Test Drive: 2018 Ford Fusion Sport

Ford’s Fusion has been a fixture in the North American automotive landscape since 2006, with the current second-generation model debuting in 2013. With Ford’s recent announcement that it’s getting out of the sedan business when the current models age out, the Fusion may only have a couple years left. That’s a pity, really.

The Ford Fusion Sport is a blast to push hard.

Choosing a Fusion has always been a bit like visiting an ice cream shop, as there are many different flavours to choose from: A base four-cylinder gas model, turbo fours in two different displacements, a hybrid model, a plug-in hybrid and – newly introduced for 2017 and topping the lineup in terms of power output – the 2.7L twin-turbo V6 Sport, which cranks out 325 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

All of these various Fusions look handsomely Aston Martin-esque, though none quite so aggressively as the Sport model, thanks to its black mesh grille and quad exhaust tips. Certainly, none of the others offer performance levels (nor, it must be admitted, fuel economy) quite so close to Aston Martin territory: At full throttle the Fusion Sport will sprint from 0–100 km/h in a brisk 5.5 seconds, but the price for this performance is a city fuel consumption rating 13.8 L/100 km (highway consumption is much better at 9.1 L/100km). My test car had recorded a mixed average of 13.2 L/100 km over the previous 2,200 km and thanks to my heavy-footed, mostly city driving I managed a bit worse than that at slightly over 14 L/100 km.

Performance and Handling

The 2018 Ford Fusion Sport V6 drives all four wheels via a paddle-shifter-equipped six-speed automatic transmission and computer-controlled AWD system, and power comes on in an authoritative rush with a suitably growly soundtrack. There’s a touch of turbo lag discernible at low rpms, but with 350 lb-ft of torque on tap once the turbos spool up, it’s not something you notice for long.

To provide handling prowess on par with the car’s power, the Sport gets dark tarnish-painted 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/40R19 tires. It also gets a continuously controlled damping system with pothole mitigation technology that smooths out potholes by holding the affected wheel up for a moment so it can glide over the hole. As a resident of pothole-riddled downtown Vancouver I genuinely appreciated this feature, which really does work as advertised.

Highway manners are exemplary and Fusion Sport glides along quietly, smoothly, and serenely at 100 km/h with the engine turning over at barely 2,000 rpm. Around the twisty bits, the suspension comports itself well and the car is competent and well-controlled, if perhaps lacking a little in feedback and crispness. While all of this sounds a little clinical and detached, the driving experience is far from it: The Ford Fusion Sport is a blast to push hard, especially once you press the “S” button in the middle of the gear controller to sharpen up the car’s responses.

Interior and Technology

Inside, the Fusion Sport gets a shot of sport flavour thanks to its nicely bolstered and properly comfortable 10-way power leather-and-Alcantara sports seats (heated and cooled, no less), set off by grey carbon-fibre-look trim. There’s plenty of room front and back for taller adults, and a power moonroof is standard. Materials are generally good, with soft surfaces everywhere you’re likely to touch, including the door uppers both front and rear.

Infotainment is courtesy of Ford’s well-regarded Sync 3 system with Sync Connect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and voice-activated navigation. Cranking out the tunes is a 12-speaker Sony audio system. Overall I found the system great, except for the fiddly button-style volume and tuning controls. What’s wrong with the tried-and-tested knob?

In terms of tech, the Fusion Sport certainly delivers, with active park assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, blind spot information system, lane-keeping system, collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and active noise control. Also included are keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, and ambient lighting, as well as many other comfort and convenience features.

A couple of features that seemed rather at odds with the car’s sporty intent are the tiny little tachometer and the rotary gear selector. I’d like to see a revised instrument cluster with a big analogue tach, and an old-school shift lever. I’d also prefer for the clips and fasteners in the trunk area under the speaker deck to be covered up or better finished – in the space of a single shopping trip both my wife and I managed to cut ourselves on sharp edges while packing the car’s big 453 L trunk.

Measuring up

Priced at $43,288 the Fusion Sport isn’t an inexpensive proposition, especially by the value-driven standards of the mid-size sedan segment, which sees the V6-powered Volkswagen Passat GT starting at $33,795. That said, the Fusion Sport is right in line with the Toyota Camry XSE V6 ($39,890) and it’s still a good deal compared to a similarly equipped SUV (the Ford Edge Sport is a couple thousand dollars more expensive at $45,299). And while these days driving an SUV says that you’re a herd-following conformist, the once ubiquitous sedan is rapidly becoming the iconoclastic choice, one that says you’re still young enough to lower yourself into a road-hugging automobile and enjoy a little bit of fast driving. The Fusion Sport will certainly help with the fast part, at least until it disappears from the market.

2018 Ford Fusion Sport
Engine Displacement: 2.7L
Engine Cylinders: V6
Peak Horsepower: 325 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Peak Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Fuel Economy: 13.8/9.1/11.8 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space: 453.1 L
articles_PricingType 2018 Ford Fusion Sport
Base Price $43,288
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $1,750
Price as Tested $45,138
Optional Equipment None
Optional Equipment
10 0
Scoring breakdowns 7.7
8 Styling
9 Powertrain
7 Quality
8 Comfort
8 Practicality
8 Drivability
8 Usability/Ergonomics
5 Fuel Economy
9 Features
7 Value