Slapping a Sport badge onto a sedan is a funny thing, and perceptions vary about what should be accomplished once an automaker does it.
It’s 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque that your neighbours will lift an eyebrow at but still not quite see coming.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport, a new package this year on the Blue Oval’s mid-sizer, is an example of the concept done relatively well.
It doesn’t exactly inspire me to pine for the snow to thaw so that I can head for the earliest available track day, but that’s not what it’s meant to do.
What it does do is stuff the well-liked 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine into the Fusion’s sleek exterior styling, which has also seen some tweaks for 2017 with more assertive but not aggressive front- and rear-end massaging on the Sport, including standard LED headlights and taillights, deeper air intakes, a gloss black mesh grille, a spoiler, quad exhaust outlets, and standard 19-inch premium painted wheels. The result is subtle yet effective: it’s 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque that your neighbours will lift an eyebrow at but still not quite see coming.
And with the EcoBoost being as fuel-efficient as it is, this comes with a relatively low impact at the pumps: the Fusion Sport is rated at 11.5 L/100 km combined, which is bang on what I saw in my week of mixed-conditions driving. Do note, though, that the power figures listed above are at 93 octane, so if you want to match them then your fuel bill will go up accordingly.
The powertrain is completed with a six-speed automatic – which I found hunted around a little when pressed into heavy service, but not to a terribly annoyingly degree – with paddle shifters and standard all-wheel drive that can send 100 percent of available power to the front or rear wheels. (Snow day? What snow day?)
Once inside, a few more key points are quickly apparent.
For one, the grey leather and suede-trimmed seats make a bold statement. My husband and I agreed that this statement to us was “taxi”, but your interpretation may vary.
And then your eyes turn to shift into drive, and you notice that the linear shift knob has been replaced with one of those increasingly trendy dials. In this case, the change frees up space in the centre console for an electronic parking brake, a storage bin with an integrated USB port, and larger cup holders that are arranged vertically and to the right instead of horizontally and embedding coffee lids into the driver’s elbow.
This change is across the entire Fusion line-up, but the Sport’s is unique: the dial’s low gear setting is replaced with sport mode, which on this car changes its character a fair bit. Shift points come earlier, the throttle responds faster, the steering and damping firm up, and more engine noise is piped into the cabin. It doesn’t exactly get your pulse racing, but it’s good fun – again, assertive but not aggressive.
One of my favourite things about this car is how well its information is laid out. The combination of the Sync 3 infotainment system and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality is very good, especially since you can have your phone take over the main screen and still see things like what song is playing on satellite radio on the bright and customizable instrument cluster. Having to separately connect a phone to access the app and Bluetooth to enable calls and text messages is a minor annoyance, but at least all the functionality is there.
I typically have usability issues in cars that put the speedometer in the middle of the dash – to get my short-limbed self into the best driving position, I have to sit quite close to the wheel – but in this car the gauge is small enough that it doesn’t create a problem. Other than the fact that the B-pillars are imposing during blind spot checks, the ergonomics here are sound.
The 2017 Fusion has some new available safety features, those being adaptive cruise control that works to a full stop, collision mitigation with braking support and pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assist, all of which are standard on the Sport model.
It’s not going to land in many driveways of owners seeking the ostentatiousness that can come with the word sport. But if a wolf in sheep’s clothing is what you’re looking for, this car is a good bet.
|2017 Ford Fusion Sport|
|Engine Displacement: 2.7L|
|Engine Cylinders: 6|
|Peak Horsepower: 325 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Peak Torque: 380 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm|
|Fuel Economy: 13.5/9.0/11.5 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space: 453 L|
|2017 Ford Fusion Sport|
|Base Price $42,288|
|A/C Tax $100|
|Destination Fee $1,650|
|Price as Tested $44,488|
|Optional Equipment $450 – Burgundy Velvet paint $450|