As manufacturers endeavor to do more with less, it is refreshing to enjoy the dynamic displacement of a V-6 in a family sedan, as most are now four-cylinder. And even the turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 in the Ford Fusion Sport is downsized but feels quite full and eager.
Ford does offer three four-cylinder powertrains and two hybrid models for the Fusion. But the Sport model is a sustainable blend of enjoyable performance that will not beat up the occupants.
Steering input is immediate and controlled. The standard electronic continuously controlled damping suspension responds flatly to energetic cornering, but there is some nosedive with hard braking. The ride can seem soft in some conditions, but the shock absorbers control the rebound without being harsh or jarring the cabin.
The 325-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injection 2.7-liter V-6 has 380 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. The power is eager, as if the Fusion Sport wants to be the lead car accelerating away from the stoplight and then keep pace in traffic. If you did not know it was an all-wheel drive sedan, you’d think it was rear-wheel drive. The standard Fusion is front-wheel drive.
This 3,500-pound sedan is light and nimble to drive and returns fuel economy that is acceptable for its thoroughly satisfying acceleration: seventeen mpg city, 26 highway and 20 mpg combined using premium fuel. I was averaging 21.9 to 23 mpg.
Fusion pricing starts at $22,995. The Fusion Sport starts at $34,480, including the $875 freight charge from Hermosillo, Mexico. The tester had $6,605 worth of options for a price sticker of $41,085. A $2,000 Red Carpet Lease incentive is available through April 3. The Fusion Sport makes an ideal business sedan for a car enthusiast.
Spending $40,000 may seem righteous for a Fusion, but the driving experience and features back it up. Standard equipment includes smart-key locking and push-button ignition, rear decklid spoiler, 19-inch dark alloy wheels, P235/40 tires, heated leather- and microsuede-trimmed front sport seats, electric parking brake, rearview camera, active noise control, floor mats (front and rear), LED fog lights and blind-spot alert side mirrors.
At $2,000, the Sport upgrade package includes 4.2-inch LCD displays in the instrument cluster, 10-way power driver seat with power lumbar, six-way power front passenger seat, ambient lighting, dual-zone air conditioning and heat, and a reverse sensing system.
There is much function to the Fusion. Despite a large dashboard and outstretched windshield pillars, cornering visibility isn’t compromised — helped largely by quarter-corner glass at the side mirrors. It opens a location that can be prone to a blind spot.
The cabin is roomy — front headroom is tall at 39.2 inches, and legroom is long at 44.3 inches. The driver area is well-organized for eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. It is a focused area with no flashy gimmicks to impress the easily amused.
The front seats have good thigh support, robust lumbar adjustment and just enough side bolstering to secure movement and comfort without restricting. Metal-trimmed pedals and a big driver footrest reinforce control.
The center console has a big charging bin tucked beneath the base of the instrument panel. It is roomy with open sides, so it’s easy for large hands to locate the USB or the 12-volt charging plug. There’s another set of charging ports in the two-tier center armrest console. And the forward portion of the shift console has a wide notch to rest even a billboard-class of a smartphone.
The touch screen is large in order to access such controls as audio, climate, phone and navigation. There are redundant buttons and switches for climate, fan and seat heaters, as well as a big volume dial and big switches for seek and tune. The driver even has access to those functions on the steering wheel.
Padded visors with lighted mirrors slide. Door panels have deep stowage and bottle holders. And there is a large two-level locking glove box.
The test car had useful options for the commuter, such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go for $1,190 and voice-activated navigation for $795. The Driver Assist Package, which costs $1,625, included auto high beams, blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alert, heated steering wheel and lane-keep assist. Enhanced active park assist, which costs $995, adds parallel parking, park-out assist, reverse perpendicular parking, and forward and side sensing systems.
The back seat is positioned so passengers have their butts down and knees up, which maximizes legroom and footroom, but it’s not to my liking for road-trip comfort. There is a low hump to the exhaust-drive shaft tunnel, which helps three-across footroom. Other back-seat amenities include lights, a 110-volt household outlet and a 12-volt plug.
The trunk is huge (16 cubic feet) but has a fairly narrow opening, which will be fine for golf clubs but restrictive for big purchases.
The Sport’s trim elements help dress up an interior that is still not premium in the appearance of plastics and carpeting. But all the pieces seem durable and solidly assembled.
Get in and drive — briskly — and then smile at the fuel economy.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage