevels between headlamps and foglamps in a way that's half-Aston, half-Hyundai. The gently arched roofline looks a bit like that of the Audi A7 from the rear angles, and its LED taillights help punctuate that. Yet from the side view, it's all Ford, with the details somehow adding up to a greater sense of the composite's identity.
Take a step back, and the Fusion has a great sense of stance and proportion; as with the Mazda 6, the Fusion has a low-to-the-road presence that holds from almost any angle.
Inside, it's sleek and functional, and front and center Ford has revamped its center stack of controls to accommodate the new Sync screen and controls—introducing a few more mechanical buttons along the way. 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. It's a striking effect, with obvious influences from Volvo, including the storage bin under the climate controls, open at the sides.
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 it 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.
Appearance-wise, Ford has added a few more appearance options for the Fusion lineup. Last year a Terra Cotta interior package became available on SE and Titanium models, adding rich, reddish leather to the seats and door panels, as well as premium floor mats and upgraded 18-inch wheels. And for 2016, the Fusion gets a new S appearance package, with painted Ebony black wheels, front fog lamps, and a rear spoiler.
2016 Ford Fusion
The Fusion is purposeful but not punishing in its ride, with taut handling and turbocharged power leaving little to be desired.
Possibly outside of the Mazda 6, and perhaps some versions of the current Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion is the best-driving of the mid-size sedans. In it, a great lineup of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines bring responsive acceleration with respectable fuel economy, while Ford's clearly tapped into its European-market expertise in giving the Fusion a very sophisticated set of ride-and-handling attributes.
There's one exception to that. The base-level engine in the Fusion is a 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-4, and it doesn't come close to performing as well as the rakish design suggests. It does well enough with the 6-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.
To get V-6-level performance in the Fusion, go straight for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline-4; 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. It's also remarkably vibration-free and quiet.
A 181-hp, 1.5-liter turbo four is probably the best performance vs. price compromise for most buyers—although it's not offered with a manual transmission.
All-wheel drive availability has been expanded this year to the all-wheel-drive SE, and there's an option to add summer-only performance rubber. Even in its heaviest form, at about 3,700 pounds, the Fusion drives light, with well-tuned steering and a taut yet absorbent feel. It corners in a flat, reassuring way that actually isn't to the detriment of ride quality; and overall, there's a nimble, eager feeling that's missing from most mid-size sedans.
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 definitely not stuff for stiff's sake, and there's more compliance here than in some rivals, yet not as much as the Altima.
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. Although keep in mind that the base 16-inch and optional 19-inch wheels at the bottom and top of the lineup will likely be more compromised for ride and handling.
2016 Ford Fusion
Comfort & Quality
The sexy roofline still leaves room for tall passengers in back; but skip the sunroof.
From a comfort and usability standpoint, the 2016 Ford Fusion checks all the boxes, and there are no deal-breakers inside. And despite that somewhat curvaceous exterior appearance, it's has one of the more spacious interiors in its class.
The Fusion is a big sedan, at nearly 192 inches long and riding on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, but it's essentially in the middle of the "new norm" for U.S. mid-size sedans. Its interior volume of 118.8 cubic feet is just a cube or so shy of the the fed'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. Both power and manual seats are comfortable, though on the manual seats there's a little too much front-end tilt to the bottom cushion for our tastes.
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 Volkswagen Passat, 6-footers will make contact with the headliner, although if you omit the sunroof you should be okay.
With the exception of the scratch-prone piano black trim, the Fusions panels and materials feel well fitted and well chosen. The base cloth upholstery is comfortable but definitely has an inexpensive look, relieved only by the leather option. Virtually all of surfaces higher up, in the zone where you might touch, are soft, and switchgear operates with precision. Even the doors open and close with a satisfying vibration-free thump.
2016 Ford Fusion
Safety scores are quite good for the Fusion, although the Fusion lacks the active-safety kit offered in some rival models.
The 2016 Ford Fusion has very good—albeit not quite top-tier—ratings from both U.S. safety agencies, as well as a reasonably good set of standard features and safety options.
The Fusion earns five-star overall ratings from the federal government, with a four-star rating for side crash protection. And from the IIHS, it manages top "Good" ratings in all crash categories except the small overlap frontal category where it earned an "Acceptable" rating.
In the top Titanium model you can add a package to get lane-departure warning and a 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 with forward collision warning; 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. There's still no automatically braking forward safety system, however, and that keeps the Fusion from achieving the best Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS (it earns that group's "Basic" rating for front crash prevention).
All Fusion models include eight standard airbags, dual front knee airbags, active headrests, and hands-free Bluetooth calling and audio-streaming capability. And you can opt to get the innovative inflatable rear seatbelt system that's been offered on some of Ford's crossovers.
A rearview camera system is now standard on all models, and rear parking sensors are an option on the SE and standard on the Titanium. Thanks to relatively slim roof pillars, visibility in the Fusion is excellent; you'll find that rearview camera useful.
2016 Ford Fusion
The Fusion offers a lot of choice, though it makes a lot of sense when it's a well-equipped, exceptionally fun-to-drive $30,000 sedan.
Standard and Hybrid models of the 2016 Ford Fusion are offered in S, SE, and Titanium models, while plug-in Energi models can be had in SE or Titanium guise.
The base Fusion S has been priced a bit higher than the entry versions of some rival models; but it includes power windows, locks, and mirrors; a CD sound system with an auxiliary jack; 16-inch alloy wheels; cloth seats; SYNC with Bluetooth audio streaming; a rearview camera; a capless fuel filler; tilt/telescoping steering; cruise control; and steering-wheel controls for audio and phone.
The Fusion SE adds standard satellite radio; two more speakers (for a total of six); a six-way power driver seat; and 17-inch wheels. You can option up to the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (or the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost).
Other options on the SE include upgraded 18-inch wheels; a spoiler; a sunroof; memory seats; front heated seats; premium cloth or leather upholstery; a navigation system; the upgraded Sync system; remote start; automatic stop/start; reverse parking sensors; active park assist; and safety tech such as 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 inline-4 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; keyless ignition; automatic climate control; 18-inch wheels; aluminum interior trim; and remote start.
You can add a performance package with summer-only tires, available on the SE and Titanium models. And cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel are optional on the Titanium. For 2016 there's a new S Appearance Package that lets you dress up the base model with 18-inch alloy painted Ebony black wheels, front fog lamps, and a rear spoiler. Additionally, a new Cold Weather package brings remote start, heated cloth seats, and floor mats to the SE.
The 2016 Fusion is almost like a premium-brand vehicle in that you can add a rather conservative number of items, including the moonroof, navigation, upgraded wheels, and the safety-tech items and end up with a sticker price around $40,000. That said, we think the Fusion is at its best value in SE trim, where you can end up with a reasonably well-equipped model for closer to $30,000.
2016 Ford Fusion
The 2016 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is the fuel efficiency champ of the lineup.
The 2016 Ford Fusion is a little more fuel-efficient than other mid-size sedans. Part of that is because you won't find a V-6 engine in the lineup; but the ultra-efficient Fusion Hybrid and plug-in "Energi" models are the ones to head to if fuel efficiency is your biggest priority.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid earns ratings of 44 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, 42 mpg combined, according to the EPA. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi models return 88 miles per gallon equivalent, or 38 mpg combined, and can go on electric power only 20 miles.
A 2.5-liter inline-4 is the base powerplant for the Fusion S and SE. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic, and generates fuel economy figures of 22 mpg city, 34 highway, 26 combined, according to the EPA.
You'll probably do quite a bit better in real-world driving with the 1.5-liter turbo-4, also paired with an automatic. Gas mileage is rated at 24/36/28 mpg—or 25/37/29 mpg when equipped with engine stop-start.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with direct injection is standard on the Titanium. It's the performance option of the lineup, but hardly thirsty. Teamed to a 6-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive, it earns 22/33/26 mpg when front drive; 22/31/25 mpg with all-wheel drive.