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2016 Ford Fusion: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2016

The 2016 Ford Fusion is the only midsize sedan from the Big Three that can truly take on the main players from the east. Cars such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are always popular, but the Fusion has its own set of attributes that make it well worth considering.

From the lively, turbocharged (yet far from thirsty) models to the incredibly fuel-efficient Hybrid, the lineup is packed with star performers. And it isn't all about the drivetrain, because the Fusion wraps great driving abilities and convenience features into what is generally considered to be a fine-looking package.

What's New for 2016?

Though there are no major changes, this model introduces an optional Appearance package for the S trim that features 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, body-colored side skirts and a rear spoiler. The audio system in the S Hybrid now has six speakers, while the SE Hybrid gets 10.

What We Like

Sophisticated dynamics; looks as good as it drives; outstanding hybrid fuel economy; impressive technology; the option of all-wheel drive

What We Don't

Front seats might be too narrow for some; MyFord Touch infotainment system is slow and not always simple to use; hybrid trunk is hurt by awkward battery-pack hump

How Much?

$23,475-$32,305

Fuel Economy

Both the Fusion S and SE employ a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder rated at 175 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a 6-speed automatic, and fuel economy is estimated at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.

The SE, however, does offer the option of a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 181 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. A stop/start function helps bring fuel economy up to 25 mpg city/37 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined.

Also optional on the SE and standard on the Titanium trim is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. This is the only engine that accompanies the all-wheel-drive option. The 6-speed automatic gets shift paddles here, and fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive or 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

The Fusion Hybrid derives 141 hp and 129 lb-ft from its gasoline engine. The electric motor adds 118 hp and 117 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic (CVT), and fuel economy is superb at 44 mpg city/41 mpg hwy/42 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Ford Fusion comes in S, SE, S Hybrid, SE Hybrid, Titanium and Titanium Hybrid trim levels.

The S ($23,475) kicks things off with 16-in alloy wheels, automatic halogen headlights, LED taillights, full power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with auxiliary controls, intermittent wipers, a height-adjustable manual driver's seat, trip computer, Bluetooth, MyKey parental control capability, a rearview camera, SYNC voice-command functionality with MyFord mobile app support and a 4-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack and a USB slot.

The SE ($25,045) steps up to 17-in wheels, SecuriCode keypad access, a 10-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, a 6-way power passenger seat, satellite radio, six audio speakers instead of four, and eligibility for a variety of options the base S doesn't get, including smaller turbocharged engines and a navigation system that upgrades the default central display to an 8-in full-color touchscreen.

The S Hybrid ($26,550) gets 17-in wheels of its own, dual-zone automatic climate control and the hybrid-specific SmartGauge instrument cluster. It also trades the regular car's space-saver spare wheel for a more compact mobile repair kit. Otherwise, it's equipped similarly to the usual S trim, except for the speaker count as mentioned above. The SE Hybrid ($26,480) follows the same formula.

The Titanium ($31,995) moves uptown with a powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine, 18-in wheels (a few different 19-in designs are available), fog lights, dual exhaust tips, keyless entry with push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats with 10-way power passenger adjustments, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, aluminum pedals and an exclusive 12-speaker Sony audio system with MyFord Touch.

The Titanium Hybrid ($32,305) essentially pairs the Hybrid's exclusive hardware and technology with the regular Titanium model's standard features.

Options on lower trim levels include various items that come standard on higher trims. Navigation, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, an automated self-parking system and a sunroof are also available.

The regular Fusion's trunk has 16 cu ft. of capacity, which is perfectly acceptable. The Hybrid's hauling ability is compromised by having to accommodate a battery pack, which sticks out of the trunk floor. For a midsize hybrid sedan, though, 12 cu ft. is still pretty good.

Safety

The Fusion comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain). Inflatable rear seat belts are optional on all trims.

Numerous electronic driving aids are also offered, including a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure assist, adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert.

In government crash testing, the Fusion received a perfect five stars out of five overall, including five stars for front impacts and four stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the car its best score of Good in four of its five main categories, with the front small-overlap crash test earning the second-best score of Acceptable.

Behind the Wheel

Although a revamp is scheduled for the 2017 model year, the cabin still looks up-to-date with crisp gauges, standard steering-wheel-mounted controls and a center stack aimed conveniently toward the driver. The front seats are snug, which might not be appreciated by those who are accustomed to generous American seat dimensions.

There's no need to worry about rear passengers. Maximizing the space beneath the elegant roofline was clearly a priority for Ford, since even 6-footers have headroom to spare. Legroom is plentiful, too.

While there's a great balance here between sport and comfort, the Fusion is definitely leaning more toward the European end of the spectrum, meaning that it has a generally athletic demeanor, like a sport sedan. Around town, the trade-off for such poise is ride quality that some might find firmer than they'd like. One aspect that's top-notch by any definition is the Fusion's noise suppression, which approaches luxury-grade.

The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is fine, but far from the latest and greatest. The pint-sized turbo 3-cylinder is more in tune with the times, delivering good fuel economy and decent punch. The 2.0-liter turbo is naturally more energetic but brings extra heft. And given that it comes in the well-equipped Titanium trim, this engine also has to move more weight.

As for the Fusion Hybrid, it feels quite responsive thanks to the ready torque of its electric motor. And the CVT is surprisingly responsive.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Hyundai Sonata -- The Sonata is an appealing alternative that offers sophisticated style, great value and a hybrid variant.

2016 Toyota Camry -- The Camry was recently revamped, and there's no denying the strong resale values and reputation for reliability. The range includes a hybrid.

2016 Honda Accord -- The Accord is supremely capable. There's no hybrid for the 2016 model year, but a 2017 version is in the pipeline.

2016 Mazda6 -- This model goes big on style, driving manners, space and equipment. There's no hybrid to choose from, but fuel economy is good throughout the range.

Used Audi A6 -- Buying used brings the chance to head more upscale. For design, tech, driving talent and prestige, the A6 is hard to beat. A 2013 model is easily attainable for new midlevel Fusion money.

Autotrader's Advice

An SE with the 1.5-liter turbo is a satisfying combination that won't break the bank. A refreshed Fusion is coming up soon, though.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Fusion: New Car Review - Autotrader