The classy sedan is finally hanging them up. The Ford Fusion has become an icon in Ford’s lineup and is almost on the same level of legendary status as the Ford Taurus. This stylish sedan revolutionized the brand’s lineup over the years with its great looks, plethora of powertrain options, and short-lived Sport model – which actually had the 325-horsepower engine to back up that nameplate.
That said, this icon of the Blue Oval world is heading to the retirement community to play shuffleboard and bingo alongside the Ford Focus and Taurus, as it's falling victim to Ford’s focus on electrification and SUVs. The 2020 Ford Fusion will be this sedan's swan song.
Still looking good after all these years. The Ford Fusion may be an older chap, as it last went through a redesign in 2013, but its body has aged with grace. Its sharp body lines remain a key element in the mid-size sedan segment, and its Aston Martin-inspired nose has gone from mocked in its early years to a staple in the Ford lineup.
Inside, things are a tad different, as that 2013 cabin looked old when it debuted and now looks like a time capsule. When it launched, Ford did the commendable thing and avoided the sea-of-black-plastic look by adding matte silver accents in higher trims. While these accents are nice touches, they don’t do enough to overcome the massive number of similarly-sized buttons that can overwhelm even the tech-savviest of drivers.
The Fusion’s interior also lacks the contemporary design cues found in today’s sedans. Buyers seeking this more modern look will be better suited in a Nissan Altima, Mazda Mazda6, or Hyundai Sonata.
There are some premium materials to help pull it back into favor with more discerning shoppers, but it never really pulls that off. Plus, roominess takes a hit with just 37.8 inches of rear head room.
The Fusion’s trunk is respectable at 16 cubic feet in the non-hybrid models, but the battery packs in the hybrid models turn this weekend-getaway-friendly trunk into a comically tiny space at 12 cubes for the hybrid and a sports-car-rivaling 8.2 cubes for the plug-in hybrid.
Buyers who want a hybrid with more trunk space will find 15.1 cubic feet in the Toyota Camry Hybrid, 13.3 cubes in the Sonata Hybrid, and 9.9 in the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.
A powertrain for everyone, except the performance lover. The Ford Fusion has all the engine options you’ll ever need, but the Fusion loses its performance fans with the elimination of the Sport model and its 325-hp V6 engine.
The base engine in the Fusion is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 175 hp at 6,000 rpm and 175 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. While that power is on par for the base engine in its class, it comes in pretty high on the rev band, making the majority of that oomph inaccessible under normal acceleration.
The optional 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine boosts output to 181 hp at 6,000 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 4,350 rpm. The additional power and the more accessible torque make this a slightly more invigorating drive, plus fuel economy takes a turn for the better, though it’s still unimpressive at 28 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA.
The real fun comes with the 2.0-liter turbo engine that delivers 245 hp at 5,500 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. With peak torque kicking in so low, buyers can feel the full pulling power of this engine without burying their right foot in the floorboard, but fuel economy takes a big hit at 25 mpg combined.
Rounding out the powertrain lineup are two hybrid models. The traditional hybrid pairs a 2.0-liter engine and an electric motor for 188 system hp and 42 mpg combined. This fuel-economy rating trumps the Sonata Hybrid by one mpg and matches the Sonata Hybrid SE, but it falls way short of the Camry LE Hybrid’s 52 mpg combined rating.
The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid uses the same powertrain and a 7.6-kilowatt-hour-larger battery pack to deliver 25 miles of all-electric range, 97 MPGe combined in all-electric mode, and 42 mpg combined in hybrid mode.
While the all-electric mileage falls three miles short of the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, its all-electric and hybrid efficiency beat the Sonata by four MPGe and three mpg, respectively.
Just forget about that base trim. Despite its senior look, the Ford Fusion holds its own in terms of features. Though the base S trim is mostly a forgettable rental sled with an ancient 4.2-inch infotainment screen, it comes standard with advanced safety tech like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights, and blind-spot monitoring.
We suggest skipping the S trim and stepping directly into the SE grade, which includes a 1.5-liter turbo engine, 17-inch wheels, Ford SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, lane keeping assist, 4G LTE wi-fi, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Waze navigation, and more.
These features put it on par with most of the competition’s base trim levels, except the Camry, which lacks Android Auto but has Apple CarPlay, and the Subaru Legacy, which has a much smaller 6.5-inch touchscreen, for about the same price.
Final thoughts. Despite its age and a dated cabin, the 2020 Ford Fusion remains an excellent option for most families. Its looks have held up over the years, and Ford has managed to keep its tech up to date without inflating its MSRP too much.
Bear in mind, the Fusion Hybrid and Energi may save you fuel on a weekend getaway, but you’ll need to find somewhere other than the trunk to stash your luggage. Buyers who want superior fuel economy and luggage space will find a more favorable match in the Camry Hybrid.
Check prices for the 2020 Ford Fusion »