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2010 Ford Fusion Sport – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Ford introduced the Ford Fusion back in 2005, the Blue Oval's midsize sedan was a pleasant surprise. Ford delivered vastly improved quality while also offering impressive driving dynamics, room for five adults and a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines. The Fusion put Ford back into play in the battle for midsize sedan supremacy, and in some ways the agile sedan shined brighter than the Camry and Accord. The Fusion also won respect from Consumer Reports for its high quality, and JD Powers named the Fusion an APEAL winner. For all that is right about the Fusion, though, it has consistently ranked fourth or fifth in the sales battle, losing big to the Altima, Accord, and Camry.

Ford put a lot into the first generation Fusion, and for 2010 the Dearborn, MI-based automaker is taking more big strides. The Fusion has a fresh look, more powertrain combinations, and hybrid offering that can achieve 41 mpg in the city. Ford also introduced the new 2010 Fusion Sport with a 3.5L V6 engine producing 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. We've been waiting patiently for Ford to offer its 3.5L engine in the Fusion, so we happily took the keys to a well-equipped Fusion Sport recently to test it for ourselves. Follow the jump to see how the new Fusion Sport fared during its stay in the Autoblog Garage.

Photos copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

Our Black Fusion Sport tester came equipped with all-wheel drive and carried a price tag of $29,590 including destination. Our tester had few options checked off, but it did include Ford's Moon and Tunes package that adds a moon roof and up-level Sony sound system. Our Fusion Sport tester also had a reverse sensing system that gives an audible warning whenever you're about to back over something or someone.

The original Fusion was the first Ford in North America to incorporate the brand's now familiar three-bar grille. For 2010, the Fusion is first again; this time it's the first vehicle in North America to combine Ford's North American Bold design language with some Kinetic cues from Europe. The large fog lamp openings and open-mouth lower fascia have roots in the Euro Focus and Mondeo, yet the all-American three-bar grille still hovers ever larger above. Also gone are the Fusion's "squircle" headlamps, replaced by more contemporary lamps that match up well with the grille.

The Fusion's bonnet is also all-new, with stamped metal similar to the new Taurus, yet featuring a far more aggressive appearance. Our Fusion Sport tester came equipped with body color rocker moldings, also giving it a lower appearance than other Fusions. Out back, the Fusion sports new taillamps and a shorter rear bumper with twin tailpipes peeking through. There's even a modest rear spoiler that we could honestly do without, but it helps differentiate the Sport model from other run-of-the-mill Fusions.

The Fusion's makeover leaves it looking sportier and more refined than the model it replaces, but without some sporty moves, the beauty is only skin deep. Fortunately, Ford delivered the goods. First, the Fusion Sport's exclusive 3.5L V6 is mated to Ford's tried and true 6F50 six-speed automatic transmission. The engine's 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque don't sound like a Mustang's V8, but the engine packs enough aural punch to let passengers and onlookers know that this is no ordinary midsize sedan.

The ample powertrain proved to be very engaging on the straights, with enough power to keep your mind on the accelerator and lesser sedans in the rear view mirror. The Fusion's six-speed transmission is smooth and shifted fast enough on its own to win out over the Select Shift manual shifting option. With "manual" shifts occurring up to a full second after selecting a gear, it joins most other manumatic transmissions in being consistently passed over.

The V6-powered Toyota Camry proves that a proven powertrain does not make a driver's car. The Fusion, however, has always had a willing chassis and the story improves for 2010. The Fusion Sport has greatly increased spring rates at the front and rear, and a rear stabilizer bar that's increased in diameter by 4mm for the AWD model verses the base Fusion. The rear suspension was also improved by moving the pivot points for the control arms closer to the center of the car, reducing body roll in the process.

The improvements to the Fusion's already athletic chassis has made for a very stable, engaging ride, which was only enhanced by our tester's optional, class exclusive all-wheel-drive system. On dry pavement, the Fusion Sport's Haldex AWD system and P235/45R18 Goodyear Eagle tires fly in the face of physics. In other words, the Fusion Sport has some serious grip, especially for a $29,000 midsize family sedan. Our second day with the Fusion came with four inches of snow, which gave us yet another reason to recommend the all-wheel-drive system. On a day when at least 10 drivers met the business end of a ditch during our 25-mile commute, the Fusion surrendered not one iota of wheel slip.

The only downside to a powerful V6 engine coupled with an all-wheel-drive system is fuel economy. We averaged 20.1 mpg during our week with the Fusion Sport, which isn't going to score you any points with the Sierra Club. If this news makes you a little uneasy, fear not. The 2.5L four-cylinder Fusion achieves 34 mpg on the highway while also exhibiting even better handling due to a reduction in mass. There's also the new Fusion Hybrid that uses an improved version of the Escape Hybrid's gas-electric powertrain and achieves a rather remarkable 41 mpg in the city.

For all of the Fusion's capabilities, it will spend most of its time as a competent, comfortable family sedan. Ford engineers worked to make the 2010 model quieter than the model it replaces, while at the same time creating a more rigid frame that can soak up road imperfections without fuss. And though the Fusion may look a bit smaller than the competition, its interior is roomy and thoughtfully packaged for four adults.

The Fusion Sport features supple leather seats with ample lateral support to keep you upright in your seat when cornering forces come calling. We happened to like the eye-catching red leather inserts and dash trim that differentiates this top-shelf model, though some may find the interior color palette tacky. The seats and steering wheel also feature red stitching, which is a nice touch for a mainstream midsize sedan. Finally, Ford kept the Fusion's interior stuffed with high quality, soft-touch materials throughout.

While the 2010 Fusion earns high marks for big stuff like its chassis, engine and exterior design, there are some more minor issues that tried to spoil our fun. Some of the interior switchgear feels cheap with chrome-painted plastic that looks ill-equipped to handle the test of time. The steering wheel is also too Ford-parts-bin familiar for a top-of-the-line sport model. Those issues can be easily overlooked, but what we least appreciated about our 2010 Fusion tester was its lack of heated seats. Heated seats are available as an option, but butt-warming tech should be standard for any leather-upholstered seating surface in the dead of Michigan winter.

We liked the first-generation Fusion quite a bit, and the 2010 model is clearly far more capable. In addition to the 2.5L four-cylinder and 3.0L V6 models, Ford has added both this Fusion Sport and the Fusion Hybrid to its lineup, which gives customers a choice of Fusion for any disposition. With four Fusions from which to choose, it will be easier than ever to pick the one that's right for you. The Fusion Sport earned our affection for sure, but we'll soon be spending time behind the wheel of the 240-hp 3.0L V6 model, the 34-mpg 2.5L four-cylinder model and the 41- mpg hybrid before deciding which Fusion fits us just right. Choice, however, is a very good thing, especially when it comes to great product.

Photos copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Cool people
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pick up a new 2012 and got a great value. 5 stars from me! Yes '13 is special but saved $$ & love the quiet ride & quality build.
      Hello Deb
      • 2 Years Ago
      My daughter just bought a used 2010 Fusion. She has had it only 3 months. it has been sitting in my driveway broken for the past month. The throttle something or other. Ford says she isn't covered under the warranty becasue she is the second owner. Were she bought it said the warrenty from them has expired. The part is NOT sold at auto stores and Ford company is charging almost 200$ Just for the part. Ford is aware that this part is malfunctioning and refuses to fix it. We do not have the kind of money it is going to take to fix this thing. FORD Does NOT stand behind their product !!!!!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the son-of-SHO persona but for that sort of money I would buy a G8.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For that amount of money(dont forget the FWD Fusion sport starts at only 25k), you get either a well equipped AWD Fusion Sport or a V6 G8. The Fusion is much better equipped and will be a better performing car. If we were talking about the G8 GT, then that would be different but that car is over 30k dollars to start. Thats a different price range. I would definitely take the Fusion over the V6 G8.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Front fascia is very Saab-ish and that red interior trim is just awful.

      I'd have to agree with the other poster that for this type of money I'd be leaning towards the G8, even if I had to buy a used one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Absolutely great-looking in front with a stylish interior.

      REALLY hoping they do the Fusion SVT (AWD & EcoBoost V-6).
      • 6 Years Ago
      This car is gorgeous. Bravo Ford!!! I can't wait to see what the aftermarket has for the 2010 Fusion.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great looking Fusion! and the red inserts don't look cheap. I really like this car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How much more fun is the tighter turning circle?
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ FASTLANE

      You think I don't anything know about cars? I was not happy when Fusion 1st introduced they tried so hard to convince the public using their "test" comparing Accord, Camry with a AWD Fusion, I remember it so well I was like oh come on you gotta be fair if you want to prove everyone that you just made a great car then why not compare it FWD to FWD cars? why would you use your AWD version comparing to FWD cars. No wonder until now Fusion is just a follower and not a leader do you see them making headline in magazines? Do you see many people rush to the dealer and try to put a deposit on one? We have to be real and stop lying to ourselves sales numbers is everything in the real world especially sales number without the fleet sales. Simple example, GM always boast they were number one when most of the sales are not private but govt fleet sales and rental fleet sales. That is why their image is ruin and again image also connected to resale value. Resale is just a simple supply and demand if you know your basic economic. If Camry and Accord sell so much and they still could keep their resale value it mean that people trust it and want it even if its used. And not only that, GM become less aggressive and less creative and think they get away with outsourcing engineering from Asia and Europe, manufactured in Mexico, Canada, Asia, Europe and just re badge everything and say its locally made. While the hated Accord and Camry are manufactured here in USA. I understand they are engineered globally because they are not American brand.
      And you trying to say I don't know anything about car so how come I know this so called Fusion is not all American engineering what will the Fusion be without Mazda? Focus share with Mazda3 Ford Fiesta with Mazda2 and Ford Mondeo, Fusion, Milan all share with Mazda6. I don't want to make you like a fool but I drives Ford everyday at work and own a Volvo as my personal car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good Lord, learn how to write! It would make you appear more credible and intelligent.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They compared the AWD to the FWD because THEY ARE THE SAME PRICE! For the same money, Ford offers AWD. That is why they are compared. So apparently you not only do you know nothing about cars, but simple math eludes you as well. Bashing a car for offering more for less? WTF!?!?!?!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't think of a single Korean CAR (sedan or coupe not SUV or CUV) that offers AWD! Kia and Hyundai do not make an AWD competitor to the Accord or Camry. Ford does offer AWD sedans for the same price as the competition's FWD model. How is that unfair competition? Ford offers more bang for the buck! DUH
      • 6 Years Ago

      Couldn't agree with your previous 3 posts more! People who buy cars for resale value usually don't care about the driving experience, and probably don't invest a whole lot.

      And anyone who thinks a Camry or an Accord is "better" than this obviously making those claims based on something other than driving dynamics and is likely a grandma...or a panty.

      I agree with those who are critical of the steering wheel, and I'd bet the Accord's interior is superior to this in terms of fit and finish, although this doesn't look to be too bad. But this car looks wicked cool compared to those in it's class, and I'm guessing is going to be the most fun to drive in the segment. And when I buy a car those are the two most important things.

      If you're concerned about resale get a closed-ended lease and give it back in four years. Ford can deal with it then.

      This next-gen fusion looks to be class-leading when it comes to my priorities.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow interesting
      3.0 V6 240hp sound familiar.. like previous gen Honda Accord 3.0 V6 also 240hp
      now their 3.5 V6 engine 263hp still less than the new Accord 3.5 V6 and still less than Camry's 3.5 V6 gosh I agree with some people here Ford is playing a catching game. and I realized something why Accord and Camry did not offer in AWD version? because it ADDED weight and weight is a MPG killer. Yes it add traction and improve handling but it also cause the driver to push the car even harder aka reduce the MPG even further. Now we know why Honda and Toyota made their car so called boring because slow and boring will not put a lot of stress on the car engine, transmissions and will not kill the MPG thus it give a great reliability therefore their car always keep a great resale value.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ dm:

        I guess you don't realize how silly it looks to sit back and claim that Ford is playing catch up to Honda and Toyota because the Duratec 3.5 is missing a few horsepower.

        Furthermore, that AWD system that is a MPG killer is OPTIONAL....meaning if you don't want it, you don't have to have it. Ford claims that models with FWD will be class leading in terms of fuel economy, if that is the case who is going to be playing catch up to whom? It's a simple AWD system, what makes you think that it is going to cause all this alleged stress to the powertrain?

        BTW which vehicle offers the only 5 speed auto/V-6 combination?
        • 6 Years Ago
        + 100

        Reason why Honda & Toyota are some of the BEST cars on the road and the best for the money.
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