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2018 Ford Fusion: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2017

The 2018 Ford Fusion is one good reason to buy a midsize sedan instead of following the crossover crowd. Actually, it's several good reasons in one car, because it covers many bases from family runabout to luxury conveyance to grippy performance machine, wrapping great driving abilities and convenience features into what is arguably a fine-looking package. There are also hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions (reviewed separately).

Cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are always popular, but the Fusion has its own particular attributes that make it well worth considering.

What's New for 2018?

After Ford gave it a comprehensive midcycle revamp last year, the Fusion stays the same.

What We Like

Sophisticated dynamics; looks as good as it drives; impressive technology; availability of all-wheel drive

What We Don't

Front seats might be too narrow for some.

How Much?

$22,995-$37,770

Fuel Economy

Both the Fusion S and SE have a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 175 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a 6-speed automatic, and fuel economy is estimated at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving.

The SE also offers an optional 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that develops 181 hp and 185 lb-ft. A stop/start function helps bring fuel economy up to 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.

Another option for the SE, which is also standard on Titanium and Platinum trims, is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The 6-speed automatic gets shift paddles here, and fuel economy estimates are 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, or 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined with the optional all-wheel-drive system.

The V6 Sport model has, naturally, a V6 engine. It's a 2.7-liter unit turbocharged to produce 325 hp and 380 lb-ft (on 93-octane gasoline). It also uses a 6-speed automatic transmission and has all-wheel drive. Fuel consumption is estimated at 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Ford Fusion comes in S, SE, Titanium, Platinum and V6 Sport trim levels.

The S ($22,995) kicks things off with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic halogen headlights, LED tail lights, power windows and locks, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with auxiliary controls, intermittent wipers, a height-adjustable manual driver's seat, a 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 USB port.

The SE ($24,270) steps up to 17-in wheels, SecuriCode keypad access, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, a 6-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, satellite radio, six audio speakers instead of four and eligibility for a variety of options the base S doesn't get, such as turbocharged engines and a navigation system that upgrades the default central display to an 8-in full-color touchscreen. An optional Technology package for the SE includes the Sync 3 infotainment touchscreen.

The Titanium ($31,270) receives a powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine, 18-in wheels (a few different 19-in designs are available), fog lights, dual exhaust tips, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver's-seat memory settings, a 10-way power adjustment for the front passenger, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient cabin lighting, aluminum pedals and an exclusive 12-speaker Sony audio system with the Sync 3 interface.

The Platinum ($37,770) gets everything the Titanium trim offers, plus quilted leather upholstery, power adjustment for the steering wheel and its own grille insert.

The V6 Sport ($34,625) has the most powerful engine and all-wheel drive as standard, 19-in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, LED lighting, adjustable suspension, bigger brakes, a rear spoiler, bespoke black mesh grille treatment, four exhaust tailpipes, leather/simulated-suede upholstery, heated front seats, self-dimming rearview and driver's-side mirrors and a 9-speaker sound system.

Options on lower trim levels include various items that come standard on higher trims. Navigation, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, 110-volt outlet, automated parking and a sunroof are among those available extras.

Trunk space measures 16 cu ft. Not the best in the class, but perfectly acceptable.

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.

Many electronic driving aids are also offered, including a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure assist and adaptive cruise control with forward-collision mitigation, pedestrian detection and a driver attention monitor.

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 (IIHS) gave the car its best score of Good in four of its five main categories, with the small-overlap front crash test earning the second-best score of Acceptable.

Behind the Wheel

The front seats are snug. Those accustomed to generous American dimensions might not be so appreciative. No need to worry about rear passengers, though. Maximizing space beneath the elegant roofline was clearly a priority, since even 6-footers have headroom to spare. Legroom is also plentiful.

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

The base 2.5-liter engine is fine, but far from the latest and greatest. The 1.5 turbo 4-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 and Platinum trims, this engine also has to move more weight.

The V6 Sport is the muscle car of the bunch. Its adaptive suspension can read the road ahead and set shock absorption to make pot holes less intrusive. Selecting the Sport setting from the driving modes will also sharpen up steering, throttle and gearshift responses.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Hyundai Sonata -- An appealing alternative, offering sophisticated style, great value and a hybrid variant. Updated for 2018.

2018 Toyota Camry -- An all-new generation debuts for 2018, retaining the value for money, strong resale values and reputation for reliability. The range includes a hybrid.

2018 Honda Accord -- Also completely new for 2018. Supremely capable and a quality product in virtually all aspects.

2018 Mazda6 -- Goes big on style, driving manners, space and equipment. No hybrid, but fuel economy is good in every model.

Used Audi A6 -- Buying used brings the chance to head more upscale. For design, technology, driving talent and prestige, the A6 is hard to beat.

Autotrader's Advice

There's quite a gap in price between the SE and Titanium models. So buying an SE and spending a little extra on options is a good way to go. Or perhaps the budget can stretch to the Titanium or beyond.

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New 2018 Ford Fusion SE
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New 2018 Ford Fusion Energi SE
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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.
2018 Ford Fusion: New Car Review - Autotrader