By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
Now in its sixth year as Ford's point player in the ultra-competitive mid-size sedan segment, the Fusion arrives for 2011 fresh from last year's major makeover ready to do battle against the likes of 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 remains shared with its former Mazda stable mate, the MAZDA6, both its exterior and interior have be transformed to reflect a more youthful and contemporary flavor. The final piece in the 2011 mix is the Fusion Hybrid variant (reviewed separately) that complements the conventional lineup, which includes S, SE, SEL and a high-performance Sport model.
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 2011 Ford Fusion merits serious consideration for a spot in your garage.
Even this latest and greatest 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."
HD Radio is now available, as are rain-sensing wipers, "MyKey" programmable vehicle key and two new equipment groups: Luxury and Comfort. Integrated blind-spot mirrors are now standard on Fusions not equipped with the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).
Driving Impressions With increased power and torque plus advanced six-speed transmissions, even four-cylinder 2011 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 trim 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 suspension geometry tweaks carryover from last year, imparting a more precise feel with better roll control across the lineup. Complementing those dynamic improvements are decreased ambient noise levels in the Fusion's hushed cabin.
Impressive Powertrain Combinations
Advanced engines and 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). Ford's newest six-speed automatic employs a manual-style SelectShift gate and can be 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 2011, it's been upgraded to include a new 911 Assist capability, Traffic, Directions and Information, Vehicle Health Report diagnostics, and can integrate with the optional on-board navigation system.
Where the original Fusion's interior was a bit hard edged and lacking in sophistication, the 2011 model demonstrates a much more elegant approach. Ford made the Fusion's passenger compartment more inviting by adding 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 recently 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.Exterior
The Fusion received a major refresh last year, beginning with design tweaks that impart a sportier look and improved aerodynamics. Everything ahead of the A-pillar was redone, 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 the revamp, new underbody shields help channel air aft more efficiently, while its rear quarters gained 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.
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, six-speed manual transmission, 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.
Fusion S extras are limited to a six-speed automatic transmission, remote start, and floormats, while SE buyers can opt for the automatic transmission, a 3.0-liter V6 with SportShift automatic transmission, electrochromic mirrors, SYNC with 911 Assist (with or without a sunroof), rear spoiler, a monochrome appearance package and the Reverse Sensing System. The SEL offers the 3.0-liter V6, Driver's Vision Package (Rear-View Camera plus Blind-Spot Info System with Cross-Traffic Alert) and the Luxury Package (illuminated door sills, unique leather heated front seats, chrome door pulls and mirror caps.) 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 Rapid Spec which adds the Moon & Tune, Comfort Package (dual-zone climate control, heated seats, four-way power passenger seat, puddle lamps and driver's keypad) and the Driver's Vision Package. A Sport Appearance Package that includes a tauter suspension is available for the SE/SEL.
2010's significant powertrain upgrades carry over for 2011, bringing technology that elevates the pony count, fuel economy and driving experience in all Ford Fusion models. The 2.5-liter Duratec in-line four-cylinder makes 175 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, whether mated to the standard six-speed manual transmission or the 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: 22/29 (manual), 22/30 (automatic), 23/33 (SelectShift automatic)
3.0-liter V6 (Flex-Fuel)
240 horsepower @ 6550 rpm
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (gasoline, FWD), 13/20 ( E85, FWD), 18/26 (gasoline, AWD), 13/18 (E85, AWD)
263 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
249 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (FWD, automatic), 17/24 (AWD, automatic)
By Adudewithafusion on Monday, February 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Pretty fun to drive when it was acting nice."
Cons: "Bad front end, calipers, axle/CV, rear defroster."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I test drove a Fusion and I loved it. I got mine (not the one I test drove as I didn't want a moon roof) and after 600 miles I had issues with a front end vibration issue. I was in and out of dealers more than I ever wanted. I opened a case with Ford corporate....there was no resolution. Finally, after looking into the issue myself, I found a front caliper had started to seize. It was replaced under warranty...and brakes were said to be replaced and rotors resurfaced. Brake pads were, rotors were not resurfaced. Rather than go back, I decided to get performance rotors and brake pads. When I went to remove rotors, I discovered why they were not resurfaced....they were welded to the spindle in both the front and back on one side. This issue was eventually resolved with a torch and a dead blow hammer. All this and more by the time I had 3,000 miles on the vehicle. I replaced an axle at a non-Ford facility since it was bad(Ford did not acknowledge the problem). Over time, I found that the CV joint was bad on the same axle/wheel that has had the majority of issues...and that was the last straw for the vehicle...which I am now trading in. Brakes and rotors have been replaced 4 times, with wear being extremely uneven. The side that had had the seized rotor always wearing out very fast(Ford still said no problem found). Tire wear has been extremely uneven as well. I have replaced the tires 5 times (4 summer sets, 1 winter set for 2 winters) all while rotating and aligning as listed in manual. Transmission has had some issues over time, with rough shifting starting at 20,000 miles and staying pretty constant. Yet still not very smooth with normal acceleration, but just fine when accelerating very rapidly. I am on my 4th Ford blower motor in the vehicle, as they start to squeal after about 5,000 miles of driving. (I just started to ignore it after the 4th one, too much money wasted replacing them). Also, Sync is terrible at many things. Voice recognition is bad and it does not recognize what I say. Also, it constantly tells me that songs from my media are unavailable, even after a Sync reset. One other constant repair has been the rear defroster, with 3 repair jobs required, one at the beginning of each winter. The only pro I have is that despite the terrible front end vibration, the vehicle is somewhat fun to drive. I imagine that had I not received a lemon of a vehicle, I would have driven this car into the ground over many more years."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By steve on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "A competent good riding car. Not exciting."
Cons: "Interior well laid out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The car is the only new car I have owned that required no warrantee work. It has been in the garage only for oil changes. The appearance of the car turns me off and that is the reason I am getting ready to trade. Based on quality, it is one of the best cars I have ever owned. I commented to my wife that ford spends too much time designing trucks. I never fell in love with the appearance of the car."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By lupi on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking...like heated seats."
Cons: "Trunnk and hands free phone needs redesigned"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Car looks sharp!! If you want a good trunk...this one has a lot of space...but when you unlock it, it doesn't open up at all. Without a handle or a space from popup you need to physically pull up the the trunk. Doesn't help if you have a load in your arms or the car is dirty from winter driving. The seats in front are not comfortable...no matter how high they are set it is like riding in a sports car with your knees up even with your chin. Not comfy on a road trip. Love the heated seats. The hands free is not good. People cannot hear me on the other end most times..and as far as voice recognition more often than not it dials the wrong person. Also most times the phone goes to Privacy Mode and it takes 3 or 4 tries to get your call through handsfree. I have had it in shop 3 times for this and they cannot figure it out. Bad design!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By rich on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "semi reliable"
Cons: "high price not super comfortable poor resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"car has had tranny problems, seems ok after 4 trip to dealership and a full tranny rebuild. radio, heat adjustments are not easily readable or operable at the lower counsel area. seats are semi comfortable. overall car is better then average sedan, but nothing to get exited about."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By satified on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great car"
Cons: "Should have better resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this fusion for my wife in 2010. She has a history of just killing cars. This one just will not die. Except for a battery replacement no other repairs have been done. Gas mileage is pretty good and it always has been dependable. It handles well on wet or dry roads. The next car will be a Ford."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By francois on Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,550overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "All features tested and beneficial."
Cons: "Have no negatives"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Aerodynamics adds to control and handling, very quiet, engine-transfer case really a craft of engineering. The best over all !"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful