Domestic sedans are trying to make a comeback, but the Ford Fusion has been ahead of the game since it hit the market four years ago. For 2016, the refreshed Fusion sedan sees minimal design changes but more of everything else from tech and cabin features to power and performance.
Harrison Hot Springs, BC – Sedans have lost significant ground in recent years as the exploding popularity of crossovers continues to rise. But now, we’re seeing the humble 4-door chariot getting some love, particularly from the domestic automakers, as designs are ramping up with sleeker, sportier lines and much more refined cabin environments. Sure, the German sedans have maintained their pace and relevance, but other long-standing products like the Chevy Malibu or Subaru Legacy – not known for being sexy or stylish – today, are looking great; possibly, something a young family could actually consider owning over a crossover.
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However, when the Ford Fusion sedan first hit the market four years ago as a 2013 model, it was arguably ahead of the curve, offering very progressive styling for the time with that not-so-sedan open grill frontend (from afar, resembling a Jaguar; and no, I’m not alone here). Today, the Fusion is the best-selling car in it’s segment. That’s pretty impressive, and indicates Ford’s gamble investing in a new model four-door paid off. Now, the car gets its first update since inception.
What’s New for 2016
Generally speaking, the answer is: more of everything. The 2016 Fusion finds a more refined and spacious cabin including increased storage space, better ergonomics, and more updated technology including the clean and intuitive Sync3; plus, added safety features and more choice for power.
Exterior Design: Little Change
The Fusion’s design has been a strong point, so Ford didn’t mess with it for the 2016 refresh. And rightfully so. Few changes, however, would include all new headlight designs with diamond lighting; a new, wider front grill; and a rear crease line for styling. The 2017 Fusion has nice sculpted lines, and pulls off that peculiar wide-mouth front grill. Again, today’s family sedans are beginning to look sharper, sporty, and overall more polished, inline with their crossover siblings both of which often share the same platform.
Inside the 2016 Fusion: Goodbye lever, hello gear shift dial
Overall, the cabin environment inside this new sedan feels very refined. That word refined gets thrown around a lot these days, but in this case, it’s accurate. Perhaps the biggest update is the new high-tech gear shift dial replacing the shifter handle in the centre console. And this isn’t just a novelty thing: the absence of the space-hogging lever and parking brake results in a roomier cabin, making way for more valuable storage space in the centre stack area – that’s a 40% overall storage volume improvement. Many of today’s cars are implementing this, and as a dad, I find that extra spacious nook up front below the controls really does come in handy for tossing your stuff into. As noted, the conventional parking brake is also gone, replaced by a new electronic version.
For technology, the new Fusion gets the Sync3 with Sync Connect; FordPass; Apple Carplay, and Android Auto — the latter two, being introduced in majority of new models and refreshes today.
Performance & Handling: New V6 Sport
The sportier a sedan the better. The Fusion for 2016 comes with a new V6 Sport engine powered by a robust 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost engine paired to the all-wheel drive. The new Fusion is definitely quieter on the road, and the new V6 is no exception.
Overall, the Fusion has five engine choices – the most in the segment – including three EcoBoost flavours: 1.5L, 2.0L, and the 2.7L V6; these EcoBoosts all come with auto start-stop as standard. For the hybrid fans, there’s an engine for you as well.
A list of new safety features make their way into the 2016 refresh, including a new collision warning with brake support, a pre-collision set up, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, enhanced park assist with perpendicular/parallel and park out, and a lane-keep system ensuring driver remains within the lines.
What consumers like about the Fusion are the design, performance, Ford technology, available all-wheel drive, and choice of power (EcoBoost, hybrid, plug-in). The 2016 Ford Fusion retains all of this while either adding more or ramping things up, which is always a good thing. Crossovers continue to get all the love but sedans have their place too. And, fortunately, they seem to be getting better, both in the midsize and fullsize arenas.