2017 Ford Fusion First Look Review: Anything But A Mundane Mid-Size Sedan

First Look

The redesigned sedan is anything but beige.

Ford needs a substantial refresh for its mid-size offering, the Fusion. It has gone relatively unchanged since a 2013 redesign. Bested by sales from competitors, Ford finished fourth in US mid-size sedan sales in 2015 netting only 300,170 sales. Toyota’s Camry for the 14th consecutive year retained its crown as the best selling car in America with 429,355 units sold. The newly refurbished Camry beat the Fusion by over 120,000 units. Ford obviously isn't pleased with this but there is hope on the horizon.

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The mid-size sedan segment has seen several players up the ante. Honda revamped the Accord, Nissan gave the Altima some serious cosmetic surgery and Chevrolet debuted an entirely new Malibu. The Blue Oval took notice and at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show Ford delivered a substantially updated Fusion. An all new front fascia, revised interior, and updated infotainment system covers the sedan's large portfolio. There's also a "Sport" model. Ford has taken advantage of the current low gas prices and given us an ST Fusion of sorts with a 325-horsepower twin-turbo V6 mated to an all-wheel-drive system. The new Fusion Sport seems destined to oust the mundane from the mid-size sedan segment.

At $34,450 the Sport would seem to be the true successor to the SHO Taurus of old. Price and performance of this caliber would put the Fusion in the cross-shopping radar of potential Dodge Charger R/T buyers. The Charger may sit a size up from the Fusion but at only $33,895 and with 370 horsepower practicality, performance and price point may come into play. The practicality of AWD may sway buyers who live in more seasonal climates. (Yes, the Charger offers AWD but on less beefier engines.) The Fusion family will be distinguishable by three separate grille designs. The Sport will feature a monochromatic mesh grille, the Platinum ($37,495) features a similar mesh pattern with a chrome finish.

The entry level S, SE, and Titanium feature a five bar grille similar to the outgoing 2016 model. The new Fusion unleashes a thoroughly revamped tech cache, featuring the latest in automatic parking, collision avoidance braking, lane assist, adaptive cruise control and more. The Fusion will feature Sync 3 enabling Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Those iPhone users not fond of touchscreens will be assisted by Siri in accessing maps or messages. Android users will have Google for an equivalent service. Smartphone compatibility is one of the key components of the updated fusion. A myriad of features can now be accessed via smartphone including locating the vehicle, monitoring fuel consumption, and activating or stopping the engine.

The new fusion hits dealers summer of 2016. The face lifted model still must contend with rivals from its segment, with each vying for the top spot as well as dealing with inner brand cannibalization by way of the onslaught of the current crossover craze. As a mass market vehicle the Fusion will sell well and be highly competitive in its segment. Taking the crown from the Camry is another story altogether.