2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder
2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder
2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase; photos by Greg Wilson

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A car like the Ford Fusion – the mid-sized sedan launched in 2006 to replace the old Taurus – makes you wonder why Ford isn’t closer to the top of automaker brand reliability rankings. I mention this right off the top because I was surprised to see how well the Fusion’s reliability was ranked by Consumer Reports, which gives the car its “good bet” used vehicle recommendation. It’s the only domestic mid-sized sedan to earn that designation, one that it shares with family car benchmarks like the Toyota Camry (whose quality appears to be slipping of late, according to CR) and the Honda Accord. In addition to that, the first-generation Fusion has been the subject of exactly zero recalls thus far.

More on reliability details later. First, note that the Fusion is a mechanical twin to the upscale Lincoln MKZ (nee Zephyr) as well as a U.S.-only model called the Mercury Milan. While the Lincoln was sold only with V6 power and more standard features, the dirty bits are all shared with the Fusion, so the information you read here applies to both cars.

On to the Fusion’s nuts and bolts: the first-generation Fusion shared its basic underpinnings with the original Mazda6, but benefited from a longer wheelbase and generally larger dimensions that helped the Ford avoid the criticism lobbed at the Mazda’s too-small interior.

The Fusion also shared most of the Mazda6’s drivetrain pieces. A 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine (160 hp) was paired with a five-speed manual transmission in base cars, with a five-speed auto being the gearbox option. A 3.0-litre V6 (221 hp) came bundled with a six-speed automatic transmission.

In 2007, V6 buyers got the option of adding all-wheel drive to their cars. While four-cylinder cars are adequate power-wise, V6 models have enough power to challenge the Fusion’s very competent handling and solid chassis.

In 2008, the Fusion’s fuel consumption ratings were 10.1/6.9 L/100 km (city/highway) for the four-cylinder/manual transmission model; 11.7/7.7 (city/highway) for front-wheel drive V6 models, and 12.4/8.1 (city/highway) in V6 all-wheel drive trim. Those figures are a few ticks higher than in similarly-equipped competitors like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.

Consumer Reports notes suspension issues in 2006 models, which could be related to a complaint or two in this thread at FordFusion.net about a “loose” feeling suspension.

This thread talks about leaky transfer cases in AWD Fusions; Consumer Reports makes a note of this issue, too, in 2007 models.

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