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Motoring: Ford Fusion: an ‘assimilated' achievement

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | November 2nd, 2009

If there has ever been a vehicle category in which the American car companies have never gotten anything right, in my view, it would have to be that of the mid-size sedan. While Chrysler delivered us the pathetic Sebring, GM only has the much-improved, but not yet a winner, Chevrolet Malibu, to offer. Against their Japanese rivals, neither of these automobiles can even come close. However, change is not just on the horizon, it is here with us now. The Ford Fusion is easily the best mid-size sedan out there produced by an American car firm, and part of the reason is due to its Japanese underpinnings.

Yes folks, when you peel away its pretty body (it is quite the looker), you'll find that the Fusion's platform, along with its four-cylinder engine, comes from the old Mazda6. So to be fair, we can't really call it an all-American car, as it's more like an amalgamation of American and Japanese engineering; no wonder then, its handle is “the Fusion.” However, there is more to this car than just its platform: the engineers, at Ford, bestowed this vehicle with its own unique personality. While in the past, this would have been a recipe for disaster, Ford has actually improved upon the car on which the Fusion is based.

Ford Fusion

You see, Mazda tried to make the Mazda6 a sporty sedan (which it isn't), and this attempt unfortunately left drivers with a car that was not as comfortable as its competition. With the Fusion, Ford concentrated on creating a roomy and luxurious vehicle, and succeeded to such a degree that you could drive around the world in this car, yet still feel relaxed. This is definitely a good thing because seeing as it is only equipped with a four-cylinder engine, you won't be covering ground at anything resembling a fast pace.

In short, this is a slow car - so slow in fact that, at times, it gets annoying. I got out-dragged by just about everything, including minivans, which came as a surprise to me because on paper, the Fusion seems to have enough power.

My test car was outfitted with a 2.5-litre I4 engine, capable of producing 175hp. Mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, it would appear that the ingredients are all there, so why the lack of speed? I think it has to do with the car's gear ratios - they are all configured for optimal fuel-economy - and with a week's average of 11.1-litres/100km, though the Fusion is frugal, it comes at a cost in terms of its performance. So with that said, if you're not in a hurry, you'll be fine with this car. But for those of you with a “need for speed,” be thankful that a V6 engine is also available.

In regards to space, your family will love it. Front or back, your passengers will be happy, plus the trunk is big enough to carry all of yours, and their luggage, too.

Its weighted power-steering system? In a word, it was wonderful. Giving just enough feel and firmness for highway driving, coupled with an excellent chassis, the Fusion is actually a pretty good car to drive around in, even on twisty roads.

As for complaints, while I liked the feel of its steering, the car's steering wheel was a bit too hard for my liking (not to mention my aforementioned points regarding its performance). On everything else however, this car was fantastic. With the going rate for a brand new one at just $21,499, it is even priced very well.

So, if you're looking for an American sedan that can play ball with the best of the best, visit your local Ford dealership - the Fusion's an incredible value for the money it costs.
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