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Review: 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium AWD

Tuesday December 31st, 2013 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Sweet Motor, Excellent Balance, Precise Handling
Gripes: Sharp Edges on Lower Steering Wheel Spoke

The Fusion ticks the “best ever” box in a number of departments for Ford. Its form fitting seats rate this accolade, for example, by providing such tightly molded support that you don’t want to leave them when you’ve reached your destination. The tailored looks of the Titanium Fusion are fetching enough to make you cast a parting glance at it every time you walk away. Interior furnishing are slick enough to convince you you’re driving a German built Audi, not a Ford made in Mexico. And the driving experience is precise enough to make you think you’re wheeling a BMW rather than a domestic product. So what’s the secret to all this success? Good design augmented by even better implementation.

The fun starts under the hood, where the 2.0 liter turbocharged “EcoBoost” engine makes a prodigious amount of horsepower (240hp) and torque (270lb.-ft.) given its modest displacement and excellent 25 MPG overall fuel consumption. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that any Grand Prix engine producing 120hp per liter would have landed in the winner’s circle at every Formula 1 race on the schedule. This direct injection gem of a Ford motor processes its fat torque curve through a creamy smooth 6 speed automatic gearbox featuring “SelectShift,” a proprietary Ford gear changing system that utilizes both a console lever and steering wheel paddles to manipulate gear choice. If you slot the console lever into the rearmost position designated by an “S” for Sport, the transmission automatically revises its program to favor use of lower gears, higher engine speeds, and faster shifts from gear to gear. In the Sport range, the diminutive paddles adjacent to your thumbs on the steering wheel become operational. In other words, the Fusion can be driven like a true sports sedan.

Fortunately, it also enjoys the kind of handling precision and all wheel drive traction that usually costs far more than the Fusion’s base price of $32,200 might suggest. The only optional item enhancing performance on this test car was a set of 19 inch alloy wheels for an extra $695. These “H-Spoke” dark stainless colored aluminum rims mounted beefy 235/40R19 Continental Conti Sport Contact tires that stuck to the pavement assiduously. Ford has snubbed the suspension movement of this Fusion effectively. It will cut apexes with the best sedans Europe has to offer. Those scooped bucket seats pin you in place while the taut springs and shocks do their job.

But we can keep the little secret about this car’s exceptional handling between us, because you can sell it to the family as a practical and safe means of transportation, and nothing more. After all, the 5-passenger Fusion scores high on the Institute For Highway Safety’s Rating System, with “Good” results on all 4 crash tests. Up front, standard dual stage airbags combine with knee bags to afford maximum driver/passenger protection. Side curtain airbags are also standard fitment. The rear seat is spacious and inviting, and the low beltline of the Fusion’s redesign for 2013 emphasizes outward visibility. Ford has also improved airflow over exterior surfaces by 10 percent, resulting in a corresponding increase in fuel economy at freeway speed.

The cockpit of the Fusion Titanium is a restful and well crafted space. I noted very close tolerances at the tricky joint where the dashboard meets the door panel. In fact the only interior demerit was a failed retraction spring on the passenger side grab handle which allowed the handle to dangle. Microsoft’s” MyFordTouch” computer system interface inhibits intuitive programming of the infotainemt system. But once you’ve mastered that hurdle, the system does work well. Below the removable coin holding tray in the compartment between the front seats. you’ll find a pair of memory stick receptacles which you can use to load all your musical choices into the Fusion’s memory. Ford uses Grace Note software for all disc and music file identification. Although our test Fusion boasted several expensive technological additions (including a $1,000 Driver Assist Package for lane keeping, a $995 radar Adaptive Cruise Control, and a $795 Parking Assist) you can easily do without any of them and still enjoy the many primary virtues of this sedan. However, a rear window wiper would be a useful option that Ford does not offer.

The Fusion Titanium AWD offers exceptional value, great comfort, and such sublimated driving pleasure that anyone canvassing the market for a sports sedan ignores this impressive Ford at their peril.

2013 Ford Fusion Titanium AWD

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, turbocharged, direct injection
  • Horsepower: 240hp
  • Torque: 270lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22MPG City/31MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $37,670
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ford |Tags:, , || No Comments »


2013 Ford Fusion SE Review

Thursday January 10th, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Remarkable Handling, First Rate Fit and Finish
Gripes: Tiny Info Screen, No Visual HVAC Temp Confirmation

Park the 2013 Fusion next to Ford’s previous model of the same name and you will instantly see that everything has changed but the name. The previous model was so chrome-clad, clumsily styled and ponderous looking that it makes the new Fusion look like Botticelli’s Venus on the Half Shell. Your first impression of the 2013 Fusion’s comparative grace, balance and purpose is not deceiving. This car will be a game changer for Ford because it not only matches but improves upon the competition from Honda (Accord), Toyota (Camry) and Nissan (Altima).
And for family types who seek a little enjoyment from the art of driving, Ford caters to your specific need by selling a manual transmission version of the Fusion. Try buying one of those at your Honda, Toyota or Nissan store.

Let the celebration begin at the Fusion’s as-delivered price of $26,040, which should provoke a case of reverse sticker shock. The base price of the SE is $23,700, with a $1,510 bump for Equipment group 204A (Appearance Package, 18 inch Painted Sports Wheels, Rear Spoiler), and $295 for a Reverse Sensing System (with dashboard camera display). What really made this car a champ is the availability of the 6-speed manual gearbox, with its perfectly weighted shift mechanism, silky clutch engagement, and ideally suited gear ratios. Although the Fusion’s small displacement (1.6 liter),turbocharged inline four produces just 178hp, the slick gearbox allows you to provide a gear set as demand dictates. No waiting for the lethargic up and downshifts of an automatic, which would seep the lifeblood out of this edgy EcoBoost motor.

The 18 inch optional rims notch the sedan into a performance class on a par with BMW 3 Series road burners. Tire fitment for these rims is generous, with Goodyear Eagle LS2 tires measuring 235/45R18 at each corner. Late one night, clear weather and traffic free road conditions conspired to provide the ideal opportunity to test the Fusion’s handling. This sedan is remarkably composed when pushed close to the limit. Ford has dialed understeer out of the SE’s handling portfolio. Turn-in is crisp and precise, and power is sufficient for really quick motoring without oversteer. The Goodyears, which don’t look particularly aggressive in the tread pattern department, never issued a single squeal. Ford has really managed to sort the twisty road performance of this unassuming family car.

The interior is a pleasure to behold. The exceptionally clean looking black cloth seats benefit from red stitching across their 7 cushion, and 9 backrest pleats. Two different shades of metallic burnishing adorn the interior accents. The center stack and door pulls are done in matte aluminum, while the door panel and glovebox trim strips are matte platinum. The basket weave beige headliner looks expensive, and Ford has even seen fit to equip it with 4 hand grabs which are cushioned to retract noiselessly when you let go of them.

Large water bottle holders make the sizeable door pockets really useful, the glove box offers 2 expansive shelves, and even the rear seat is fully equipped, with adequate leg and headroom, and a drop down cupholder/armrest. A final touch exhibits just how far this company has come in terms of design: the keypad which allows you to unlock your car from the outside – formerly a fixed and ugly device – is now seamlessly integrated into the B-pillar as a lit unit which disappears from view after you shut the driver’s door.

If there’s any confusion about the Fusion it’s in the engine choice department. Those of you opting for maximum scat will want to consider the 2.0 liter EcoBoost option which provides 188hp. There’s also a non-turbo 2.5 liter version good for 175hp. But with highway fuel consumption 37MPG, it’s hard to beat the 1.6 liter engine, especially when it’s tied to that superb manual 6-speed transmission.

2013 Ford Fusion SE

  • Engine: 1.6 Liter Inline 4, Turbocharged, Direct Injection
  • Horsepower: 178hp @5,700rpm
  • Torque: 184 lb.-ft. @2,500rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 25 MPG City/37 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,040
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review – Best-in-class MPG meets Road trip

Thursday December 2nd, 2010 at 1:1212 AM
Posted by: berrichondanny

By Danny Chang

Pros

  • Great MPG
  • Decent power
  • Amenities galore & cool dash

Cons

  • Small trunk due to battery placement
  • Interior space a bit tight for a family
  • Styling not a strong suit

I have driven both the first generation regular gasoline engine Ford Fusion and its cousin Mercury Milan as rental cars on business trips and I must say I was not particularly impressed. They are perfectly fine mid-size sedans, just nothing to write home about. But I’ve always been intrigued by the Fusion Hybrid. Here was an American sedan with a self-developed hybrid technology that got better mileage than a Toyota Camry? Beating Toyota, the company that started the hybrid craze, at its own game? This I had to see, and drive, for myself. So I was glad to have the chance to drive one down to LA for my sister’s wedding last weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Expert Reviews, Ford, hybrid |Tags:, , || 5 Comments »


Best Mid-size Sedans of 2010 That Cost Less Than $30,000

Monday November 22nd, 2010 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: AKramer

best_sedans_2010For a little while, it seemed like the mid-size family sedan was going to go the way of the dodo bird. Starting in the late 90s, folks across America began snapping up SUVs like hotcakes, and those still sticking with four doors and a trunk often migrated upmarket to luxury nameplates.

Take one great recession, add some higher gas prices, and viola, the times have sure changed again. Buyers are downsizing away from expensive, gas-guzzling SUVs, and the market for mid-sized sedans is as competitive as it has ever been. Sure, smaller crossovers are popular and wagons are making a small comeback, but for basic transportation that is also practical and affordable, nothing beats a well made four door sedan.

Selecting just 5 excellent mid-size sedans was tough, as almost every manufacturer offers a competitive product these days. Our top 5 needed to really excel in all areas, including build, performance, design and functionality, and of course value. With this in mind, we feel our finalists are all truly well balanced cars, with no major flaws and a lot to admire.

HONDA ACCORD FORD FUSION CHEVROLET MALIBU MAZDA MAZDA6 HYUNDAI SONATA

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Posted in Chevrolet, Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda |Tags:, , , , , || 1 Comment »


Best Hybrid and Green Cars of 2010

Monday November 1st, 2010 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: AKramer

CarReview_Best_Green_Car_2010By Alex Kramer

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago gas was cheap, the SUV was king, and fuel efficiency was one of the last things car buyers were concerned about. Surprisingly, it was also ten years ago that Honda and Toyota introduced a seemingly radical technology that involved strapping batteries and an electric motor to a gas engined car, creating the first hybrids.

Fast forward ten years and the traditional SUV has all but died out, gas is $3 per gallon, and hybrids are as common as apple pie. More importantly, awareness of global warming and our dependence on foreign oil, along with a depressed economy, has made fuel efficiency a far more important criteria for car buyers. This, in turn,  has spurred the automotive industry to pursue smaller, cleaner and more efficient designs. The result is a plethora of choices for buyers seeking a more fuel efficient, greener set of wheels.

Although hybrid cars are perhaps the most effective way to significantly increase fuel efficiency, with 9 out of the top ten most fuel efficient cars featuring a gas electric drivetrain, not everyone will be happy with the increased cost and performance sacrifice that often comes with hybrid ownership. Luckily we now also have a new generation of clean diesels that are nothing like the noisy, smoke belching diesels of the past, instead providing excellent performance along with hybrid worthy fuel efficiency. And for those who are wary of all of this alternative technology, there are finally plenty of efficient, well made small cars available in America.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ford, Lexus, Mercury, Toyota, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , || 4 Comments »


2010 Toyota Camry Review

Monday May 24th, 2010 at 1:55 PM
Posted by: Derek

2010 Toyota Camry

by Derek Mau

Pros:

  • A much needed bump in power of 11 hp
  • Resale value and reliability make Camry a safer investment than the S&P 500
  • Auto up/down for ALL four window switches

Cons:

  • Missing iPod and iPhone interface
  • Hard plastic steering wheel and too many interior hard plastic surfaces
  • Driving excitement on the same level as doing your laundry

Toyota has had its share of ups and downs lately, but popularity of their #1 sedan remains strong. The Toyota Camry has been America’s best-selling car for seven consecutive years and 11 of the past 12 years.

For 2010, the Camry receives a midcycle rejuvenation. Most notably, the base four-cylinder engine increases in size from 2.4 to 2.5 liters, with a corresponding 11-hp bump (21 hp on the SE). Now, both the manual and automatic transmissions have six speeds instead of five. Other changes include a restyled grille and taillights, a new optional audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth® for base and LE models, and auto up/down windows all around. Finally, stability control is now standard across the model range for improved safety.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Toyota |Tags:, , , || 4 Comments »


2010 Ford Fusion Review – A nice sedan at a nice price

Thursday October 29th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2010 Ford Fusion
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Responsive 240 hp V6 engine
  • Capable chassis and suspension
  • Roomy and comfortable interior
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Some chintzy interior plastics
  • Exterior design still needs work
  • Disappointing fuel efficiency

Introduction

Trivia question: Which manufacturer produced the best-selling car in America 15 years ago? If you’re thinking Honda or Toyota, guess again. Although it seems hard to believe, given the recent collapse of the US auto industry, in 1994 the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable reigned supreme, proving that America could beat the foreign competition and build a top-rated, best-selling family sedan.

Unfortunately for Ford, the Taurus/Sable lineup gradually lost its edge and by the late 1990’s Honda and Toyota had firmly re-established their dominance in the market for mid-sized sedans, and it’s been a Camry and Accord love fest every since. Fast forward 10 years and it looks like Ford is finally ready to reclaim its title as the go-to manufacturer for quality family transportation. With the refreshed 2010 Fusion, Ford has an appealing mid-sized sedan that should make the competition more than a little nervous.

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CarReview's 2009-2010 Hybrid Buyer's Guide

Monday October 26th, 2009 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: ggaillard

Honda CR-Z

By Greg Gaillard

Hybrids Come of Age

Just 10 years ago Honda released the Insight as the first US mass market hybrid combustion/electric car.  Its two seat aerodynamic teardrop shape, light weight and focused engineering delivered spectacular fuel economy that generated quite a bit of media attention.  In the real world however, the Insight represented significant compromises in terms of utility, performance and perceived safety.  Launched at the height of the SUV boom alongside inexpensive gasoline, sales weren’t significant and to many people the Insight was another Honda engineering experiment; a car that Honda’s Asimo robot might drive, but not something American families would put in their garage.

What a difference a decade makes.  Last week the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2010 and hybrids swept the podium with 9 out of the top 10 MPG scores.  At least in terms of EPA ratings, hybrids are the drivetrain technology of the moment.  Perhaps more important than MPG is how the technology has evolved into a variety of solutions that can be used across a range of body styles without many of the original Insight’s compromises.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, GMC, Honda, hybrid, Lexus, Mercury, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »




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