In its fairly brief history, the Ford Fusion has quickly risen to one of the top choices in the midsize family sedan segment. Boasting an engaging yet comfortable ride, roomy cabin, a long standard feature list, good gas mileage with the four-cylinder engine, the Ford Sync multimedia voice-control system, and available all-wheel drive, the 2011 Fusion has much to offer.
It was mainly the revisions in both driving performance and fuel economy for the 2010 Fusion that gave it a big boost in the midsize sedan market. For the 2011 model year, the Fusion gets additional standard features, including Ford's MyKey system (allows parents to set speed and stereo volume limits for teen drivers), a manual-shift feature for the 6-speed automatic transmission and blind-spot mirrors for all models, while upper trims have added standard HD radio, one-touch up/down front windows and additional front-seat power adjustments. There's also a new optional Luxury package.
And while the Fusion's above-average handling and agility is aided by its somewhat smaller size, its efficient design hasn't hurt its cabin room. There's also a versatile choice of engines when it comes to power, including a competent 175-horsepower four-cylinder, a robust 240-horspower 3.0-liter V6 as well as a larger 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 for those who place a higher value on power.
As good as the new Ford Fusion is, this is a very "loaded" segment. Checking out other worthy contenders is always a good idea and will be very useful in making an informed final decision. Other solid midsize family sedans worth consideration include the Honda Accord, the Hyundai Sonata, the Mazda 6 and the Toyota Camry.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Ford Fusion is offered in four trims: S, SE, Sport and SEL.
Standard features on the already well-equipped base S model include power windows, power mirrors, power doorlocks, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, keyless entry, a trip computer, blind-spot mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, the MyKey system, 60/40-split rear seats and a 4-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Available options for the Fusion S include remote engine start (only on the automatic transmission) and all-weather floor mats (available for all models).
The Fusion SE then chips in with an 8-way power driver seat, 17-inch alloys, steering-wheel audio controls, automatic headlights, foglamps, dual exhaust tips, a fold-flat passenger seat and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Available optional features for the SE include a sunroof, the Sync system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The more performance-biased Fusion Sport comes with 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, special leather-trimmed seats, a 10-way power driver seat, a 4-way power passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, the Sync system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and unique interior and exterior styling elements. Available options for the Sport include the SEL's standard equipment, a sunroof, a backup camera, a blind-spot warning system, a 12-speaker Sony audio system and a voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation system.
The top-of-the-line Fusion SEL adds leather upholstery, a numerical keyless entry pad, puddle lights, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and ambient lighting. There's also an Appearance package for the SEL that adds the sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. The navigation system is also available for the SEL.
Other optional features available, depending on the model, include reverse parking sensors, HD radio and rain-sensing wipers. Other packages include the Monochrome Appearance package that adds 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and a body-color grille. And the new Luxury package includes features such as premium leather with contrasting stitching/piping, illuminated front door sills, special alloy wheels and chrome exterior design accents.
Powering the 2011 Ford Fusion is a choice of three engines. The base engine for the S, SE and SEL models is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that outputs 175 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, while a 6-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional.
Optional on the SE and SEL is a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 240 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. It comes only with the 6-speed automatic. Under the hood of the Fusion Sport is a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 that's good for 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet. Again, this comes standard with the automatic transmission. In addition, the Sport and V6 SEL are also available with all-wheel drive.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the four-cylinder Fusion with the automatic is a very good 22 mpg city and 31 mpg on the highway. The 3.0-liter V6 comes in at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, while gas mileage for the 3.5-liter V6 stands at 18 and 27, respectively.
Standard safety features for all 2011 Fusions include stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.
In government crash tests, the Fusion received the highest rating of five stars for both the driver and front passenger in front-impact protection. The Fusion also received five stars for front passenger protection and four stars for rear passengers in side-impact tests.
The 2011 Ford Fusion's interior is attractive, solidly constructed and fairly intuitive with plenty of soft-touch materials. Those opting for the available Sync system and its simple hands-free, voice-controlled integration of audio and Bluetooth functions will likely be particularly pleased with the Fusion's entertainment and communications versatility.
The seating is comfortable and supportive, while there's also ample passenger room in the Fusion, both front in rear. Certainly not among the largest sedans in its class, the Fusion still offers the kind of generous cabin room that should meet the needs of most families. In addition, its trunk is one of the largest available with a cargo capacity of 16.5 cubic feet. And larger items can also be accommodated thanks to its split-folding rear seat.
The 2011 Fusion also offers impressive handling and performance capabilities for a family sedan. The drive stays comfortable and quiet even when demonstrating its confident body control through corners. The Sport model is particularly engaging thanks to its sport-tuned suspension.
Most drivers will likely be pleased with the performance of the 3.0 V6, while that of the base four-cylinder is adequate but more fuel-efficient (although it can get noisy when accelerated hard). Those looking for still more oomph in a family sedan will likely find the 3.5-liter V6 up to the task.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Bank And Government Car Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
Prices: 2011 Ford Fusion
S, FWD: list price: $19,695, invoice price: $18,453
SE, FWD: list price: $21,375, invoice price: $19,767
SEL, FWD: list price: $24,805, invoice price: $22,854
SEL, AWD: list price: $28,265, invoice price: $25,969
Sport, FWD: list price: $26,655, invoice price: $24,520
Sport, AWD: list price: $28,505, invoice price: $26,184