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2020 Ford Fusion

$23,170 - $36,450
Price Range (MSRP)
Ford Fusion

2020 Ford Fusion Review: Is This The Fusion’s Final Act?

by Jared Rosenholtz

Ford's second-generation Fusion has been competing in the midsize sedan segment since 2013. While the Fusion remains a good overall prospect and has received its fair share of updates through the years, it has now started slipping behind the very best, with the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Mazda 6 providing stiff opposition. However, the Fusion remains a stylish sedan with an admirable combination of sprightly handling and a smooth ride. There's plenty of space inside the cabin, although it isn't the most premium-feeling in the segment. If you're considering the Fusion, be sure to avoid the underpowered base version, which simply doesn't cut the mustard for either performance or economy. While Ford's comprehensive range of SUVs and crossovers may get more attention-and the future of its midsize sedan remains uncertain-the Fusion is still worth a look for fans of the brand who don't require the added bulk and space in an SUV.

2020 Ford Fusion Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Fusion?

The big news is that the high-output V6 Sport trim has been dropped for the 2020 model year, this is perhaps not all that surprising since this variant accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales for the Fusion range. Other changes include the removal of paddle shifters on the SE and SEL models equipped with the 1.5-liter engine, as well as the replacement of LED signature lighting with auto halogen headlamps on the SE. Titanium models now get a front passenger seat with six-way power adjustment. Finally, three new exterior colors have been added: Alto Blue Metallic, Iconic Silver and Rapid Red Metallic.

Pros and Cons

  • Good ride/handling balance
  • Sensible interior controls
  • Spacious seating and large trunk capacity
  • Available all-wheel-drive
  • Refined and quiet on the move
  • Underperforming base engine
  • Fuel economy trails the competition
  • Fussy standard infotainment system

Fusion Exterior

While the Fusion won't win any awards for breathtaking design, it's nevertheless a neat and attractive shape that wears its years well. Cheaper models do look a bit bland, however. The base S model has LED taillamps, auto-high beam headlamps and 16-inch steel wheels with silver-painted covers. Wheels grow to 17-inch aluminum items on the SE, 18-inches on the SEL, and 19-inch machined-face aluminum on the Titanium model. The SEL gets LED headlamps and LED signature lighting, while the Titanium tops the exterior adornments with LED fog lamps and a chrome mesh grille.

2020 Ford Fusion Front Angle View
2020 Ford Fusion Side View
2020 Ford Fusion Front Angle View
See All 2020 Ford Fusion Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Key dimensions are 191.8 inches in length, 58.2 inches in height, and 72.9 inches in width (excluding the mirrors). The Fusion's wheelbase measures 112.2 inches across the range. These are within expected norms for the segment, with the Toyota Camry being a similar size. Curb weight ranges from 3,410 lbs for the base front-wheel-drive S model, to 3,816 lbs for the fully-loaded Titanium with all-wheel-drive.

Exterior Colors

Eight distinct shades comprise the Fusion's available color palette. Standard colors aside from OXford White are all Metallic and include Agate Black, Magnetic, Iconic Silver and Velocity Blue. Optional for an additional $395 are the striking Rapid Red Metallic and Alto Blue Metallic(nota available on the S trim), while Platinum White Metallic Tri-Coat is the priciest color option at $595. The latter two hues are reserved for the top two trims exclusively.

  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Alto Blue Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Velocity Blue Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Iconic Silver Metallic
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Oxford White

Fusion Performance

As the entry-point to the range, the S model has to make do with a rather lackluster 175 horsepower, naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-pot. The engine is paired with front-wheel-drive only. More impressive are a pair of turbocharged EcoBoost engines: a 1.5-liter producing 181 hp, and a 2.0-liter with outputs of 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are available on the SE trim, with the 1.5-liter paired with front-wheel-drive and the 2.0-liter paired with all-wheel-drive. The range-topping Titanium has both FWD and AWD available, but only the 2.0-liter engine.

The base model is lethargic, while the turbo-fours are far better, if not class-leading. In 1.5-liter guise, the Fusion can reach 60 mph in around 8.9-seconds. The turbocharged models are better once up to speed and are capable of providing the Fusion with decent passing power. The discontinued V6 Sport, although a slow seller, is missed as it was the only variant to offer genuinely sporty performance.

2020 Ford Fusion Front ViewDriving
2020 Ford Fusion Front View Driving
2020 Ford Fusion Headlights On

Engine and Transmission

A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission available, although three engines and both FWD and AWD options mean there is a fair amount of choice within the range. While not the fastest transmission, it is tuned for everyday comfort and ensures that progress is always smooth, although not very exciting. The base model is the only one to do without turbocharging, leaving its 2.5-liter four-cylinder stuck with lowly outputs of 175 hp and 175 lb-ft. It's not enough for brisk acceleration or easy overtaking in this fairly large sedan.

The two EcoBoost engine options are much better-suited to hauling the Fusion around with some conviction. The smaller of the two turbocharged engines delivers 181 hp and 185 lb-ft, with the 2.0-liter motor - now the top performer in the range - managing 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Both engines improve the driving experience markedly over the bigger, yet underpowered, 2.5-liter. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost, in particular, is capable of a brisk turn of speed once the turbo spools up and makes overtaking an effortless affair. However, the Toyota Camry provides a more powerful V6 engine option. With the Fusion's V6 being discontinued for the 2020 model year, the Ford loses out to its Japanese rival in this respect.

  • Engines
    1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

It's in the ride and handling department that the aging Fusion still holds its own against newer rivals. Minimal body roll and steering that's both well-weighted and sharp to respond to driver inputs are typical of Ford sedans. On the more powerful models, this equates to quite an enjoyable midsize sedan to hustle through a few corners. The impressive chassis dynamics are matched by brakes that are easy to modulate, and which provide ample stopping power, both on the daily commute and in an emergency situation.

Of course, none of this would mean much if the Fusion failed to ride well. Fortunately, an absorbent suspension soaks up most road scars. The Ford is certainly a comfortable partner on an extended road trip, feeling planted and stable. Mid-corner bumps also don't upset the car's overall composure. All in all, this is a well-rounded sedan dynamically, and one of the main reasons that the Fusion is still worth consideration.

Fusion Gas Mileage

Fuel efficiency is not one of the Fusion's high points, with many rivals bettering it in this aspect. Interestingly, the lowest-powered (2.5-liter non-turbo) and highest-powered (2.0-liter EcoBoost) engines return nearly identical EPA-rated estimates. The 2.5-liter's figures are 21/31/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost returning 21/31/25 mpg. The 2.0-liter with AWD consumes the most fuel in the range, with figures dropping to 20/29/23 mpg.

If fuel efficiency is what you're after, you'll want to go for the 1.5-liter EcoBoost FWD, which returns 23/34/27 mpg. Front-wheel-drive models have an 18-gallon gas tank, so you'll manage a combined 486 miles in this, the most efficient of all Fusion models. By comparison, the most efficient non-hybrid Honda Accord manages a superior 30/38/33 mpg from its 1.5-liter inline-four.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/31 mpg
* 2020 Ford Fusion S FWD

Fusion Interior

The Fusion's cabin is a reasonably pleasant place to be, with enough space for all passengers and a logical layout for most controls. However, the unusual rotary design for the gear shift takes a bit of time to get used to. The base model, unfortunately, feels entry-level, with inferior materials and few of the best infotainment features. While higher trims feature pleasing materials, actual build quality is a bit off, with some panels not aligning as perfectly as they should. This is by no means a bad cabin, but the Fusion is some way behind the best of the pack.

2020 Ford Fusion Dashboard
2020 Ford Fusion Interior Overview
2020 Ford Fusion Steering Wheel Controls
See All 2020 Ford Fusion Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Fusion comfortably accommodates five passengers. Ingress and egress are simple enough, with only a sloping roofline requiring that rear-seat passengers get down a bit lower. Legroom is generous both front and back, but rear headroom is average, and six-footers will feel a touch confined. A good driving position is easy to find thanks to sufficient adjustment in the seat and the steering wheel. Even though the windshield pillars could be slimmer, there's reasonable outward visibility, although some effort will be required to counter fairly large blind spots as a result of tiny rear quarter windows.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The base S model gets cloth seats in Medium Light Stone, and that's about it in terms of options for this variant. SE trim adds the option of Ebony cloth seats or Light Putty cloth/vinyl combination seats with Medium Stone stitching. Higher up in the range, SEL trim adds seats trimmed in so-called ActiveX, a synthetic material that mimics the look (if not the feel) of genuine leather. There's a choice of either Ebony ActiveX or Medium Light Stone ActiveX. Giving the interior a welcome touch of luxury, Titanium models feature perforated leather-trimmed seats in either Ebony or Russet. Additionally, SEL and Titanium trims both have a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard.

Fusion Trunk and Cargo Space

If for some reason you need to cart around four sets of golf clubs you'll be happy to know that the Fusion's capacious 16 cubic-foot trunk will be able to accommodate them. The large trunk is one of the best in the segment and also benefits from a low liftover height and a broad, practically-shaped opening. The rear seatbacks can also be folded down to increase cargo capacity.

Interior storage space for smaller items is catered for by door pockets, a reasonably sized glovebox, and a sizable storage bin between the two front occupants. Overall, the Fusion puts in a good showing and provides enough space and practicality for the average family's requirements.

2020 Ford Fusion Rear Angle View
2020 Ford Fusion Top View
2020 Ford Fusion Rear Bumper
  • Trunk Volume
    16 ft³

Fusion Infotainment and Features

Features

Impressively, Ford has included the Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features as standard on every Fusion variant. The package includes auto high beam headlamps, a blind-spot information system, lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist and a rearview camera. The S trim is otherwise modestly equipped; it does, at least, have push-button start, Ford's MyKey and manual climate control. Moving up the range, features like automatic dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats and a moonroof become available. We'd recommend skipping the entry-level S trim altogether, as it simply misses out on too many features that you'd expect from a midsize sedan.

Infotainment

The S model uses the more basic SYNC interface with voice-activation and a diminutive 4.2-inch LCD screen. The system looks and feels outdated and, if this is the trim you have to go for, the far superior SYNC 3 is a must-have upgrade. The latter is standard on all other models in the range and uses an eight-inch touch screen. It also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and SiriusXM radio. Whereas the S uses a basic sound system with only four speakers, the SE has a six-speaker sound system, the SEL has a premium 11-speaker setup, and the range-topping Titanium gets a 12-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio. A voice-activated navigation system is also unique to the Titanium.

Fusion Problems and Reliability

Not yet rated for 2020, the 2019 Ford Fusion was given a J.D. Power reliability rating of 78, which is respectable although lagging behind ratings for the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The most recent recall for the Fusion was in 2018 (for 2014-2018 models) and disturbingly involved possible detachment of the steering wheel. However, there were no further recalls for 2019 models. Warranty coverage for the Fusion includes a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000 mile drivetrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited miles corrosion warranty.

Fusion Safety

While the NHTSA hasn't yet rated the 2020 Ford Fusion, the 2019 model - with the same suite of safety features - scored an overall five stars. Similarly, the 2019 model received a Good rating from the IIHS in all major crash parameters, although the headlights were rated as Poor, and the LATCH child seat anchors received a Marginal rating for ease of use. Still, the Fusion is undoubtedly a safe vehicle.

Key Safety Features

Thanks to the standard inclusion of the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite, the Fusion has many driver-assist technologies fitted as standard. The suite comprises a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping system, a rearview camera, auto high-beam headlamps and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking.

In addition, all occupants are protected by dual-stage front airbags, front-seat airbags, side curtain airbags in both rows, and knee airbags for both front occupants. Tire pressure monitoring and a LATCH system for securely fitting a child seat further adds to the inherent safety standards of this Ford.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Ford Fusion a good car?

Without many changes for the 2020 model year, the Ford Fusion has slipped another few notches down the pecking order in this segment. This isn't to say that it is a bad car at all - far from it - but it's simply a result of Japanese and Korean rivals having more modern offerings in this segment. Provided you avoid the rather joyless base model, the Fusion otherwise remains a competitive performer with a comfortable interior, a large trunk, excellent dynamics, and a decent array of safety features. Acknowledging that even shoppers in this fairly unglamorous segment of the market care about the feel-good factor, it helps that the Fusion remains a sharply styled sedan that still appeals. While we'd recommend test driving a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Hyundai Sonata first, the Fusion remains a capable family sedan and does just enough to keep itself in contention.

What's the Price of the 2020 Ford Fusion?

The cheapest way into a Ford Fusion is the front-wheel-drive Fusion S, which has an MSRP of $23,170. Next is the SE with the 1.5-liter turbo and FWD at $24,500. The SE all-wheel-drive automatically gets the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo as well and raises the price to $27,090. The SEL is next and uses a combination of FWD and the 1.5-liter turbo - it costs $28,690. Finally, there is the fully-loaded Titanium trim, which costs $34,450 with FWD and the 2.0-liter turbo, and $36,450 when specified with AWD. All prices are exclusive of licensing, registration, and a destination fee of $995.

2020 Ford Fusion Models

The 2020 Fusion range is comprised of four variants: S, SE, SEL, and Titanium.

The S is the cheapest model, and it shows. This variant gets only 16-inch steel wheels, the basic and far inferior SYNC infotainment system, and the disappointingly underpowered 2.5-liter engine. Only front-wheel drive is available. Other standard features on this model include a four-speaker sound system, push-button start and manual climate control. Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist technologies is thankfully included.

Next is the SE, and it's a worthwhile upgrade over the S. 17-inch alloy wheels impart a much smarter impression than the base model's plastic covers. There's also a lot more power on tap thanks to a standard 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbo engine. All-wheel-drive and the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine are optional. Luxury also takes a step up thanks to a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, along with a four-way power front passenger seat. There's also the addition of the SYNC 3 infotainment setup, while the audio system gets six speakers.

The SEL trim gets more features than the SE, but can't be specified with either all-wheel-drive or the larger turbo engine, instead making do with the 1.5-liter variant. This model boasts an 11-speaker premium sound system for richer sound quality. The driver's seat gets two memory settings, both front seats get heating, and the front passenger seat gets six-way power adjustment. The cloth seats of the cheaper trims are replaced with ActiveX synthetic upholstery.

Topping the range is the Titanium trim. It's available only with the most powerful 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is optional. This model feels far more luxurious than the base S thanks to leather-upholstered seats, heated and cooled front seats and a 12-speaker Sony sound system. It's also the only trim to get LED fog lamps and a power moonroof as standard.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,170
SE
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$24,500
SEL
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,690
Titanium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$34,450
See All 2020 Ford Fusion Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The S is only available with the $1,290 Co-Pilot360 Assist Package. Although it adds welcome upgrades in the form of dual-zone automatic climate control and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with a larger touch screen, the addition of this package takes the base model's overall price uncomfortably close to the SE, which already has this package fitted as standard. It doesn't make much sense, then.

For the SE, you can give the exterior and interior looks a boost with the SE Appearance Package for $1,095. It adds 18-inch black alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, upgraded upholstery, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. For $655, the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Package adds adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go) and voice-activated touch screen navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. As the Titanium already includes all these features as standard, no further packages can be added to this model.

What Ford Fusion Model Should I Buy?

Let's begin with the model you shouldn't buy: the entry-level S. With a poor infotainment system, nasty plastic wheel covers, and an engine that fails to achieve a decent level of performance, this variant does the entire Fusion range an injustice.

It's in the middle of the range that you'll find the best Ford Fusion, but it depends on what you're looking for. The 2.0-liter AWD SE has just enough equipment and the advantage of the most powerful engine. It's the Fusion to choose if performance and all-wheel-drive security in colder conditions are what you're looking for. If luxury is more to your liking, then go for the marginally more expensive SEL. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost may not be as potent, but the SEL's interior trim and feature upgrades elevate it above the SE.

Check out other Ford Fusion Styles?

2020 Ford Fusion Comparisons

2020 Ford Fusion
2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Ford Fusion vs Toyota Camry

The Camry gets off to an immediate headstart over the Fusion because it's simply a lot newer, with the current generation of Toyota's midsize sedan having been launched as recently as 2018. While the Toyota's base 2.5-liter engine isn't particularly refined, it's got more grunt than the cheapest Fusion. Both are similarly matched in terms of comfort and space, although the Ford is actually the more refined of the two and has sharper handling characteristics. The Fusion's SYNC 3 infotainment system is also better than Toyota's system. While the Camry still has a V6 engine option, it lacks the Fusion's available all-wheel-drive. There's not much in it, and the Ford holds its own against its newer Japanese rival, but the fresher Camry gets the nod by a fraction.

See Toyota Camry Review

2020 Ford Fusion vs Honda Accord

Like the Camry, the latest generation of the Accord was launched in 2018. With a superbly spacious interior and an even bigger trunk than the Fusion, the Accord does a sterling job of accommodating a family and their paraphernalia, with the Accord particularly generous when it comes to rear legroom. The cabin is also modern and trimmed in better materials than the Fusion's, especially at the lower end of their respective ranges, where the Fusion feels rather cheap. Another advantage in the Accord's favor is the two capable and sprightly turbocharged engines, providing an excellent blend of performance and economy. While the Fusion previously had the edge at the top-end with the V6 Sport, this variant has been dropped for 2020. In fact, you'll battle to find an area where the Fusion is significantly better than the Accord. The Honda wins this match-up with ease.

See Honda Accord Review

Ford Fusion Popular Comparisons

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