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3/4 Front Glamour 2012 Ford Fusion

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Expert's Rating

4.7Excellent

MPG 20 City / 29 Highway
Pros
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Build quality better than average
  • Exceptional handling
  • Attractive exterior design
Cons
  • Less interior space than competitors
  • Just average rear visibility
, Automotive Editor -
Ford has had a hit on its hands for years with the Fusion midsize sedan. The class no longer features just a two-horse race between the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. This is due to the fact that more manufacturers are stepping up to really compete, and the case is no more prevalent than with Ford's new Fusion. The Fusion offers the space and safety midsize sedan buyers need, but adds a lot of high-tech features that were initially reserved for big-buck luxury vehicles only. Combine those features with refined engine options (4-cylinder and V6), and there's a good chance there's a Fusion that's right for anyone shopping in this segment.

Introduction

Base Fusions come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 175 horsepower through a six-speed manual on the S or the optional six-speed automatic that's standard on SE, SEL and Sport. S models are aimed primarily at the fleet buyers or those looking for a barebones sedan, even though they do come equipped with power windows, mirrors and locks with keyless entry, electronic stability control and a full set of airbags, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, trip computer and an AUX input.

Few options are available, though, so it's necessary to step up to the SE to personalize the Fusion a little more. SE gets a six-speed automatic, 8-way power driver's seat, steering wheel controls for the 8-speaker audio system with satellite radio, 17-inch alloy wheels and automatic headlamps with foglights. Ford's SYNC system is an option, as is the 3.0-liter V6 engine with 240 horsepower.

The SEL is aimed to be the luxury Fusion, so it has leather seats (heated in front), SYNC and a dual-zone automatic climate control. The Sport is a slightly different animal, aimed at the family sedan buyer who doesn't want to give up a lot of performance for practicality. The standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 with 263 horsepower mated to the six-speed automatic. It gives the Fusion considerably more power than the 3.0-liter, but the Sport also benefits from sports suspension, a rear spoiler, special trim inside and out and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. All-wheel drive is available on V6 models, a rarity for the class, as are options like blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors.

Competition in this segment is fierce. The Toyota Camry is new for 2012 and is thoroughly competitive, with a quite ride and efficient engines, but it's still dull and top trims get expensive. The Honda Accord is more spacious, but some features are only available on top trims. The Subaru Legacy has standard all-wheel drive and good fuel economy, but neither of its engines is terribly powerful or refined. The Hyundai Sonata has distinctive styling and great fuel economy, but that styling eats into practicality.

Though beaten in some areas by newer competitors, the Fusion is still appealing because of how well it acomplishes what a family sedan must be: spacious, efficient and comprehensively equipped. And a diverse model range, from the budget-oriented S to the fast Sport model, means the Ford offers more choice than most in the segment.

Which Style To Buy?

2012 Ford Fusion
Starting price
$6,944

2012 Ford Fusion S

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a midsize sedan with an emphasis on value

Even though the S is the most basic Fusion, it comes better equipped than many midsize sedans. All models get 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, no plastic wheel covers here, in addition to air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, electronic stability control, front, side and curtain airbags, trip computer, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, anti-theft alarm system and four-speaker audio system with an AUX input. Fusion S comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed manual, though a six-speed automatic is optional. Also available is a remote starter.

2012 Ford Fusion
Starting price
$6,944

2012 Ford Fusion SE

Recommended for: Buyers who want a few comfort features and high-tech options

Moving up to the SE opens buyers to many more options over the S to tailor their Fusion to their needs. All SEs get a six-speed automatic as standard, along with a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM radio, 8-way power driver's seat, automatic headlamps, foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels. Ford's SYNC is optional, either as a standalone option or part of the Sun & SYNC package that also includes a power sunroof and auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass. The Appearance Package includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, sport suspension and unique interior trim. Rear parking sensors are also available. Opting for the V6 brings manual gear selection to the automatic and optional AWD.

2012 Ford Fusion
Starting price
$6,944

2012 Ford Fusion SEL

Recommended for: Buyers shopping for a sedan with luxury features

The SEL aims to please shoppers demanding more luxurious features over the SE. Inside, the atmosphere of the Fusion is raised by the inclusion of leather seats, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior ambient lighting and a keyless touchpad on the driver's door. A 10-way power driver's seat is standard along with a 4-way power passenger's seat. V6 models add standard manual shifting for the automatic. Rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, power sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, backup camera, navigation with SiriusXM traffic and weather and a Sony premium audio system are optional.

2012 Ford Fusion
Starting price
$6,944

2012 Ford Fusion Sport

Recommended for: Buyers who want more performance in their family sedan

Shoppers who want a family sedan with a dose of excitement should check out the Fusion Sport. With its sporty cues and significantly more powerful 3.5-liter V6, it aims to provide a sharper driving experience with the practicality of lesser models. The V6 turns out 263 horsepower, 23 more than the standard V6. The Sport has the sport-tuned suspension, unique body skirts and moldings, 18-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler. Inside, there are special fabric seat patterns and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever. Optional features include AWD, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, backup camera, ambient lighting, blind-spot monitoring, navigation, HD radio and the Sony audio system.

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