An Aston with an identity crisis The new Ford Fusion is what the Chevrolet Impala used to be; a rolling sofa. Unlike the Impalas of the last decade though, it has character.
I love Aston Martins. Each spring for the past couple years I’ve gone back and forth with the idea of purchasing a Vantage. They’re less ostentatious than Lamborghinis and more appealing than Ferraris. Their uniqueness is expressed by their renowned and universally respected beauty and elegance. I was a little bit confused when I saw the 2013 Ford Fusion for the first time; its design is so Aston-like that it’s almost out of place on the Hertz lot. Though the Fusion has never excited me, the fact that I actually find the new one better looking than an Aston Rapide makes a part of me want one. Yes, I’m an unmarried 24-year old guy who secretly wants a plain-jane midsize sedan. I went into this road test with mixed feelings; I was about to drive a gorgeous car that I figured I probably wouldn’t really enjoy driving.
My Fusion SE (despite contrary belief, not the base model) was driven by a 1.6L EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder. The little 1.6 doesn’t feel turbocharged, and surprisingly, doesn’t feel slow. Its 178-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque move the big car along very adequately. The beauty of the EcoBoost engine is supposed to be its efficiency, but that’s where the Fusion left me underwhelmed. In combined driving on premium fuel I couldn’t do any better than 10L/100km. To compare, the 2014 Mazda6 managed 8L/100km, and it’s considerably more fun to drive.
The SE 1.6 is reasonably well equipped. If I were to buy a Fusion, it’s the one I would buy. Granted, even under the SE designation, there are five trims (2.5 Auto, 1.6 Manual, 1.6 Auto, 2.0 FWD, and 2.0 AWD). I guess this makes it easy for Ford to upsell the EcoBoost models, especially since the 2.5L 4-cylinder is prehistoric with the plethora of turbos flooding the market nowadays. My tester had the Luxury Package, which gave me essentially everything I would want minus a sunroof. In fact, I’d skip on the leather seats because while they’re reasonably supportive, the leather feels like the vinyl back seat of a Crown Vic P71.
Now here’s where I was really surprised. I ended up genuinely enjoying the way the Fusion drives. I was stuck driving it out of Toronto in the middle of rush hour, and that’s where I typically find myself getting thoroughly annoyed with the stupidity of other drivers. In the Fusion’s beige interior though, I ended up feeling isolated from the ignorant schmucks darting between lanes, and just cruising along. It still took me a horrendous amount of time to get out of the downtown core, but I was far less cranky at the end of my drive than I usually am. Plus, in the words of the boost addicts, you can’t say no to the “turbizzle”.
The new Ford Fusion is what the Chevrolet Impala used to be; a rolling sofa. I was rather pleased with the driving position after messing with the seat/steering wheel for a while, but I had more than one passenger complain about the position of the passenger seat. Unlike the Impalas of the last decade though, it has character. It’s nimble enough to tackle a daily urban commute, and it’s quick enough to get out of its own way. Even the sound of the EcoBoost motor is pretty good. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty darn roomy. With cars like the Fusion and Malibu getting significantly bigger, the enormous Taurus and Impala are becoming more and more redundant.
I’ve never been a huge fan of MyFordTouch. It’s a great concept; things are easy to find, all the controls are user-friendly, and it’s attractive to look at. It’s theoretically and aesthetically sound; but it just doesn’t live up to the expectation. It’s awfully slow, unresponsive, and don’t even think about using it with gloves on. I wish that simple controls like fan speed, temperature control and heated seats were physical buttons. It’s rather cumbersome when you’re trying to warm up the car on a cold day and the climate control doesn’t respond because the system is trying to index your iPod.
A guy in the parking garage at my condominium has just bought a top-trim Fusion Titanium. It’s a gorgeous metallic red with a factory spoiler and has the premium wheels on it. The car looks fantastic. However, it seems as though every other Fusion I see driving around has an Enterprise sticker in the back window, and consequently is relatively base. I can’t help but feel that the allure of such a beautiful car has been ruined by its destiny. Such a fate is especially saddening considering it’s actually a very, very competent sedan.
2013 Ford Fusion Gallery