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

For the first time ever, Motor Trend announced the winner of its annual Car of the Year award this afternoon live via webcast. Though the field of 23 contenders was highly competitive this year (follow the jump for a complete list), we guessed immediately that the winner was a Ford as soon as the webcast came online. How'd we know? The fact they were broadcasting the announcement from Ford World Headquarters in Detroit was a not-so-subtle clue. The Fusion, Taurus and Mustang were all in the running, but it was Ford's redesigned mid-size sedan, the Fusion, that took home the coveted Golden Calipers.

In retrospect, the choice is a solid one and not all that surprising. The Fusion was extensively reworked for the 2010 model year and features a new exterior design, new models and new powertrains. Ford offers a four-cylinder model, two strong V6 options and a full-on parallel hybrid variant, which means buyers should have no trouble finding a Fusion that fits their needs. And indeed they have, as the Fusion has already broken its own yearly sales record – with two months left to go.

Like MT, we're big fans of the Fusion here at Autoblog, and even have high hopes that one day it could be the domestic car that knocks the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord from atop their perches as the best selling cars in the States. That said, this Ford still has a long way to go. Toyota has sold nearly twice as many Camry models as the Fusion so far this year, and the Accord and Nissan Altima are still flashing their taillights at Ford's CoTY winner. It's not just demand, as Ford doesn't even have the production capacity at the moment to match Camry sales, and it doesn't help that the Mercury Milan siphons off a few potential Fusion customers, as well.

Nevertheless, this is less about what the Fusion could be in the future than what it is today: the 2010 Motor Trend Car of the Year. Congrats to Ford and the Fusion team.


Related GalleryReview: 2010 Ford Fusion Sport

Related GalleryReview: 2010 Ford Fusion SE 6MT

Related GalleryReview: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
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[Source: Motor Trend]


CONTENDERS FOR 2010 MOTOR TREND CAR OF THE YEAR:

BMW 7 SERIES
BMW Z4
BUICK LACROSSE
CHEVROLET CAMARO
FORD FUSION
FORD MUSTANG
FORD TAURUS
HONDA INSIGHT
HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE
KIA FORTE
KIA SOUL
LEXUS HS 250H
MAZDA3
MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS COUPE
MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS
NISSAN 370Z
NISSAN CUBE
PORSCHE PANAMERA
SUBARU LEGACY
SUZUKI KIZASHI
TOYOTA PRIUS
VOLKSWAGEN GTI
VOLKSWAGEN ROUTAN