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We love mid-size sedans if for no other reason than buyers benefit from the incredibly high level of competition between each player in the segment, and Ford's just-revealed 2010 Fusion appears ready to compete. We only have one image, but it shows the Fusion's new face with an even bigger three-bar grille, nicely contoured hood, angry-eye headlights and a sharply redesigned lower bumper. There's also a new engine lineup with three mills to choose from. The first is an all-new Duratec 2.5L four-cylinder with 174 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (up 14 hp/16 lb-ft from prior 2.3L). The second is a reworked version of the current 3.0L V6 with 19 more horsepower for a total of 240 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque. And finally Ford will be offering the Fusion with its new 3.5L V6 for 2010, which will make a class competitive 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. The best part? All three engines will be paired with Ford's 6F35 six-speed automatic transmission.
Ford hasn't revealed fuel economy numbers yet, but says the four-cylinder's fuel economy will go up a full 10% and the sixes between 4-6% thanks in large part to the new tranny. This will also be the year Ford introduces the Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid, which will feature the previously announced SmartGauge and can travel up to 47 mph in all-electric mode with a range of more than 700 miles. Unfortunately, it appears that the 2010 Fusion won't be available with any turbocharged, direct-inject EcoBoost powertrains, but the new engines and transmission, along with the nose job, are a big step forward for Ford's already competitive Fusion.
2010 FORD FUSION PACKS A FUEL-EFFICIENT PUNCH WITH NEW GAS ENGINE, SIX-SPEED TRANSMISSION LINEUP
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 29, 2008 – A choice lineup of gas-powered engines will deliver even more horsepower and better fuel economy in the 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan mid-size sedans, which already stand out for their strong reliability and driving dynamics.
For 2009, the 2010 model year Fusion and Milan will offer Ford's all-new Duratec 2.5-liter I-4, producing 175 horsepower; an enhanced 3.0-liter V-6 with 19 more horsepower than its predecessor; and a 3.5-liter V-6 that pumps out 263 horsepower on the Fusion Sport model.
Fusion models equipped with the 2.5-liter I-4 engine are expected to deliver at least 3 mpg better on the highway than the Honda Accord and 2 mpg better than the Toyota Camry.
All are paired with six-speed transmissions for up to a 10 percent fuel economy improvement and a host of other industry-first technologies aimed at improving performance while gaining fuel economy.
"Customers want it all – exhilarating performance, continuing fuel economy improvements and low emissions – all for a price that offers great value," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Powertrain Product Development. "Ford intends to deliver on every expectation as we migrate advanced technologies from shelf to showroom."
Recent internal research shows that fuel economy continues to top customers' purchase-consideration lists, with 38 percent of new-vehicle intenders citing that they would be willing to sacrifice performance for better fuel economy.
Ford's powertrain strategy is built on a no-compromise proposition, using affordable engine, transmission and vehicle system technologies in large volumes so millions of customers can enjoy the best of both worlds – class-leading fuel economy and high-quality driving performance.
The all-new 2010 Fusion and Milan are the latest vehicles in the Ford lineup to benefit from the company's push to improve the commonality of its powertrain products globally. Ford's strategy is to create a smaller number of flexible engine and transmission architectures, resulting in more consistent quality for customers and manufacturing cost efficiencies for the company.
Ford already has invested millions of dollars to develop advanced powertrain technologies and convert engine plants to flexibly produce high-technology smaller-displacement engines. These investments are helping Ford make good on commitments to upgrade or replace nearly all of its North American engines by the end of 2010; power one of every five products in North America with its fuel-conscious-yet-great-performing 3.5-liter V-6; and offer fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions on 98 percent of its North American lineup by the end of 2012.
An array of 2009 products already is the best or among the best for fuel economy in their respective segments, including the Ford Flex (best highway at 24 mpg), the Ford Focus (unsurpassed for best highway at 35 mpg) and the Ford Escape (best-in-class for the small SUV segment with 28 highway/20 city mpg).
The 2010 Fusion and Milan are expected to deliver similar fuel economy achievements in the mid-size car segment, helping build upon a stellar quality reputation that includes Best Buy recommendations from several top consumer publications.
The 2.5-liter I-4
First launched on the fuel-economy segment leader 2009 Ford Escape, Ford's all-new Duratec 2.5-liter I-4 gives the 2010 Fusion 175 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque, 14 more horsepower and 16 more lb.-ft. of torque than the preceding year's 2.3-liter engine.
The 2.5-liter uses intake variable cam timing (iVCT) technology to optimize valve timing, creating a broad torque curve that helps deliver increased power along with improved efficiency.
The powertrain also incorporates electronic throttle control (ETC), dual-mode crankshaft damping, new intake and exhaust manifolds, and a new underbody-only catalyst, which refine performance and contribute to greater fuel efficiency.
The 3.0-liter V-6
The improved 3.0-liter V-6 available on the 2010 Fusion delivers 19 more horsepower and 23 more lb.-ft. of torque for a total of 240 horsepower and 228 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 3.0-liter features a new air induction system and ETC as well as an industry-first Cam Torque Actuated (CTA) iVCT technology that uses available camshaft torsional energy rather than pressurized oil to phase the camshafts. This allows for a smaller displacement oil pump versus traditional hydraulic VCT systems for improved fuel economy.
"With this technology, we are taking energy that is in your engine today – energy that was previously wasted – and using it to make an engine more efficient," said Steve Wilkie, supervisor of Cam Drive/VCT Design. "The cam torque actuated technology is a significant player in the 3.0-liter's ability to provide customers fuel economy and performance."
This innovative method uses torsional energy to move the camshafts similar to the way a hydraulic ratchet works. The system takes oil from one side of the phaser and channels it to the other side, rather than draining one side and filling the other as with a traditional hydraulic system. This allows the CTA system to work more efficiently at all engine speeds and it requires a smaller oil pump, which equates to lower parasitic energy loss.
CTA reduces oil pump flow requirements by approximately 25 percent, producing a fuel economy benefit up to 0.4 percent. In addition, the CTA-based system responds more quickly than a traditional hydraulic oil actuated VCT system, improving tip-in performance feel and contributing to horsepower gains.
The 3.0-liter is also flex-fuel capable and can run on E85, helping Ford deliver on a pledge made to double annual production of vehicles capable of running on renewable fuels by 2010.
The 3.5-liter V-6
The award-winning Duratec 3.5-liter V-6 joins the Fusion lineup for 2010, powering the Sport model with a beefy 263 horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 3.5-liter uses a compact, lightweight dual-overhead cam valvetrain for peak power and smooth operation at high RPMs. This engine also incorporates intake variable cam timing to optimize valve timing for a smooth idle and an impressive broad torque curve with good power. A high 10.3:1 compression ratio and aluminum cylinder heads designed for high airflow and optimized combustion help complete the package, supporting the engine's ability to deliver great performance and fuel economy, along with low emissions.
The Six-Speed Trans
The new pairing of Fusion's engines with the 6F35-Mid automatic transmission further drives the mid-size sedan's competitive advantage, especially when compared to the outgoing five-speed gearbox that was offered with Fusion's I-4 models. A five-speed is still the gearbox-of-choice for the 2.0-liter varieties offered on segment contenders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
When the six-speed is paired with the 2.5-liter engine, for example, the Fusion powerpack delivers a 10 percent improvement in fuel efficiency along with increased power. The 3.0-liter configurations gain a 4- to 6-percent efficiency.
The Ford transmission team made several specific modifications to the 6F35-Mid to optimize its performance for Fusion, including using unique final drive ratios for the 2.5-liter and 3.0-liter, developing an improved converter lock-up for lower operating temperatures and efficiency, recalibrating the converter clutch to accommodate a fuel-saving aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off system as well as other tweaks to diminish parasitic losses.
A SelectShift function on the 3.0-liter applications was also added to give customers the option of a fun-to-shift manual experience.
Other Fuel Savers
The Fusion gas powerpacks incorporate other advanced fuel-saving and performance technologies, including:
- Electric Power Steering (EPS). The 2010 Fusion has a rack- or belt-driven EPS system. Available on the 2.5-liter and 3.0-liter engines, energy consumption of an EPS system is typically less than 7 percent of a conventional hydraulic rack and pinion power steering system, contributing to less fuel consumption. Ford has committed to fit up to 90 percent of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products with EPS by 2012 and first introduced a column-based EPS system on the 2008 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.
- Adaptive Spark Ignition. Included on the V-6 configurations, this system can sense what type of fuel is being injected into the motor and communicates the information to the powertrain control module (PCM), which adjusts the spark accordingly. The ignition system features two knock sensors rather than one to further improve performance. These two sensors detect the presence of uncontrolled burning in the chambers more accurately, so the control module can retard engine timing as needed to eliminate the potential for engine knock and pinging.
- Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-off. The 3.0-liter V-6 also regulates its gas consumption by using aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off for an efficiency improvement of approximately 1 percent. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal to slow down, the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the vehicle reaches a low speed or when the driver accelerates again. The system uses the transmission to keep the engine running at a low, more efficient operating point whenever possible. This system will be added to the 2.5-liter lineup later in the 2010 model year.