Husband-and-wife team Paul and Anita Lienert compared the two popular mid-sized sedans and, to their apparent surprise, the Fusion came out on top.

The two tied in exterior sheetmetal, with the Fusion appealing to those who like bling, bold, and American. The Camry, due to its redesign, moved up a segment for those desiring near-Lexus looks without the price tag. But the Fusion then proceeded to stomp Toyota's best-seller in subsequent rounds. The Lienerts were shocked at the lack of fit and finish in the Camry, the automaker's usual strong point.

Fusion then drove all over the Camry in the categories of ride, handling, and value. At a similar price, Ford's offspring offered a 221 horsepower 3.0-litre V-6 coupled with a six-speed automatic to the Camry's respectable 158-horsepower 2.4-litre I4 and its five-speed automatic. Agility? The Fusion is a driver's dream next to the oh-so comfortable Camry thanks to the sporty Mazda6 platform that underpins it. Only in safety features did the Camry score its lone win, offering airbags, side curtains, and many other features that cost extra in the Fusion. That won't be the case, however, for the 2007 model year as the Fusion will soon have those safety features standard.

[Source: Detroit News]