The 2012 Ford Fusion is one of the top choices in the midsize family sedan segment thanks to its wide array of positive attributes, including its capable handling, spacious and well-built cabin, long list of features, available all-wheel drive and a Hybrid model that not only offers good fuel economy, but is also actually fun to drive.
One of its best qualities is a driving experience that nicely balances occupant comfort with engaging road manners, a not-so-easy combination since agile handling often comes with a harsher ride. Not so for the Fusion. While on the inside, the Fusion offers high quality materials and construction, above average roominess for a midsize sedan and a full gamit of features and high-tech goodies.
And when it comes to the 2012 Fusion Hybrid, there's very little sacrifice in terms of driving dynamics as it performs much like the regular Fusion, while getting 41 mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway ... some of the best numbers among midsize hybrids.
As much as the new Ford Fusion has going for it, we always recommend checking out worthy competitors to help make an informed final decision. Other tempting midsize family sedans would include the Honda Accord, the Hyundai Sonata (along with its sibling Kia Optima), the Mazda 6 as well as the Toyota Camry.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2012 Ford Fusion is classified as a five-passenger midsize sedan and is offered in five trims: S, SE, SEL, Sport and Hybrid.
Standard features of the base Fusion S include power windows, power doorlocks, power integrated blind-spot mirrors, cruise control, keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, halogen headlights, a trip computer, a tire pressure monitor, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, speed-sensitive intermittent wipers, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a full array of safety features (see below) and a 4-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the Fusion SE model adds an 8-way power driver seat, automatic headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel audio controls and a 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Available as an option on the SE is Ford's highly regarded Sync system, which allows voice-controlled Bluetooth phones, iPods and other media features. Also available for the S is the Sun & Sync package which groups the Sync system with a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Opting for the Fusion SEL adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat, different 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior mood lighting, a security code keyless entry pad, power-adjustable driver lumbar, Sync and heated mirrors. There's also a Luxury package for the SEL which adds upgraded leather with contrasting stitching, aluminum sport pedals, special interior trim accents, additional exterior chrome trim and unique wheels.
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Also available for the SE and SEL is the Monochrome Appearance package which includes a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, either a body-colored grille or the regular chrome grill and unique cloth upholstery and interior trim accents.
The Fusion Sport starts with the same standard features as the SE and then adds a sport-tuned suspension, a more powerful V6 engine, 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned steering, a deck-lid spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable lumbar, unique exterior and interior trim accents and Sync. The optional Comfort package then adds most of the SEL's extra features.
Options available for both the SEL and Sport include the Moon & Tune package which adds a sunroof and a 12-speaker Sony surround-sound system, as well as the Driver's Vision package which includes a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system and automatic wipers. Also available as stand-alone options are a navigation system and rear parking sensors.
The Fusion Hybrid is equipped much like the SEL but also includes a special gauge cluster as well as leather seating as an option.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
The standard engine on the 2012 Ford Fusion is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that outputs 175 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The stardard transmission is a 6-speed automatic on all Fusions but the base S, which comes with a 6-speed manual standard or the automatic as optional. Gas mileage for this engine with the automatic is EPA-estimated at 23 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway.
Also available under the hood is a choice of two different V6 engines. The first, optional on both the SE and SEL, is a 3.0-liter that generates 240 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes with standard front-wheel drive while all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with the automatic, and 17 and 24, respectively, with all-wheel drive.
The second is a 3.5-liter which powers the Fusion Sport and is good for 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet. In performance tests, a front-wheel drive Sport was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in a very quick 6.7 seconds, particularly impressive since its EPA-estimated fuel economy is nearly the same as the smaller V6, coming in at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway (17 and 24 with AWD).
Powering the Ford Fusion Hybrid is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 191 horsepower. The Hybrid comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 8.7 seconds, quite respectable for a hybrid. This fuel efficient hybrid is EPA-rated at 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
Standard safety features on all 2012 Fusions include traction control, stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and Ford's MyKey system, which enables maximum speed and stereo volume settings.
In government crash tests, the Fusion earned four out of five stars overall, with three stars for frontal-impact occupant protection and four stars for side-impacts.
The Fusion's cabin is attractive, spacious for a midsize and user friendly, while benefiting from higher quality materials, ample soft surfaces and solid construction. The optional Sync system is a big plus thanks to its integrated audio and Bluetooth voice-controlled technology.
Despite it not owning the largest dimensions in its segment, smart design work results in plenty of passenger space. Driver headroom is a plus, even for taller drivers, while the rear quarters comfortable accommodate two adults (three tightly). The seating is comfortable and supportive, both front and rear, while the trunk's cargo capacity comes in at a generous 16.5 cubic feet ... one of the largest in its class. In addition, the split-folding rear seat provides interior room for larger items as well.
It should be noted that due to the Fusion Hybrid's battery pack, its trunk space is reduced to a more modest 11.8 cubic feet. It also somes with a special gauge cluster (SmartGauge) with color display screens on each side of the speedometer, giving the driver a wide array of fuel efficiency and driving feedback. One has animated branches and leaves which grow and become greener as the drive becomes more economical.
The 2012 Fusion ranks right up there among the better handling and more engaging to drive family sedans. Perhaps surprisingly to many, this is also true of the Hybrid model. The Fusion is confident and capable through the corners, but still remains quiet, comfortable and smooth in more typical driving conditions. The Fusion Sport, with its sport-tuned suspension and hydraulic power steering (as opposed to the electric power steering found in the other models), is especially agile yet still avoids any ride harshness.
The performance from the base four-cylinder engine is satisfactory, but unremarkable. It can also become a bit noisy when pushed. Most drivers in this segment will likely find the power from the 3.0-liter V6 meets their needs quite capably. Those who place a higher value on power will likely find the 3.5-liter V6 to be a good choice. It provides nice extra gusto without sacrificing much in terms of fuel economy.
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2012 Ford Fusion List And Invoice Prices:
S, FWD: list price: $19,850, invoice price: $18,604
SE, FWD: list price: $22,830, invoice price: $21,087
SEL, FWD: list price: $25,300, invoice price: $23,310
SEL, AWD: list price: $28,760, invoice price: $26,424
Sport, FWD: list price: $27,150, invoice price: $24,976
Sport, AWD: list price: $29,000, invoice price: $26,640
Hybrid, FWD: list price: $28,600, invoice price: $26,280