The sportiest Fusion – get it while it lasts.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Pricing: 2018 Ford Fusion
Base price (Sport trim): $43,288
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $44,838
No real changes for this model for the 2018 model year. The biggest change is the death knell that is ringing for Ford cars. Ford announced they will stop making cars within the next couple of years, focusing on crossovers, trucks and the Mustang. That’s too bad, because Ford builds some great cars. Like this one. So if tickles your fancy, get on it – it won’t be around for long.
Ford says the Sport is “designed to be noticed”. Really? There is very, very little to set this Sport model apart from its other Fusion brethren. A high-gloss black grille, quad exhaust tips and a discrete Sport badge on the tail. That’s it. Otherwise it looks like every other Fusion. While that’s not a bad thing – the Fusion being a very handsome sedan – it would be nice to set apart this highly capable version a bit more.
All exterior lighting is LED. The LED head lights are outstanding, and I really like the front and rear LED light signatures.
The dark 19″ rims are snazzy, and they are wearing some serious boots – 235/40s, to be exact.
Inside, there are barely any more hints that you’re driving something special. You might notice the aluminum sport pedals, or the Sport logo on the floor mats, but that’s about it. The Fusion’s cabin is familiar territory – not much has changed in the last few years. It’s pretty dark, but materials are decent with plenty of soft-touch plastics making up most of the surfaces your hand might fall.
The gears are selected via a rotary dial which isn’t for everyone, but it sure does free up some space on the console.
The steering wheel is heated, and the suede and leather seats are heated, cooled and quite comfortable. Ford says they are sport seats and I suppose they are reasonably well-bolstered – but they do not present as sport seats. Unfortunately. Oh well.
Ford’s SYNC 3 system makes plenty of sense to me, and it cleanly handles navigation, phone and sound system functions. In this case, the sound system hasn’t graduated to Ford’s new B&O Play and is still the potent 12-speaker Sony system – which I actually prefer.
A full suite of driver assistance technology keeps you and your passengers safe. You get lane-keeping alert and assist, blind spot monitoring, a backup camera with front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist and pedestrian detection and active park assist.
While head room is somewhat limited in this sleek sedan’s rear seat, leg room is not an issue – I’m 5’10” and room to spare.
Rear passengers get a 12V and a 110 V household plug for charging. My three kids were quite happy with the space back there, but absolutely hated the inflatable seat belts. They are very rigid and difficult to wrangle into their receptacles for little ones that are already doing this for themselves.
There’s a place to put your stuff at the front of the console, as well as under the armrest lid.
Pop the trunk and you’ll find a spacious 453L trunk with nicely shrouded trunk arms. If you need more room, you can fold the rear seats down in a 60/40 split.
Under the Hood
The heart beating in the chest of this Sport model is the 2.7L EcoBoost engine – a twin-turbo V6 that makes 325 HP and and stump-pulling 380 lb.ft of torque. Unfortunately, the transmission is still a 6-speed. All-wheel drive is standard with this trim.
I’ve always found Ford’s EcoBoost engines to be funny because you can’t have it both ways. You either get Eco or you get Boost, but not both. Efficiency isn’t the Sport model’s strong suit with these kind of horsepower numbers – Ford rates it at 13.8/9.1 L/100 km (city/hwy). We ended up averaging 13.2 L/100 km.
Driven normally, this Sport model behaves much like every other Fusion – that is to say it’s quiet, comfortable, responsive and it rides and handles well. It is a very, very nice car to drive.
The extra power certainly makes this a fast car. It has been timed running 0-100 km/h in the low 5 seconds, which is actually very impressive. Yet somehow I came away disappointed. Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely nothing amiss here. But I was somehow expecting neck-snapping acceleration with the kind of numbers this car presents on paper, and it ended up being such a smooth operator, that it doesn’t feel as fast as it is. I think part of the issue is that peak torque doesn’t come on until 3500 RPM versus much lower for most other turbocharged engines. That makes foa very linear power delivery.
I wish Ford would have added a new transmission with at least a couple more gears to its cars. They seem to be stuck with 6 speeds, where all the new truck and crossover products are moving to Ford’s newer 8- and 10-speed transmissions. But this is still a good autobox, if not particularly sporty. It can be shifted manually using paddle shifters (that’s not very exciting though), and there’s a Sport mode too. Sport mode impacts the car’s throttle and steering responsiveness, the transmission programming and even the variable suspension. It also impacts the sound – as in Ford streams more fake engine noise into the cabin in Sport mode. It sounds great actually, but it’s not real.
Speaking of the continuously-controlled adaptive damping suspension – it has pothole mitigation technology which could potentially save you some expensive rim damage. This is a big deal in cities like Edmonton. The all-wheel drive was mostly invisible during our time with the Fusion as we had dry roads, but it is an effective system when the weather turns ugly.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was pretty high. She liked that it was an understated, comfortable car and that it did everything well.
I like that about the Fusion Sport too. But considering how much emphasis Ford puts on the fact that this trim is such a hot rod, I was disappointed. I liked the Fusion Sport. A lot. But I expected something more raw, more sporty.
If you like the Fusion for its ride and handling, as well as its comfortable cabin and well-rounded character (you should) and you want more power than the former king-of-the-hill 2L EcoBoost engine (you should), and you want all the bells and whistles, this might be the car for you. The Platinum trim’s interior certainly beats out the Sports with its stunning quilted leather and genuine wood, but otherwise this Sport trim has it all. No options to worry about – it just comes loaded and has a ton of power on tap. Just remember – it might not be the butt-kicking you expected. It will be a refined, comfortable experience while you sprint from 0-100 km/h in just over 5 seconds. And maybe that’s exactly what you’re after.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Ford Canada.
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