2009 Fusion New Car Test Drive
The 2008 Ford Fusion is an excellent choice among midsize sedans and should not be overlooked. It offers a comfortable ride, purposeful looks, capable handling and good value.
The Fusion is available with a choice of V6 and four-cylinder engines. The four-cylinder comes with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 comes with a six-speed automatic, a feature associated with top-end luxury cars. Both engines provide adequate power and fuel economy though they are outperformed by the engines offered by several competitors.
Fusion's ride quality is as good as any car in the class, save perhaps the Toyota Camry. Available all-wheel drive and a new sport package make fine handling even better.
The cabin is comfortable and well designed with controls that are intuitive and easy to operate. The center dash is not beautiful, however, and the interior looks classier in the lighter colors.
Crisp lines, big headlights and a bold, chrome grille give the Fusion a distinctive appearance that we find attractive.
For 2008, the Fusion gets new features and options. An optional Sport Appearance Package comes with a firmer suspension and sporty interior and exterior styling cues. Antilock brakes and a tire-pressure monitor are now standard, while rear obstacle detection becomes an option. Ford's Sync communications and entertainment system is offered for the first time, and the available navigation system adds voice activation.
The 2008 Ford Fusion offers a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, and it comes in three trim levels, S, SE and SEL. The standard engine for all of them is the 2.3-liter four-cylinder Duratec rated at 160 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a five-speed automatic transmission is optional ($875). A 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 221 horsepower coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission is available in the SE and SEL trims.
The Fusion S ($17,770) comes standard with cloth upholstery, four-way manually adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power door locks with remote keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, four-speaker AM/FM stereo with single CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack, antitheft system and P205/60R16 tires on steel wheels.
The SE ($18,695) adds a six-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, a front-passenger seatback that folds down to handle long cargo, redundant speed and audio controls on the steering wheel, dual illuminated mirrors in the sun visors, fog lamps, premium six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player with two additional speakers, trip computer, carbon fiber center stack appliqu?, fog lamps and 16-inch aluminum wheels. The SE is available with the V6 ($21,445) or V6 and all-wheel drive ($23,295).
The SEL ($19,400) adds automatic headlights, automatic temperature control, upgraded cloth interior, upgraded wood or piano black interior trim, leather wrapped steering wheel, analog clock, heated outside mirrors, keyless entry keypad, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and P225/50R17 tires on aluminum wheels. The SEL is also available with the V6 ($22,150) and with the V6 and all-wheel drive ($24,000).
A new Sport Appearance Package ($895) is offered on front-drive V6-powered models. It includes sport-tuned suspension, black chrome grille, decklid lip spoiler, P225/45R18 tires on aluminum wheels, dual chrome exhaust tips, a brushed aluminum radio surround, red seat inserts, and red stitching on the seats, steering wheel and center console.
Leather seating ($895) is available for the SE or SEL. Other options include a DVD-based navigation system ($1,895) that adds voice-activation for 2008, Sirius satellite radio ($195), rear spoiler ($295), heated front seats ($295), and a Moon and Tune Package ($795) with a power moonroof and Audiophile stereo with six-disc CD changer and eight speakers. Also new for 2008 are Ford Sync entertainment and communications system ($395) and ambient lighting ($295), which illuminates the front cupholders and front and rear footwells and is offered in seven colors.
Safety features on all models include dual-stage front airbags; seat-mounted, torso-protecting front side airbags; side curtain airbags for head protection in both rows; tire-pressure monitor; LATCH child-seat anchors; rear-door child-safety locks. ABS comes standard on all 2008 Fusion models. Traction control is standard on all-wheel-drive models, optional on SE and SEL front-drive models ($95). Rear obstacle detection is optional ($295).