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2018 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Ford Fusion: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill September 2018
  • The 2018 Ford Fusion is available in Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants, and with AWD.

  • The 2018 Toyota Camry is all new.

  • Both the Camry and the Fusion are named IIHS Top Safety Picks.

Two of the best-selling, most well-known midsize sedans on the market are the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry. The Camry is all new for 2018, while the Fusion has been on sale in its current iteration for 2013. Both come from trusted automakers and boast lots of technology and ample safety features. Since it might be hard to choose between the two, we've compared them below to help make your decision easier.

Basic Specs

The Camry was fully redesigned for 2018 and received an aggressive and muscular new design. From the simple LE model to the sporty SE and XSE models, every variant has been improved. SE and XSE models get their own unique performance-styled bodywork featuring a variety of scoops and aero pieces.

The Camry can be had with two different traditional powertrains, along with a hybrid variant. Lower-end models come with a 4-cylinder making 203 horsepower, while the optional V6 makes a potent 301. Four-cylinder models earn 32 miles per gallon overall, while the V6 earns 26. Hybrid models, which combine a 4-cylinder engine with Toyota's hybrid system, make 208 hp and return an impressive 46 to 52 mpg combined, depending on trim level.

The Fusion was last fully redesigned for the 2013 model year. Buyers have a variety of powertrain options to choose from, and even have the option of selecting all-wheel drive on upper trim levels. At the bottom of the engine lineup is a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder making 175 hp and returning 25 mpg combined. Next is a slightly more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 181 hp and returns 27 mpg combined. The Fusion's most balanced engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 240 hp while still returning 25 mpg combined in front-wheel drive guise and 23 mpg combined with optional all-wheel drive. At the top of the Fusion range is a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 available on Sport models and pumping out an impressive 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque while returning 20 mpg overall. All non-Hybrid fusions come with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Two non-traditional powertrains are also available: A hybrid model and a plug-in hybrid, dubbed the "Fusion Energi." Both vehicles employ a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to an electric assist system and putting out a combined 185 hp in Hybrid models and 195 hp in Energi models. Hybrid models earn 42 mpg combined, while plug-in Energi models earn a theoretical 95 mpg combined, given that they can travel up to 22 miles on electric power alone.

Dimensions

The 2018 Toyota Camry is 192.1 inches long, 72.4 inches wide and 59.6 inches tall. Up front, the Camry offers 38.3 inches of interior headroom and 42.1 inches of legroom. Backseat Camry passengers get 38.0 inches of headroom and 38.0 inches of legroom. When it comes to cargo space, the Camry offers 14 cu ft.

The Fusion's dimensions are very similar to those of the Camry. The vehicle is 191.8 inches long, 72.9 inches wide and 58.2 inches tall. Inside, the Fusion offers a spacious front seat, with 39.2 inches of headroom and 44.3 inches of legroom. In the back, the Fusion offers 37.8 inches of headroom and 38.3 inches of legroom. The Fusion offers 16 cu ft. of cargo space, a best-in-class figure.

Interior Design

As a part of its redesign, the new driver-oriented Camry gained an appropriately driver-oriented cockpit, with a center stack now tilted toward the driver. While great for the driver, this asymmetrical design somewhat isolates the front seat passenger, cutting them off from storage space and making it less convenient for them to reach radio and HVAC controls. Altogether, though, the Camry's redesigned interior is stylish and serves to add additional excitement to what has traditionally been a rather sterile midsize sedan. Nicer aluminum- and wood-look trim is available, while an exhilarating red leather interior is available on XSE models, complemented on the exterior by an available black roof.

In comparison, the Fusion's dashboard is very symmetrical, with a rectangular center stack and gauge cluster. All Fusions eschew a traditional gear shift knob for a rotary dial, a welcome change as this frees up space around the center console. As a whole, though, the Fusion's interior is dominated by basic black plastic and uninspired design and seems dated overall; a feeling that tends to befall older vehicles, as mainstream vehicles continue to push interior quality forward with every new redesign.

Features

The 2018 Camry offers an available 360-degree camera, a heads up display, power driver and passenger seats, heated front seats, a panoramic moonroof, sport and eco modes and paddle shifters.

While it lacks the panoramic sunroof and heads up display offered by the Camry, the Fusion adds an available power adjustable steering column, memory driver's seat, cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Infotainment

Entry-level Fusions offer a small, simple infotainment screen, while higher end models get an 8-inch unit running Ford's Sync 3.0 infotainment system, which is regarded as being intuitive and easy to use. The 8-in unit also offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The 2018 Ford Fusion offers three 12-volt outlets and two USB ports.

Standard on the 2018 Camry is a 7-in infotainment screen, but higher trim levels get an 8-in screen. Buyers are stuck with Toyota's dated Entune infotainment system -- like most Toyota products, the Camry doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, a major strike against it. A JBL-branded premium audio system is available as well. The 2018 Camry offers only one 12-volt outlet and one USB port.

Altogether, the Fusion offers a much better infotainment system and better cabin connectivity than the Camry.

Reliability

According to JD Power brand reliability studies, Toyota falls above the industry average and Ford falls around or slightly below the average. Both brands offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; in line with the competition.

Safety

Both the 2018 Camry and Fusion perform well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing. The 2018 Fusion is named a Top Safety Pick, while the new Camry earns even better marks and is named a Top Safety Pick+.

Both vehicles also offer a lot in the way of driver assistance safety features.

Every single 2018 Camry offers standard adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection and rear automated emergency braking are available via additional packages.

The Fusion offers almost all of these features as well, plus parking assist, but none as standard equipment.

The only real difference between the available driver assistance safety features on these two vehicles is that the Camry offers rear automated emergency braking, and the Fusion does not, while the Fusion offers parking assist, and the Camry does not.

Overall, the tech offered by both vehicles is pretty comprehensive, but the Camry comes out ahead for offering many of these features as standard.

Autotrader's Advice

Even as it nears the end of its life-cycle, the Fusion offers far and above a better infotainment system than the Camry, and offers buyers more choice, with available plug-in and all-wheel drive models, and at the top of the range, the performance-oriented AWD V6 Sport model. As a result, buyers looking for a little more than the every-day midsize sedan will want to consider some of the Fusion's higher-end offerings.

Still, the Fusion has a dated-looking interior and lacks the reputation for dependability and reliability that the Camry is known for. With its recent redesign, the Camry is finally a little exciting to drive, especially with the potent V6 engine. While it still isn't a sport sedan, the Camry won't offend anyone, and if you're looking for familiarity and predictability, it's probably the right choice.

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New 2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6
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Used 2018 Toyota Camry LE
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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 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Ford Fusion: Which Is Better? - Autotrader