2017 Ford Fusion Platinum AWDPosted on September 9th, 2016
Midsize passenger sedan raises the bar
By Nina Russin
It’s almost impossible for a midsize sedan to stand apart from the crowd, simply because the segment includes so many outstanding vehicles. But the Ford Fusion does, outperforming Asian competitors that have long dominated the group.
Priced from $38,620, the Platinum all-wheel drive grade should be considered an entry luxury car, and as such, comes equipped with premium amenities including leather upholstery, keyless entry and start, automatic dual-zone climate controls, Sony audio system with satellite radio, heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel. Final MSRP on the test car, including metallic white exterior, 19-inch rims and inflatable rear seatbelts is $40,280.
Ready for any weather
All-wheel drive gives the Fusion the ability to send engine power to the wheels with the best traction: a feature I had opportunity to put to the test at the height of Arizona’s summer monsoon season. At this time of year flash floods are a common occurrence, leaving inches of standing water on the roads.
While the Fusion can’t match higher profile sport-utility vehicles and crossovers for ground clearance and hence water fording capability, it is easily as sure-footed as any of the above on slick roads.
Ford’s two-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine is a slick piece of work, delivering 245 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for excellent acceleration off the line and plenty of high-end power for passing slower vehicles at speed. The six-speed automatic transmission is equally seamless, progressing smoothly through the gears with no obvious shift shock under normal driving conditions.
While other OEMs go to seven, eight and nine-speed automatics, Ford has stuck with its tried and true six-speed box. Granted, overdrive gears might not be quite as large, but on the flip side, the transmission doesn’t hunt. Fuel economy for the all-wheel drive sedan is a very respectable 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
An electric power steering system delivers a pleasantly heavy feel at speed, with plenty of low-end assist for maneuverability.
The four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup in the rear, with twin-tube gas shocks for a sportier feel. Nineteen-inch rims give the sedan a fatter footprint for better cornering at speed. They also dress up the sedan’s exterior: a nice pairing with the Platinum grade’s blacked-out mesh grille.
Four-wheel disc brakes stop the sedan in firm, linear fashion.
A host of active safety features give daily commuters some additional security. Standard features on the Platinum model include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, pre-collision assist and reverse sensing. The blind spot monitoring is one of the better systems on the market. It doesn’t suffer from ‘false reads:’ signaling that a vehicle is in the adjacent lane when it is actually two or more lanes away from the driver.
The Fusion’s quiet interior offers all of the amenities drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel want, with excellent fit and finish and appealing styling. The rotary shift knob takes up less room in the center console than a traditional lever. Despite being made of metal, it seemed to be less of a problem to operate on hot summer days as well.
I found power adjustments for the driver’s seat easy to operate, with plenty of lower lumbar support for longer trips. Seat ventilation makes the car’s standard leather upholstery much easier to live with in the summer. Dual-zone climate controls keep front-row occupants comfortable in temperature extremes.
Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions.
The satellite radio on the test car seemed to lose its signal a lot, but this tends to be common with Sirius, so I can’t say whether the problem was the car’s audio system or the signal provider.
A power moonroof brings additional ambient light inside the car, while standard LED headlamps provide long, bright beams for night driving with minimal drain on the car’s electrical system.
The optional inflatable safety belts protect children who might sustain chest injuries from traditional web belts during a severe impact.
The Fusion’s spacious trunk can easily hold the family’s luggage, some modest size camping equipment and the weekly groceries. Cyclists would need to add a rear hitch mount of opt for one of Ford’s crossover vehicles with a taller cargo bay.
The Ford Fusion comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring with individual tire pressures indicated on the gauge cluster’s digital display.
The 2017 Fusion is on display at Ford dealerships nationwide.
Like: A stylish midsize sedan with excellent performance and a beautifully styled interior.
Dislike: Satellite radio on the test car frequently lost its signal.
Model: Fusion Platinum AWD
Base price: $38,620
As tested: $40,280
Horsepower: 245 Hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 275 lbs.-ft. @ 3000 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 20/29 mpg city/highway