2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6
2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6. Click image to enlarge

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First Drive: 2010 Ford Fusion

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2010 Ford Fusion

Ottawa, Ontario – For 2010, the Ford Fusion mid size sedan has been comprehensively revised with new styling, a new interior, new four and six-cylinder engines, new standard and optional features, and a new hybrid model. The new Fusion competes in one of the toughest market segments, where competitors include the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata, not to mention Chevrolet’s well -received and currently discounted Malibu. To be successful in this segment, the 2010 Fusion has to exceed expectations.

This week, we’re reviewing the well-equipped SEL V6 front-wheel drive model with a base MSRP of $28,799.

2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6
2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6. Click image to enlarge

Powered by a 240-horsepower 3.0-litre V6 engine, the front-wheel drive Fusion SEL (all-wheel drive is also available with a 263-hp 3.5-litre V6) is priced competitively, and represents a typical V6 specification for this type of vehicle. Our test Fusion added the mandatory $100 air conditioning tax, a $2,000 “Moons and Tunes” package (Sony audio upgrade and moonroof), $350 rear spoiler, $80 engine block heater and a $1,225 leather interior package. With a factory $800 discount on the audio/moonroof option, and a $1,350 charge for destination, the as-tested price was $33,104 (although at the time of this writing, Ford was offering a further $1,000 delivery allowance, reducing the price to $32,104).

Missing (but available) is a navigation system ($2,100) and Driver’s Vision Group ($1,400 – includes blind spot information system and rear camera) – but you do get Ford’s SYNC, a voice-activated communications and entertainment system, and a full range of power amenities and safety features (including electronic stability control), 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, chrome side window mouldings, keypad locking, auto-dimming rearview mirror, overhead console with storage, leather-wrapped wheel, trip computer, wireless connectivity, automatic headlamps, rear reading lamps, compass, and outside temperature display. An audio rear-park assist is available as a stand-alone option, for $400.

Standard equipment aside, consumers are highly motivated by styling and performance, and in these two areas, the 2010 Fusion scores well. Exterior styling is an evolution of the outgoing model, tidying up the corners, raising the beltline, and moving on from the trendy brightwork. Some may find the grille too large for the car (although it does set it apart) but the lights are better integrated and the hood is taller, giving the Fusion a more substantial and purposeful presence.

2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6
2010 Ford Fusion SEL V6. Click image to enlarge

Resisting the temptation to “go big” like the newest Honda Accord or Mazda6, the 2010 Fusion is about 100-millimetres shorter than those cars, and its overall dimensions are pretty much unchanged from the outgoing model. Many buyers may appreciate this when parking or manoeuvring in tight quarters.

Wearing its Atlantis Green metallic paint (new for 2010), and contrasting Camel leather interior, our test Fusion was a very classy-looking car.

On the road, power, handling and ride are well matched, with the Fusion oriented toward capable comfort, rather than dynamic performance. The Duratec V6 engine produces a healthy 240 horsepower at 6,550 r.p.m. and 223 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 r.p.m., so it’s got the numbers, and is tuned for regular grade fuel (it is also E85 capable). This is a very smooth engine except when accelerating hard, but it can seem somewhat lazy in everyday driving. This may have to do with the six-speed transmission which is built for economy, shifting early and keeping the engine speed low. Step on the accelerator, though, and a “go-faster” gear is quickly found and the car comes alive.

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