While other car companies are resorting to extroverted styling to draw attention to their mid-size sedan offerings (we're looking at you, 2018 Toyota Camry), Ford is keeping things understated with its Fusion, which carries over into 2018 unchanged following last year's refresh.
That update included the usual cosmetic changes, but it also brought a performance boost in a Sport trim powered by a 2.7L turbo V6 that makes 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. It's an AWD sport sedan that challenges cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, but with much strong value for the dollar.
That flagship model is underpinned by more modest siblings powered by engines like a 1.5L turbo four-cylinder (181 hp/185 lb-ft) and a 2.0L turbo four (245 hp/275 lb-ft). Fusion also comes in hybrid and Energi (plug-in-hybrid) trims that pair a 2.0L gas engine with an electric motor for 188 and 195 hp respectively, and a bargain basement model uses a 2.5L four-cylinder making a basic 175 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque.
Trim levels include S, SE, Titanium, Sport and Platinum.
Compared directly to cars like the Camry and Honda Accord, the Fusion's cabin is more snug, offering space closer to its mid-size market position than the nearly full-size interiors boasted by those Japanese models. While we will grant you that the Fusion's rotary gearshift knob helps create a feeling of spaciousness between the front seats, we still prefer a traditional shift lever.
Fusion's trump is a driving feel that feels distinctly European, making this the driver's choice in the family sedan class. While we car enthusiast types obviously like the power available in the Sport and cars equipped with the 2.0L turbo engine, even more affordable 1.5L and 2.5L models boast competent handling and a nicely sorted suspension that makes for comfortable going without feeling old-fashioned.
One of the Fusion's biggest draws is the sheer variety it offers, the fun-to-drive Sport being the car that really sets this model apart from its competition.
Optional technology includes Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system, which represents a big improvement over previous generations. Also available are adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, park assist, backup sensing and navigation.
Hybrid models are obviously the most efficient, the basic (non-PHEV) gas-electric model boasting fuel consumption estimates of 5.5/5.6 L/100 km (city/highway). 1.5L cars are next up at 10.0/7.0 and the 2.0L model is rated 11.2/7.6. Fusion Sport's estimates are 13.8/9.1 L/100 km.