Five-Point Inspection: 2015 Ford Fusion
Depending on where you live, the season’s first snow is already come and gone. Up until my most recent stint with the Ford Fusion, I hadn’t driven it during anything outside temperate weather and even then it showed flaws. Certain aspects were still mediocre and others worse than before.
To be fair, perfect cars don’t exist, at least not in the literal sense. I found myslelf driving a Fusion loaded with four people and their luggage for a weekend out of town and it handled the task without a single problem. The trouble is, starting and having working air conditioning isn’t enough.
I drove a Fusion SE equipped with the 1.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. It is officially rated to average 28 MPG in mixed driving and the majority of my trip consisted of uninterrupted highway speeds with cruise control activated.
Nevertheless, I only managed to average 23 MPG, or 17.8 percent worse than what the sticker promises.
Ford downsized from its 1.6-liter to its 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine for the 2015 model year, supposedly in the name of improved fuel economy. You already know it didn’t live up to that part of the bargain, but it’s also noisy under acceleration.
Despite that, it’s a reasonably capable engine that offers 185 lb-ft of torque at 2,700 RPM. That’s because it uses a turbocharger, equipment that often calls for high octane fuel, but Ford doesn’t require premium. Instead, 87 octane is fine.
The six-speed automatic transmission delivers rough gear changes in cold weather before it has time to heat up. It probably won’t be harsh enough to bother you, but the difference is noticeable.
After a few miles on the road, the gearbox settles down and isn’t noticeably abrupt in the way it shifts.
One of the biggest problems with the Fusion has nothing to do with the car itself. It’s the parade of other eligible products to choose from that are vying for the same customers that Ford is.
Take the newly refreshed 2015 Camry as an example. For the same price as a basic 1.5-liter Fusion SE, you can get a four-cylinder Camry equipped with a touch screen along with the same general equipment that Ford offers.
The Camry also uses Toyota’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to make almost as much power as Ford’s tiny turbo four and the same claimed average fuel economy.
I didn’t drive them head-to-head, so I can’t say the Camry would definitely outperform the Fusion’s MPGs, but I wouldn’t have a problem betting cash on it either.
The Fusion isn’t a bad car by any means. It offers more combined legroom than the Camry, a lower base price and looks that are hard to argue with.
Aside from a center stack that’s already starting to look disappointingly outdated, the interior is – in my opinion – respectably good looking.
If you choose to buy the Fusion, do so knowing that there are worse products to choose (Chevrolet Malibu, I’m looking at you), but there are also fresher products that deserve your attention more.
Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/112531385961538774338?rel=author">Google+</A>.
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