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2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

4dr Sdn V6 SEL

Starting at | Starting at 21 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $21,710 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

Printable Version

2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

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2006 Ford Fusion

Source: The Car Connection

 

Can Ford's new Fusion sedan do what the Taurus initially did? Without becoming what the Taurus ultimately became?

Between 1986 and 1995 it was hard to imagine Ford without the Taurus. That car came onto the market and was an instant sensation; its jellybean shape and commonsensical engineering effectively rewired the brains of Americans as to what they expected from a domestic sedan. It was the best-selling car in America for five straight years - 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996.

And then Ford blew it. Big time.

The redesigned 1996 Taurus has to rank as one of the worst makeovers in the history of the automotive industry. It was flaccid, ovoid and goofy where the original Taurus had been taut, straightforward, and sober. By the time the 21st century came around, the Taurus had gone from market leader to automotive shorthand for generic, uninteresting, and institutional. It kept selling to fleets, even as retail sales dribbled down to the negligible.

Ford is slyly avoiding the reality of the situation in its press releases and talking points, but the Fusion is taking the Taurus' place in the company's sedan lineup between the larger and archaic Crown Victoria, the larger and somber Five Hundred, and the smaller and familiar Focus. It's the car with which the company will take on Camry, Accord, Altima, and all those other perfectly engineered, front-drive mid-size appliances. If Ford is going to be a force in the retail sedan business again, the Fusion has to be a hit.

Fortunately for Ford, the Fusion has the potential to be just that. A big hit.

Marshalling of resources

Does it matter that much of the stuff that makes up the Fusion was originally designed for the Mazda6? Probably not, and Ford isn't trying to hide that fact.

Ford calls the unibody base upon which the Fusion is erected its "CD3 architecture" and its expanded riff on the Mazda6. At 190.2 inches long, the Fusion is 3.4 inches longer than that Mazda and its 107.4-inch wheelbase is 2.1 inches longer. But the most significant dimensional difference is width, where the 72.2-inch-wide Fusion spans 2.1 inches broader than the Mazda. The structure is Ford's first to be completely conceived on a computer, and the company claims it's significantly stiffer than the Mazda original.

Compared to rest of its direct competition, the Fusion is almost exactly their size. Honda's Accord, for instance, is 189.5 inches long, 71.5 inches wide, and rides on a 107.9-inch wheelbase. In practical terms, these differences are meaningless. The Fusion is, however, smaller than the outgoing Taurus sedan that stretches out 197.6 inches long and 73.0 inches wide and rides on a 108.5-inch wheelbase.

Chassis and engines

The rest of the chassis designs come over pretty much intact from Mazda. That includes a short/long arm front suspension, a multi-link independent rear suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. There's nothing startling in all this - and nothing wrong either.

Ford is shipping the Fusion out with two different "Duratec" engines and both are shared with the Mazda. The base four is an all-aluminum 2.3-liter, DOHC four making 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 150 pound-feet of peak torque at 4000 rpm. The optional V-6 displaces 3.0 liters, has DOHC heads, a total of 24-valves, and makes 221 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 205 lb-ft of peak torque at 4800 rpm.

While these two engines are shared with Mazda, they're actually both built in North America. The four comes from Ford's engine plant in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the six comes from that venerable institution, Cleveland Engine Plant ##2 in Ohio.

The Fusion also shares its six-speed automatic transmission -- a required companion to the V-6 -- with the Mazda6. Amazingly compact, this transmission looks like it ought to be hanging off the side of Harley-Davidson instead of transmitting power in a 3280-pound sedan. Unfortunately Ford doesn't provide any way for the driver to positively control the selection of ratios manually - the conventional transmission control only shows a single "L" indent below "D" which apparently keeps the transmission from heading into the overdrive fifth and sixth gears and not much else.

Four-cylinder Fusions will come with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Ford didn't have any four-cylinder Fusions on hand for sampling.

Too sexy for its brand

Ford is selling in three different trim levels. At the base is S starting at $17,995, the SE will likely be the popular model while the SEL caps the line by loading on all sorts of luxuries including 17-inch wheels and automatic climate control. All three come with the four standard, with the six available in SE and SEL.

All three are great-looking cars. Taking styling themes established by Ford's 427 concept car during the 2003 auto show season, the lines are handsome from every angle, but particularly so from the front where the three bold chrome slats make up the grille and the headlights manage the neat trick of being both somewhat rectangular and swooping up into each front fender. If there's one problem with so many cars in this class it's that they're boring looking. The Fusion, in contrast, is simply delightful looking.

And that continues inside where the cabin is trimmed with a lot of soft-feel plastic and a lot of airbags.

The dash is well balanced with a hooded binnacle in front of the driver covering four round gauges (the speedo and tach are big, the temp and fuel meters no-so-big) trimmed in fake brushed aluminum. The center stack includes all the audio and ventilation controls laid out with intuitive operation in mind, and there's a neat round clock that adds some sense of elegance to the environment. The four-spoke steering wheel packs some redundant ventilation and audio controls for ease of operation.

Yes, the seats are nice. But what's better is that there's enough room to enjoy them. In stark contrast to Ford's old Contour, the big seat has enough like room so that a six-footer can sit behind a six-footer with enough comfort for a lunch run. If the driver is five-eight, that six-footer might even be comfy for a couple of hours back there. And of course - this is a car designed for American tastes - there are plenty of cupholders.

Every Fusion comes with standard (and required) dual-stage airbags for the front seat occupants. Optional are seat-mounted side airbags for the front passengers and side curtain airbags for both the front and rear passengers. In this tough market segment, Ford may have scored some points by making all those bags standard (as Hyundai has with the six standard airbags in the new Sonata). But price is a critical element to selling in this segment too.

Drives like a Mazda

The Mazda6 is among the very best driving cars in its class and most of those manners transfer over to the Fusion. Riding on Michelin P225/50VR17 radials, the SEL's chassis responds to steering inputs quickly, the four-wheel disc brakes work with composure (though ABS should be standard instead of an option), the suspension rides comfortably over inconsistent roads, and the whole thing remains quiet under virtually all circumstances. The steering may not have quite the quality of the Subaru Legacy's, and the whole assembly doesn't work with the stunning precision of the Honda Accord, but it's fully competitive with everything else.

The V-6 works unobtrusively and with some enthusiasm. But for drivers who want more power, there's always the Altima's snorting 3.5-liter VQ-series V-6. And for anyone wanting dead-nuts silence, should go for the Toyota Camry's 3.3-liter V-6. Still this is a good engine for most people most of the time.

Having said that, the driver needs some positive control over the six-speed automatic transmission to make this car truly fun-to-drive. There are moments when the tranny is hunting for a gear when it should be confidently downshifting for a corner or upshifting at the torque peak. For everyday driving, this transmission is dang-near perfect, but there are days that are extraordinary and this transmission doesn't offer much with which to play.

What the 2006 Fusion boils down to is this: It's not going to be the quickest, best handling, most luxurious, or highest value player in its market segment. But it's completely competitive on all those counts and it's easily more stylish than its direct competition. Combine that with people who want to buy American (that Hermosillo, Mexico, assembly plant is still in America, right?) and Ford's vast network of dealers and this car is bound to be a hit.

Two decades after the Taurus debut, Ford deserves a hit. And if they're careful, this one could last longer.

2006 Ford Fusion SEL V-6

Base price: $21,995

Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 221 hp

Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Length x width x height: 190.2 x 72.2 x 57.2 in

Wheelbase: 107.4 in

Curb weight: 3280 lb

Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): N/A

Safety equipment: Four-wheel disc brakes; front airbags; anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags optional

Major standard equipment: A/C; AM/FM/CD; power windows; cruise control; tilt and telescoping steering wheel

Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles

 
 
© from TheCarConnection.com

Printable Version

2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front n/a
Side Impact Crash Test - Rear n/a

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Rear Head side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Ford Fusion Sedan

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