2017 Ford Fusion Review

2017 Ford Fusion - A SHO by any other name, Fusion Sport is a top performer.


Ford's Fusion is one of the bestselling midsize sedans on the market. Competitors include the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat. Fusion is available only as a four-door sedan that seats five passengers Front- or all-wheel-drive models are offered. For 2017, Fusion gets an interior and exterior makeover with revised styling and new features. In addition, there's a new Sport model offering a class-leading V6 engine.

Fusion's lineup is expansive including the S, SE, Titanium, Sport and Platinum. In addition, there are hybrid and plug-in hybrid models (tagged Energi). The S and SE come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 175 horsepower. Two optional engines are offered on SE, a 1.5-liter turbo four with 181 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbo four with 245 horsepower. That 2.0-liter engine is standard on Platinum and Titanium. The new Fusion Sport comes with a 2.7-liter turbo V6 that makes 325 horsepower. All engines mate to a six-speed automatic.

Hybrid models get a 2.0-liter four that pairs with an electric motor and battery pack for a total output of 195 horsepower. Fusion Energi models get the same powertrain with a larger battery pack that allows the vehicle to be driven for up to 20 miles in electric mode. Ford claims that the Energi's batteries can be charged in about 7 hours using a conventional wall plug. When the Energi's batteries are depleted, it operates like a traditional hybrid.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, rear-view monitor and dual-front, front-side, front-knee and curtain-side airbags. Available safety features include inflatable rear seatbelts, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, driver-drowsiness detection, lane-departure warning with intervention, forward-collision warning and front- and rear-parking sensors.

Prices start at $22,120 for the S model and climb to $39,120 for the Energi Platinum. The new Fusion Sport starts at $33,605 and comes standard with all-wheel drive. All Fusion models have a $875 destination charge and are assembled in either Flat Rock. Mich., or Mexico. This review will focus on the Fusion Sport as that was the model made available for evaluation.

With 325 horsepower, Fusion Sport packs the most horsepower in the midsize sedan segment. That's enough power to transport the four-door from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds. Thankfully, all-wheel drive is standard, which helps get that power to the pavement smoothly. Additionally, the six-speed automatic snaps off quick upshifts and prompt downshifts and can be manually manipulated by steering-wheel-mounted paddles. There's a "sport" mode as well that's designed to amp up the experience through even quicker shifts, rev matching and the addition of synthetic engine noise.

EPA numbers are a dismal -- for the class -- 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Though not unexpected, those numbers are significantly lower than Honda Accord V6 at 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. Routine real-world commuting will likely yield about 24 mpg overall. Expect that number to be affected by your right foot. Stomp on the gas and race from stoplight to stoplight and the Fusion Sport will have trouble topping 20 mpg overall. Conversely, spend a fair amount of time in gentle highway cruising and you might see 30 mpg. 

Fusion Sport certainly isn't just about straight-line performance. Ford engineers have added the right hardware (and software) to give the sport sedan the athleticism it deserves. The suspension. brakes, steering and wheel-tire package have all been enhanced, providing a ride that's firm but communicative and agile. The steering is nicely weighted and provides adequate feedback on twisty roads. Brakes have good stopping power and an easy-to-modulate pedal. There's even a pothole sensing system that's designed to help soften impacts on rough roads.

Some might feel that the ride is too firm, and Ford's not likely courting those buyers with Fusion Sport -- after all, there's the basic Fusion model for those shoppers. Interior noise levels are slightly higher than expected for the class with a fair amount of tire roar and engine noise at speed, plus there's the synthetic engine enhancement that's of dubious benefit.

Upgrades to more pedestrian Fusions for the 2017 model year translate to the Fusion Sport as well, meaning this model gets a revised interior and, a long overdue upgrade from MyFordTouch to SYNC3. Materials are class leading and fit-and-finish are excellent. Gauge package is standard Fusion fare, with a central-mounted speedo flanked by programmable displays. Center stack boasts an available touch screen that's powered by SYNC3, an infotainment system that combines, audio, navigation, phone and climate controls into an easy-to-use interface. Plus, there's support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

Front seats are unique to the Fusion Sport with ventilated suede inserts that are grippy and comfortable. The bolsters are a bit on the firm side, as you might expect on a sport sedan, but end up being all-day comfortable for most riders. Head and leg room are generous and outward visibility is good, aided by thin front and side pillars.

Rear-seat riders get the standard bench seat with split-folding rear seatbacks. Head and leg room are good for the class meaning that two adults will have adequate space regardless of front-seat position. Putting three across in back is possible but scrunches everyone. Entry-exit is easy through wide-opening doors.

With 16 cubic feet in total trunk capacity, cargo space is impressive for the class and on par with some compact crossovers. Plus, the rear seatbacks fold to increase overall cargo space. Keep in mind that hybrid and Energi models have a smaller trunk and lose the folding rear seatbacks. Interior storage is great. The new dial shifter frees up some room in the center console and there are lots of open and covered bins throughout.

From the hyper-efficient Energi to the affordable SE to the luxurious Platinum to the athletic Sport, Fusion is the jack-of-all-trades in the midsize sedan segment. Revisions and additions in the 2017 redesign keep the styling fresh and add a healthy dose of tech and safety features. Competition in fierce and the segment as a whole is down, meaning there are discounts to be had. So, shop wisely.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.