2010 Ford Fusion Sport AWD
I was a bit shocked by the seats that look as if they were inspired by red pleather pants. It amazes me that car companies employ people who specialize in interior colors and materials and then deliver something like this. In addition to the fashion faux pas, these seats also look to be showing quite a bit of wear with just 9000 miles on the odometer.
Seats aside, this is an excellent mid-size sedan. It's quite engaging to drive with impressive handling and ride that is slightly tighter than its competitors'. While it may be a bit of overkill, the all-wheel drive is a nice option that allows you to boot the throttle without worrying about traction loss or torque steer. The steering is overboosted and at low speeds sometimes feels like it's hunting to figure out how much assist it should provide. Still, the whole package is far sportier than most competitors without sacrificing comfort.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
The Fusion is a car I don't hesitate to recommend, but this Sport AWD V-6 is probably the version I'd least likely tell someone to get. The all-wheel drive exacts a considerable fuel economy penalty. I'm not into the red and black two-tone seats or the red trim on the dashboard (and speaking of the dashboard, the little coin drawer was shockingly cheap and nasty in an otherwise pretty well done interior). I do appreciate the steering heft, but as Eric noted, too much variation between high and low boost is off putting. Overall, the Fusion is highly competent, but it's just not involving enough to pull off the Sport thing.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
As others have noted, this Fusion is a bit less sporty than its name implies. Still, it's more involving than the vast majority of the mid-size sedans sold in the U.S. And while the all-wheel drive does burn more fuel, it's a nice option to have in the winter, and Ford seems to be the only company other than Subaru and Suzuki to offer it in a family sedan for less than $30,000. I also appreciate the fact that it eliminates the torque steer that plagues so many of these V-6 sedans.
My biggest gripe is with the brakes. Decelerating from highway speeds, it's clear that these rotors - at less than 10,000 miles - are badly warped. It's always possible that it's a one-vehicle fluke, especially on a press car, but it nevertheless doesn't inspire confidence.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Not only does the revised 2010 Fusion look great inside and out, its automatic transmission now (finally) allows manual control. Since the Fusion debuted for the 2006 model year, drivers' only forward gear choices were "D" and "L," the latter of which left much to be desired when hustling around back roads or descending steep grades. But the SelectShift function, which is now standard on all V-6 Fusions, has the +/- controls it needed. Shifts are quick in automatic mode but can be slow in the manu-matic gate if you're late on the draw. Still, I love that SelectShift holds gears, redline be damned, and that you push forward to downshift and backward to upshift (unlike many manufacturers' opposite approaches).
This Sport edition is plenty quick, thanks to its 3.5-liter V-6, but I still wonder if the Taurus SHO's ballsy twin-turbo 3.5-liter would fit under the Fusion's hood. Now THAT could be a very fun car, if done properly. The Sport model features soft-touch trim (red in this particular car) on the dash, which seems nicely done. However, we've heard through the Ford grapevine that this material doesn't hold up very well over the long term, and that's why the material wasn't installed in Ford's sportiest sedan, the Taurus SHO.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Like Eric Tingwall, the first thing I noticed on entering the Fusion was the gaudy, two-tone, red and black leather interior upholstery. Who thought that looked good? Perhaps if, instead of red, the contrasting color was a light gray or perhaps some shade of beige it wouldn't have been so distracting. On the other hand, the material itself felt nice, and the chairs provide a nice seating position for the Fusion Sport's driver.
Once under way, it's clear that Ford has done some work in the NVH department, as road and wind noise is nicely suppressed, which makes it even easier to enjoy the optional sound system in this test car. This Sport model is equipped with the more powerful of the two available V-6 engines in the Fusion lineup. With 263 hp on tap, it provides more than enough power to propel this mid-size sedan down the road. Fuel economy is disappointing, however, as this car is only rated at 17/24 city/hwy mpg. The added weight of the four-wheel-drive system surely doesn't help the fuel-economy numbers, but 4WD is a nice option for drivers who live in areas where bad weather can difficult road conditions aren't uncommon.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2010 Ford Fusion Sport AWD
Base price (with destination): $28,400
Price as tested: $29,590
8-way power driver seat
18-inch aluminum wheels
Leather trimmed seats and steering wheel
Power windows and locks
SYNC voice activated system
Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
Side curtain airbags
SOS post crash alert system
Tire pressure monitoring system
Options on this vehicle:
Rapid spec 401A - $1525
-12-speaker Sony sound system
Rear parking sensors - $295
Rapid spec discount - $630
Key options not on vehicle:
Electronics package - $2995
-Front heated seats
-6-way power adjustable passenger seat
-Blind spot information system
-Dual-zone automatic climate control
-Heated sideview mirrors
-SecuriCode keyless entry
-Rear parking sensors
-12-speaker Sony sound system
Voice activated navigation - $1775
Remote start - $345
17 / 24 / 19 mpg
Size: 3.5L DOHC V-6
Horsepower: 263 hp @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 249 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Weight: 3803 lb
18 x 7.5 in. aluminum wheels
225/45 all-season tires
Competitors: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Honda Accord, Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger, Mercury Milan, Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen Jetta