KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Now in its fifth year as Ford's point player in the ultra-competitive mid-size sedan segment, the Fusion receives a major makeover for 2010 that raises its profile and competitive status against primary rivals like the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. Although much of the basic platform engineering on this front-drive/all-wheel drive four-door carries over, both its exterior and interior have been redone, imparting a more youthful and contemporary flavor that also brings additional measures of quality and style to the mix. Reinforcing that comprehensive upgrading are suspension refinements and more fuel-efficient powertrains. The final piece in the 2010 mix is a new Fusion Hybrid variant (reviewed separately) that complements the conventional lineup, which now includes S, SE, SEL and a new high-performance Sport model.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need the practicality of a well-appointed, well-engineered and crisp-handling family-sized four-door that also offers a choice of fuel-efficient four-or six-cylinder engines and available all-wheel drive, the 2010 Ford Fusion merits serious consideration for a spot in your garage.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Even this new-and-improved Fusion may not be enough to convince hard-core Accord and Camry owners that it's time to head down to their local Ford dealers. Those who prioritize interior space would likely prefer the Chevy Malibu or the latest-generation Accord, which has grown sufficiently to now qualify as an EPA "large car."
What's New for 2010
A thorough revamp imparts new character to Ford's mid-size Fusion Sedan with cleaner styling, greater refinement, improved vehicle dynamics and upgraded powertrain combinations that boost both performance and fuel economy. An enthusiast-oriented 263-horsepower Sport variant also joins the lineup.
With more power and torque plus new six-speed transmissions, even four-cylinder 2010 Ford Fusion models have plenty in hand to cope with all normal city/highway traffic demands. Those willing to forego a bit of fuel economy will find the Fusion even more appealing when equipped with the 3.0-liter V6, while the 3.5-liter makes the Sport variant downright quick. Buyers can opt for front- or all-wheel drive with either engine. All but the Sport now use Ford's Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) that improves feedback and helps boost fuel economy. This new EPAS hardware also cuts nearly a foot out of the Fusion's turning circle to ease maneuvering in tight confines. Numerous refinements and geometry tweaks to the otherwise carryover suspension impart a more precise feel with better roll control across the lineup. To complement those dynamic improvements, the design team worked diligently – and quite effectively – to decrease ambient noise levels in the Fusion's revamped cabin.
Impressive Powertrain Combinations
Revised engines and new transmissions make all conventional Fusion models more engaging to drive. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines offer outstanding comparative mpg and drink regular unleaded (and/or E85 in the case of the 3.0-liter). The new six-speed automatic even gains a manual-style SelectShift gate when paired with either V6 engine.
SYNC Voice-Activated Communications
Standard in the Fusion SEL/Sport and available in S/SE models, the SYNC package is arguably the most useful and user-friendly multi-purpose input/output system on the market today. For 2010, it's been upgraded to include a new 911 Assist capability, Vehicle Health Report diagnostics, and can integrate with the optional on-board navigation system.
Ford made the Fusion's passenger compartment a lot more inviting for 2010, courtesy of a major redesign that brings a richer character and more user-friendly elements to all models in the range. Soft-touch surfaces and metallic accents dominate this well-appointed, well-isolated realm, which is highlighted by a restyled dash fitted with highly-legible 3D-look instrumentation and a more logically arrayed center stack. Enhanced bolstering on the front buckets provides greater support and comfort while the rear quarters have sufficient head and leg room to comfortably accommodate two adults or carry three for shorter distances. A 60/40 split-folding seatback adds even more utility to the Fusion's already spacious 16.5 cubic-foot trunk.
The 2010 Ford Fusion's comprehensive visual refresh begins with design tweaks that impart a sportier look and improved aerodynamics. Everything ahead of the A-pillar is new, from the prominent power bulge on its hood and smartly flared fenders to bolder fascia/lamp/grille treatments that impart a lower, wider look. Complementing that revamp, new underbody shields help channel air aft more efficiently, while its rear quarters gain added distinction with reshaped taillamps, a redrawn decklid and a lower-fascia "diffuser" panel with dual exhausts. Fusion S trims get V-rated all-season 205/60 tires on 16-inch aluminum wheels, SE/SEL models step that up to 225/50 rubber on 17-inch steel (SE) or alloy (SEL) wheels while the Sport wears 225/45s on 18-inch alloys.
Notable Standard Equipment
Regardless of trim/powertrain choices, all Fusions are very well equipped. Even the Fusion S boasts power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, keyless remote entry, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering column, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system and a 60/40 split/folding rear seat plus AdvanceTrac stability/traction control, anti-lock brakes and front/front-side/side-curtain airbags. The SE steps up with items like SIRIUS Satellite Radio, an enhanced sound system, power driver's seat, redundant steering wheel controls and fog lamps, while the SEL brings dual-zone auto climate control, leather-trimmed full-power seats and SYNC voice-activated communications. Beyond more power and a dedicated suspension/wheel/tire package, the Sport adds special exterior/interior trim and 911 assist to its SYNC system.
Notable Optional Equipment
Fusion S extras are limited to an automatic transmission Remote Start and floormats, while SE buyers can opt for an automatic transmission, a 3.0-liter V6, electrochromic mirrors, SYNC with 911 Assist (with or without a sunroof), rear spoiler and a Reverse Sensing System. The SEL offers the 3.0 V6, Driver's Vision Package (Rear-View Camera plus Blind-Spot Info System with Cross-Traffic Alert) while SEL/Sport trims allow voice-activated Navigation, a Moon & Tune Package (moonroof plus 12-speaker/390-watt Sony premium audio), and all-wheel drive. Only Sport buyers can choose a convenience-oriented Electronics Package but a Sport Appearance Package that includes a tauter suspension will be added later for the SE/SEL.
Under the Hood
Significant powertrain upgrades bring technology that elevates the pony count, fuel economy and driving experience in all 2010 Ford Fusion models. It starts with a new 2.5-liter Duratec in-line four-cylinder that replaces the previous 2.3-liter. The sole engine in the "S" model, the 2.5 makes 175 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, whether mated to the now-standard six-speed manual transmission or the new optional six-speed automatic. Available in SE/SEL trims and paired with a mandatory 6-speed automatic transmission that adds a manual-style SelectShift feature is a 3.0-liter Flex-Fuel V6 that develops 240 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. The Sport level brings a potent 3.5-liter V6 rated at 263 horsepower, 249 pound-feet of torque and is paired with the 6-speed SelectShift automatic. The SEL/Sport models also offer optional on-demand all-wheel drive.
2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 (manual), 23/34 (automatic)
3.0-liter V6 (Flex-Fuel)
240 horsepower @ 6550 rpm
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (FWD, automatic), 18/25 (AWD, automatic)
263 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
249 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (FWD, automatic), 17/24 (AWD, automatic)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a 2010 Ford Fusion runs from just under $20,000 for a base S with manual transmission to roughly $28,500 for an all-wheel drive Sport variant, putting it well within the range of its competitive set. Opting for the six-speed automatic on any four-cylinder Fusion will bump its tab by about $900 and popping for the 3.0-liter V6 will add anywhere from $1,600 (SEL) to $2,500 (SE) – but that does include the SelectShift automatic transmission. Navigation on the SEL and Sport is only available as part of a dedicated Rapid Spec Package that includes more features but ultimately adds several thousand dollars to the bottom line. Historically, the Fusion has retained a lower percentage of its original value than key rivals like the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. However, the 2010 remake should help boost its appeal, both as a new purchase and when it comes time to sell.