By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
The choices for mid-size family sedans are almost overwhelming: The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata are just part of the list. So what makes the 2012 Ford Fusion so popular? For starters, the Fusion is a well-built car with an excellent reputation for reliability and resale. Its styling is modern and its SYNC audio and communications system is highly popular. The 2012 Fusion is also one of the few mid-size sedans to offer the option of all-wheel drive, and it drives more like a sporty import than a floating domestic. Granted, the Fusion's fuel economy isn't the best in class, but it is respectable enough. Besides, if you want optimal fuel economy, choose the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid (reviewed separately).
If you're looking for a safe, reliable family sedan that has a bit of an edge in both the styling and handling departments, the 2012 Ford Fusion deserves a test drive. In addition to its numerous trim and option packages, the Fusion also offers a high-performance Sport model that includes the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD).
If you're all about modern design and getting the most bang for your buck, the Fusion can't hold a candle to the Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima. Both cars feature cutting-edge styling and equipment, and can be had fully loaded for around $26,000.
Ford's 6-speed automatic transmission and 17-inch wheels are now standard on the SE trim level.
Driving Impressions Thanks to the advanced 6-speed transmission and peppy 4-cylinder engine, even the least expensive 2012 Ford Fusion has ample power to deal with the normal demands of city and highway...driving. The 3.0-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines return respectable fuel economy while delivering vastly better acceleration and passing power. The front-wheel and all-wheel drive platforms both provide good traction in snow and slippery road conditions. Ford's EPAS (Electric Power Assist Steering) improves feedback while reducing fuel consumption (it eliminates the need for a belt-driven hydraulic pump that burdens the engine); it also reduces the Fusion's turning radius by nearly a foot, making it easier to maneuver the car. EPAS is standard on all but the Sport model, which retains a hydraulic setup still preferred by most enthusiast drivers. The Fusion's capable suspension helps minimize roll while still returning a smooth and quiet ride.
Impressive Powertrain Combinations
Advanced engines and transmissions make all conventional 2012 Ford Fusion models engaging to drive. Both the 4-cylinder and V6 engines offer outstanding fuel economy and run on regular gas (and/or E85 in the case of the 3.0-liter). Ford's newest 6-speed automatic employs a manual-style SelectShift gate and can be paired with either V6 engine.
SYNC Voice-Activated Communications
Standard in the 2012 Ford Fusion SEL and Fusion Sport and available in S and SE models, the SYNC package is arguably the most useful and user-friendly multi-purpose input/output system on the market today. The system includes 911 Assist capability, Traffic, Directions and Information, Vehicle Health Report diagnostics, and can integrate with the optional on-board navigation system.
The 2012 Ford Fusion features a handsome and modern interior covered in soft-touch materials and loaded with appealing features. But, while the design is well laid out and logically arranged, the controls for the climate and audio are just too small and placed low in the dash where they are hard to see. Models with voice activated-SYNC and navigation have some features controlled by voice or the steering wheel controls, which is a big help. The enhanced bolstering on the front seats provides impressive support, while the rear offers sufficient head and leg room to comfortably accommodate two adults – or three for shorter distances. Finally, the 60/40 split-folding seatback adds utility to the Fusion's 16.5 cubic-foot trunk.
The 2012 Ford Fusion sports a power bulge on the hood, flared front fenders and one of the best iterations of the Ford three-bar chrome grille to date. Underneath is an underbody shield designed to improve airflow and reduce drag, and thus help improve fuel economy. Ford's new wheel designs also earn high praise from us, even on the base models, and there are different sizes depending upon the trim level: The base S model has 16-inch aluminum wheels, the SE and SEL models are on 17s and the Sport model gets its own 18-inch wheels with performance tires.
All 2012 Ford Fusions are very well equipped. The Fusion S has power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, keyless remote entry, 6-speed manual transmission, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering column, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, AdvanceTrac stability control, anti-lock brakes and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. The SE adds SIRIUS Satellite Radio, an enhanced sound system, power driver's seat, 6-speed automatic transmission, steering wheel controls and fog lamps, while the SEL has dual-zone auto climate control, leather-trimmed full-power seats and SYNC voice-activated communications. The Sport adds more power, sportier handling, exterior and interior trim and 911 assist to its SYNC system.
Fusion S extras are limited to a 6-speed automatic transmission, remote start, and floormats, while SE buyers can opt for a 3.0-liter V6 with SportShift automatic, electrochromic mirrors, SYNC with 911 Assist, 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 (leather seating and trim enhancements). SEL and Sport trims are available with Navigation, a Moon & Tune Package (moonroof plus 12-speaker/390-watt Sony premium audio), and all-wheel drive. Only Sport buyers can choose the 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 with a tauter suspension is available for the SE and SEL.
The 2.5-liter Duratec in-line 4-cylinder makes 175 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, whether mated to the standard 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 6-speed automatic. Available in SE and 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 lb-ft of torque. The Sport level brings a potent 3.5-liter V6 rated at 263 horsepower, 249 lb-ft of torque and is paired with the 6-speed SelectShift automatic. The SEL and Sport models also offer optional on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD).
2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/32 (manual, S), 23/33 (automatic), 22/30 (SelectShift automatic)
3.0-liter V6 (Flex-Fuel)
240 horsepower @ 6,550 rpm
223 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (gasoline, FWD), 14/21 (E85, FWD), 18/26 (gasoline, AWD), 13/19 (E85, AWD)
263 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
249 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (FWD, automatic), 17/25 (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."
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