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 turf guy36 on Friday, March 07, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks great"
Cons: "not reliable too pricey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"paid way too much for it when i bought it. 12 months after i bought it had to drop 350 bills on a new throttle body. nothing like seeing a 1year old car on a tow bed. Disappointed with the sudden decrease in value as well. Never a Ford again. I should've known better"
By Bogey on Thursday, February 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mileage, handles well, great looks."
Cons: "Ford quality, hybrids not designed for cold."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Fusion hybrid bought with the help of federal tax credits. Would not buy a hybrid without the credits, the fuel savings are not worth the tradeoffs of having a hybrid. If you live in the northeast you experience winter weather and the hybrid does not allow warming up the car before you leave. Also, after 4 years a lot of little things are starting to break. Heated seat burned out and needed replacement ($400), replaced the tire pressure sensors twice ($200 each), felt strips from the dashboard began popping out for no reason, battery after 4 years doesn't hold its charge like it used to and doesn't work as well in cold weather (remember this is a hybrid). Fog lights are useless, spreads a beam of light 5 feet in front of car. Eyeglass receptacle above the mirror heats up from the sun and melted my eye glasses. I would not buy this car again. Its 4 years old, still runs well but I'm trading it in on a new car, a non-hybrid, non-Ford car."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By JaxMan on Monday, February 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for almost 3 years now and I am still very happy with it. Hybrids are not intened to be performance cars. I just drive a little slower because I am not in a hurry. This allows me to set the cruise control and allow the car's computer to efficiently manage the fuel for me. I have a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also and these vehicle are basically the same car with a differently name and set of features. I will be replacing my Ford Fusion Hybrid with another Ford Fusion Hybrid and the same for my MKZ Hybid."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Jimbo on Thursday, February 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "dependible, good handling, 3.5L V6 good power"
Cons: "Material quality issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Good power with the 3.5L. Handles and rides well. Sony sound system is great. Wheel alignment from the factory was terrible and dealer brush me off. Sun roof has issues closing after a piece of plastic broke. Parking brake froze up because a rubber boot on one end of the cable rotted and let water into the cable. This after only 34K miles."
By Taylor on Monday, January 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Accelerates quickly, comfortable, smooth drive."
Cons: "Doesn't accelerate uphill well."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had my car since 2011. I bought it used (it was a rental). It's been a reliable, comfortable ride! The backseat is HUGE and comfortable, and I've never had any passenger complaints. I love how big the trunk is, it's perfect for a long day of shopping. My car is the 4-cyl SE, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have power. I don't have to make an appointment to pass someone (meaning it can go fast quickly). My only problem is that it doesn't accelerate uphill very well... alas even the smallest of hills are a feat for the Fusion. And it makes a funny sound when I do try (My husband says it's the squirrels haha) Other than that it's the nicest car I've owned, and I do love it. I have it in Metallic Blue. I painted the hubcaps black and tinted the windows. It looks great! If/When I buy a new car in the future, I will definitely buy ford and most likely a Fusion!"
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Rick on Friday, January 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great ride and fun to drive with excellent milage"
Cons: "plastic hub caps on low profile tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought this car in October 2010 and are blown away by how nice it rides even on long trips, The gas milage is fantastic ( over 400 miles per fill up ). The car handles like a sport sedan and has that luxury car feel to it. It seats 5 adults comfortably for it's size with plenty of pep from the 4cylinder engine. The factory sound system is very impressive as with the rest of the creature comforts."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful