Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2006 2009  used car reviews reviews ford
2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge
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By Chris Chase; photos by Greg Wilson

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.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2006 2009  used car reviews reviews ford
2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

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 drive-train 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.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2006 2009  used car reviews reviews ford
Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2006 2009  used car reviews reviews ford
2008 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

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.

Owners of Fusions with automatic climate controls (higher trim levels) note in this FordFusion.net thread that the auto setting doesn’t like to work in cold weather. Apparently, Ford knows about the issue, but doesn’t know how to fix it. Thankfully, the heater etc., still works fine in manual mode. Consumer Reports notes this issue too in its reliability data for V6-powered Fusions (which are more likely to have automatic climate controls than more basic four-cylinder models).

A key stuck in the ignition is caused by a broken decorative ring around the automatic transmission shifter release button. There are tabs on this ring that can break off and interfere with the button, and in turn, activate an interlock designed to prevent the key from being removed while the car is in gear. Ford issued a technical service bulletin for this problem.

A “check engine” light triggered by a P0128 trouble code (accessed via the car’s on-board diagnostics port) most likely indicates a failed thermostat, a common problem with the Fusion’s four-cylinder engine; click here, here and here for information. If you’re handy, you can replace the thermostat yourself, but its location is a bit awkward; the power steering pump pulley has to be removed and the pump loosened for easy access to the thermostat housing. Here’s a how-to that explains the process reasonably well.

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