2006 Fusion New Car Test Drive
It's tough to imagine that a decade ago Ford sold the best selling car in the U.S. Back in the 1990s, sales of the Ford Taurus eclipsed those of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Then the market shifted to trucks and SUVs and it seemed like Ford abandoned the car market. Sales of the Ford Explorer skyrocketed. The Taurus slumped and was relegated to the rental car fleets. People who wanted a mid-size sedan bought Japanese cars.
Ford is now determined to regain its footing in the car market. The Ford Fusion just may be the right answer and just in the nick of time. In any case, Ford appears to have done its homework.
Based on the highly praised Mazda6 sedan, the Fusion is a rock solid entry at a decent price. It handles well, looks purposeful and delivers good value for the money.
The 2006 Ford Fusion was launched with front-wheel drive, but an all-wheel-drive version will be available later in calendar year 2006. The mid-size, four-door sedan comes with the choice of two engines, three transmissions, and three trim levels.
All trim levels come standard with a 2.3-liter 160-horsepower four-cylinder Duratec engine coupled to a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional ($1,095).
The Fusion S ($17,345) comes standard with air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power door locks with remote keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, AM/FM stereo with four speakers and a single CD/MP3 player.
The SE adds a six-way power driver seat, two additional speakers, redundant speed and audio controls on the steering wheel, dual illuminated mirrors in the sun visors and carbon fiber center stack applique.
The SEL adds fog lamps, 17-inch wheels, automatic temperature control, upgraded wood or piano black interior trim, premium six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player, leather wrapped steering wheel and an analog clock.
A 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 221 horsepower coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission is available for the SE and SEL. (No manual transmission is offered with the V6.)
Leather seating is optional and a power moonroof is available.
Safety features include optional side curtain airbags for head protection in both roads, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for thorax protection for the front seats, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control.