Monday, December 12, 2005
Finally got to drive a Fusion, and enjoyed it
My first impression is that the car looks much bigger in pictures. Here it looks long a low, but in person it looks good, but not big. I took a test drive in a black SE trim V6 Auto sedan. The dealer says that this is the most common configuration and that although a manual is available with the I4, don't look for one on dealer lots. The dealer said Ford is going to bias toward V6 and even most I4 will be automatic.
Being early on a Monday, the dealership was deserted and I was not set upon by any sales staff, because they were just having coffe, better for me to crawl all over the car. Now I had test drove a Mazda 6 just a few weeks ago, and that is still fresh in my mind for comparison. The Ford interior is not stellar, neither was the Mazda, but it was just a cut above the Fusion. I did like the stereo controls on the steering wheel, and was able to set a nice position for the seat and adjustable steering wheel, that gave a good veiw of the gages. I must say, I liked the dash layout and gages better than recent Ford offerings, and while they were close to the Mazda, they were not identical. The trunk and interior seemed roomy and useful. I did notice a pull down armrest with two cupholder in the back and wondered why, but I guess we Americans have come to expect that.
Once I was finished examinging the car, I found a salesman that actually knew his stuff, and could discuss the car and the industry with some level of competence. A refreshing change from what I'm used to. The Fusion was sitting next too the 500 and was dwarfed by the larger car.
I set out in the Fusion and was impressed with the quiet cabin and solid feel, until I pressed hard on the accelterator and the buzzy V6 hit high revs. Shifts from the auto trans were uneventful and smooth. Once I got used to the motors tendency to hit those high notes, it was actually a decent drive. A loop of city and highway driving, with no disapointments. For those that are familiar with NY suburbs, I-287 is a sucky road, potholes and bumps and a killer merge. The Fusion took off into trafic well and soaked up the bumpy highway and city streets with no noise or bobbling. The salesmen pointed out that the V6's EPA numbers of 21/29 were not so far off the 4's 24/32, and that those numbers weren't too far away from the Focus sitting unloved in the corner of the showroom.
Overall I was satisfied with the Fusion, as I think most people will be. It's a fine replacement for the Taurus and has potential to be sporty if equiped the right way. Too bad that V6 isn't available with a manual trans.