Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2010 2012 used car reviews reviews ford
2010 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

The one serious problem to look out for has to do with the new GM/Ford six-speed automatic transmission. Shortly after we published my review of the 2006-2009 Fusion, I got an email from a gentleman who reported that he and half a dozen co-workers drive 2010 Ford Fusions as their work vehicles. He says four of the seven cars have had their transmission replaced or rebuilt to fix a faulty valve body that causes the transmission to slip. He said it got so bad that he avoided making left turns across busy intersections. Here’s a discussion on this topic at FordFusionForum.com.

Early signs of trouble involve “shift flare,” where the engine speed increases briefly as the transmission shifts. Hard shifts are a common symptom, too. Ford issued a technical service bulletin to install new software in the transmission’s electronic control unit; this seems to solve the problem in some cars, for a time, at least, but from what I’ve read on the topic, the problem is with the valve body, and not with the electronics.

In all-wheel-drive Fusions, a “whine” sound from the rear of the car is likely caused by a bad driveshaft.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2010 2012 used car reviews reviews ford
2010 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

Have a look at this thread at FordFusionForum.com about a “sloshing” or “waterfall” sound from the heater core in Fusions with the 2.5L engine. The noise seems to be most common upon starting the car first thing after a chilly night. Ford’s attempted fixes have ranged from a service bulletin to install a new cooling system reservoir (issued in January 2012, a full two years after the first post was made in this thread) to replacing the engine outright on suspicion of excess porosity in the metal used to cast the cylinder head. Have a look at the thread linked above; it’s very informative, full of detailed posts about what Ford has done to try to solve the problem in a number of different cars. As of March 2012, that thread is still active, and there’s no indication how many owners’ cars have had the TSB work done, or whether it eliminates the noise.

Check this thread about 12-volt battery problems in Fusion Hybrids. Note that this is the “regular” battery that lives under the hood, not the much larger, much more expensive hybrid traction battery, which is found behind the rear seat. This thread suggests that a weak 12-volt battery could cause the car to behave strangely; this is becoming a common problem in modern cars, hybrid or not, that incorporate a lot of electronic systems.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford Fusion, 2010 2012 used car reviews reviews ford
2010 Ford Fusion SE four-cylinder. Click image to enlarge

At TrueDelta.com, there are a number of other common threads to be found in the problems posted by Fusion owners, most minor in nature. Fusions that refused to start needed a new/extra electrical grounding cable; this was addressed through a Ford technical service bulletin. A number of owners report broken interior door handles and bubbling under the chrome-trimmed front grille. A few people posted about failed drive axle seals that leak fluid, rear brake calipers that seize up and cause accelerated brake pad wear (a common problem in cars with rear disc brakes), noisy climate control fan motors, and troubles with Ford’s SYNC entertainment systems that required a software re-installation. Leaky sunroofs seem to be common, too.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Fusion its Good ratings for frontal offset and side impact crash tests, noting that the frontal offset test showed a chance of minor neck and lower leg/foot injuries to the driver.

From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2010-2012 Fusion got three stars in frontal crash test performance, and four stars in side impact protection.

Looking at Canadian Black Book, used Fusion values seem right on the money for a domestic-branded car: significantly lower than those for Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys, and a little lower than values for Hyundai’s Sonata.

It’s unfortunate that Ford’s effort to improve on an already good car ended up hurting the Fusion’s reputation. The automatic transmission flaw is the real reliability story here, while the four-cylinder engine’s weird cooling system noise is more of an annoyance, but still an indicator of a quality setback. Don’t discount this new Fusion altogether, but shop carefully and if shopping for one with the automatic transmission (which will be most Fusions), don’t buy unless the transmission valve body has been replaced.

Pricing

Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) April, 2012:

Year
Model
Price today
Price new
2011
Fusion SE four-cylinder automatic
$18,050
$23,199
2010
Fusion SE four-cylinder automatic
$15,775
$22,799
Online resources
  • FordFusionForum.com is an excellent resource, with many knowledgeable Fusion owners frequenting the place. Also worth a look, but in no particular order, are FordFusionClub.com, FordFusion.net and FordFusionForum.org.
    Recalls

  • Transport Canada Recall Number: 2010122; Units affected: 1,458 (includes other models)2010:On certain vehicles, the manual recliner mechanisms may have gear plate teeth out of dimensional specifications, which could result in limited pawl to gear plate tooth engagement and create additional movement to the seat back. Correction: Dealers will replace the front seat manual recliner mechanism(s).
  • Transport Canada Recall Number: 2010164; Units affected: 3 (includes other models)

    2010:On certain vehicles, the automatic transmission’s park rod guide retention pin may not have been properly installed. If the pin not installed properly, the park rod guide may become displaced, preventing the transmission park pawl from engaging when shifted into PARK. This could allow vehicle movement and result in property damage or personal injury to bystanders. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, install the missing park rod guide retention pin.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2011424; Units affected: 8,220 (includes other models)

    2010-2011:On certain vehicles, the 17-inch steel wheels, whether factory installed or sold as accessory replacement parts, may experience a reduction in wheel stud clamp load. This can cause wheel stud failure, which could result in wheel separation. A wheel separating from the vehicle could cause a loss of control and a crash. In addition, the errant wheel assembly could strike a vehicle, a stationary object, or a bystander. These issues could result in property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will replace the lug nuts on all four wheels. They will also inspect the rear brake rotors and replace them as necessary.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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