Suggestion No. 2 – 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium FWD
Our next suggestion for Mike is the Ford Fusion, a stylish and fun-to-drive sedan. If looks could kill this car would be serving concurrent life sentences. Its Aston Martin-inspired grille commands attention on the road.
The Blue Oval offering also happens to be this week’s wild-card option. Out the door this top-of-the-line Titanium model is slightly less expensive than the Passat, though it’s loaded with features and high-end technology not available in the VW; this makes it something of a value play, especially since Ford is arguably a less prestigious brand. As an aside, why does Ford call their range-topping trim “Titanium”? It’s not a precious metal! It may as well be called “Zinc” or “Cast Iron.”
Price-wise this version of the Fusion stickers for a reasonable $34,515, which includes 825 bucks in delivery charges. And that MSRP can be even more attractive if you factor rebates into the equation, which Detroit automakers historically love to offer.
At that level the car offers a host of really desirable standard features including dual-zone climate control, leather-covered seats, SYNC, a capless fuel filler and a 10-way power driver’s chair.
But we loaded our Titanium model up with even more, because too much just isn’t enough. We added the $1,200 Driver Assist Package, which included things like blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers and automatic high beams. Additionally we opted for Active Park Assist, which cost $895, as well as adaptive cruise control that padded the bottom line by $995. All of these fancy options brought the Fusion’s price-tag to 34 grand and change.
Like the Passat, this Ford offers a variety of different powertrain options, though a diesel is NOT on that list. However you can get a hybrid model, one with a plug-in electric drivetrain and even a small turbo-four and a manual transmission. But for this comparison we decided to go with the alpha dog, the range-topping engine, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost model. Thanks to force-multipliers like direct fuel injection and turbocharging it delivers 240 hp along with 270 lb-ft of twist, all of which is available at just 3,000 rpm. You don’t have to rev this powerplant to get goin’.
Aft of its bell housing the engine is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. It should be pretty effective and smooth but it’s not a lightning-quick dual-clutch model like the Passat’s self-shifting gearbox. Power is routed to the car’s front wheels, though all-wheel drive is available for an extra $2,000.
On the economy front Ford’s Fusion should be a fair bit more economical than the V6-powered Volkswagen… on paper at least. The car stickers at 22 MPG city and 33 on the highway; its combined score is 26 MPG, a figure that bests the Passat by three miles per gallon. That’s pretty impressive but will the car actually deliver? We can’t make any promises; remember, the Blue Oval got its wrists slapped over misleading fuel-economy claims in the recent past. As always your mileage will vary.