All-new in 2006, the Ford Fusion receives some extra features for 2007. All-wheel drive is now available on both Fusion V6 trim lines. Standard features on all models include front-side side airbags, curtain airbags, auxiliary audio input jack, fold-flat passenger seat, anti-theft perimeter alarm, and SIRIUS satellite radio (late availability). SEL models now receive heated mirrors with puddle lamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass and automatic headlamps as standard equipment, while all models can be optioned with a DVD-based navigation system.

The Fusion comes with a choice of two engines, a 2.3-litre Duratec inline four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission, or a 3.0-litre Duratec V6 that comes with a six-speed automatic. The Fusion uses a platform that also forms the basis of the Mazda6, but has a longer wheelbase, wider track, bigger brakes and larger dimensions. The Fusion is also sold at Lincoln, where it’s transformed into the MKZ, the model previously known as Zephyr; it’s also available in the U.S. as the Mercury Milan.

There are two trim lines, the SE and SEL; both are available with the 2.3-litre, the 3.0-litre, and the 3.0-litre with AWD.

Features on the SE 2.3-litre include 16-inch steel wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, side and curtain airbags, air conditioning, heated mirrors, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering column, six-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 folding rear bench seat, floor mats, CD/MP3/satellite radio with six speakers, fog lights, and variable intermittent wipers. The SE 3.0-litre adds 16-inch aluminum wheels and traction control.

The SEL 2.3-litre adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic air conditioning, premium cloth seats, leather-wrapped wheel, six-CD/MP3/satellite stereo, and speed-sensitive wipers. The SEL 3.0-litre adds traction control.

The Fusion’s all-wheel drive system runs in front-wheel exclusively until it detects slippage, whereupon it redirects torque to the rear wheels; it’s a hefty price increase from the V6 to the V6 AWD that might be better spent on high-quality winter tires. Ford has also hinted that the Fusion may be next in line to receive a hybrid powertrain, but with no timeline.

Positioned between the entry-level Focus and the Five Hundred, the Fusion is a well-done midsize sedan: it rides and handles well, it has good interior space (especially with the new fold-flat front seat), and its quality seems to be good. It has many worthy opponents in this midsize segment, many from Japanese and Korean manufacturers, but perhaps its closest competitor is historical arch-rival Chevrolet: both the Ford Fusion and the Chevrolet Impala are possibly the best mid-size sedans these two manufacturers have turned out in a long time, and buyers should test them head-to-head.

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