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Thread: 2008 Ford Fusion

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2008 Ford Fusion

    Badge-engineering" (and "platform sharing" ) are industry-speak for spinning multiple cars from a common source and then selling them under different nameplates at different price points, etc. . Usually, they're not taken as complimentary terms.

    Sometimes, though, it works out ok for the buyer - as in the case of a car like the Ford Fusion.

    How so?

    The Fusion - Ford's mid-priced, mid-sized family sedan - shares its platform with the Mazda6, so partakes of the typically Mazda verve in the ride, handling and "fun to drive" department.

    For a domestic-brand sedan, this is no commonplace thing.

    Yet the Fusion's a bigger, roomier car thanks to two inches more wheelbase, an additional four inches of overall length and more than two inches of extra width. And it offers several important features you can't get in its downsized Mazda cousin - including an available all-wheel-drive system.

    Perhaps even better - it's cheaper.

    The Fusion starts at $18,010 vs. $18,990 for the entry-level Mazda6. Nearly a grand in your pocket is no small change. And the gap continues to widen as you ascend the range. An SE Fusion with V-6 and AWD is priced at $23,535; a top-of-the line Fusion SEL V-6 with all-wheel-drive carryies an MSRP of $24,625 vs. $27,000 for the front-drive Mazda6 S Grand Touring with V-6.

    Extra room, AWD - and about three grand less out the door, too. Hey, maybe platform sharing isn't such a bad thing after all!

    Otherwise, the two cars are close kin.

    For example, the standard and available engines are virtually identical.

    The Ford's standard engine is a 2.3 liter DOHC four-cylinder rated at 160 hp. The Mazda has more or less the same 2.3 liter engine as its standard engine - albeit tagged with a slightly lower rated output of 156 hp. Same story with the optional engines in either car. The Ford and the Mazda both offer a 3.0 liter V-6, but in the Fusion, this engine (which is built in the same place!)) somehow merits 221 hp; in the Mazda, 212 hp.

    Wacky, no?

    The reason for the disparity is mysterious - especially since the Mazda has the lower ratings. You'd assume the Ford (which, after all, has the less sporty image) would be saddled with the detuned engines. If, in fact, they are detuned. Probably the engines are exactly identical - and the differences in rated output are purely "on paper."

    There is, however, an important difference in how that power gets delivered.

    The Mazda offers both an automatic and manual transmission with either engine while the Ford can be had with a manual only if you order the four cylinder. The V-6 Fusion comes with a six-speed automatic - that's it.

    Arguably, this is the biggest functional disappointment you'll find in the Fusion - if you happen to be an an enthusiast driver, at least.

    The six-speed automatic has the gears, but not the clutch. It also (strangely, in this day and age) doesn't have a manual/sport mode. Just "D" and "L." The result is the Fusion V-6/automatic is about half to three-quarters of second slower 0-60 than its corporate cousin with the V-6/5-speed manual (mid-low eights for the Ford vs. 7.5-7.6 seconds for the Mazda). It's also a lot less fun from a gearhead's point-of-view, because the automatic is a boring "a to b" piece that doesn't give the enthusiast driver much control over the otherwise punchy and free-revving V-6.

    Add AWD - and the extra weight/inertial load that comes with it - and the Fusion can feel sluggish at times, especially with two or three passengers on board.

    It's difficult to understand Ford's reasoning in not offering the stick with the V-6, especially since its in-house sibling (and thus, the same basic car) does offer this combo.

    I guess this is the hook to get you to shell out the extra coin for the higher-priced Mazda...

    So, despite the higher power of the optional V-6, the enthusiast buyer who wants to get full action out of the Fusion will probably be happier with the four-cylinder/manual combo. It's actually about as quick, 0-60 - and much more entertaining to drive when you actually feel like driving. Additionally: Ford has done a great job making the hydraulic assist clutch nice and progressive - as compared with the "in or out" jerkiness I have been noticing in more and more new model stickshift cars. (Subarus are particularly guilty on this score. Just FYI.)

    Also on the upside of things is the addition of Ford's tech-savvy Sync system - which links the Fusion's in-car audio/infotainment with portable electronics such as your cell phone, PDA and iPod/MP3 player. Sync uses voice recognition, too - so you can order the car to access and play MP3s, switch to Sirius or make a call. It's pretty neat - and it's something you can't order on the Mazda6.

    There are further Fusion-only features, such as multiple choice LED backlighting for the cupholders - similar to the set-up in the Mustang, only instead of being able to toggle from green to orange to yellow to red to purple to blue to pink backlighting for the instrument cluster, you only get to change the lighting for the footwells and twin cupholder in the console.

    Still, pretty cool.

    Fusions also offer the Ford-specific keypad entry system on top-of-the-line SEL versions - which can be a real help if you ever lose your regular key. Only a few other automakers even offer a keypad entry system.

    Higher-trim SE and SEL models can be ordered with a sunroof, contrast-color leather inserts for the seats, as well as carbon fiber-ish trim, 18-inch rims and a DVD-based GPS unit.

    My test car had black leather with red inserts and red stitching, which I thought looked good. Not quite as sporty as the more rakish Mazda6, but a cut above the usual fambly-mobile and its soul-crushing rental car ambiance.

    If this car had a bit more beans - and if you could get a six-speed manual gearbox with the optional V-6 - Ford would have one of the most appealing mid-sized sport sedans on the market.

    As it stands, the Fusion's a nice counterpoint to the smaller - yet more expensive - Mazda6. Great for families, but still a decent compromise for enthusiast types who need a family-type car.

    And a helluva lot more compelling than four-wheeled toasters such as the Chevy Malibu and Chrysler Sebring!

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: 2008 Ford Fusion

    Fusions also offer the Ford-specific keypad entry system on top-of-the-line SEL versions - which can be a real help if you ever lose your regular key. Only a few other automakers even offer a keypad entry system.
    If you get this, have the dealer unplug it for you.

    Sure,there are ten digits on the buttons, but there's only 5 buttons, which means there's only 120 possible combinations. A thief could work through those pretty easily.

    But then again, thieves would probably just use a brick to open up your car...

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Fusion

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Fusions also offer the Ford-specific keypad entry system on top-of-the-line SEL versions - which can be a real help if you ever lose your regular key. Only a few other automakers even offer a keypad entry system.
    If you get this, have the dealer unplug it for you.

    Sure,there are ten digits on the buttons, but there's only 5 buttons, which means there's only 120 possible combinations. A thief could work through those pretty easily.

    But then again, thieves would probably just use a brick to open up your car...

    Chip H.
    Exactly; I doubt it's much of an issue as far as thievery goes. But I like the feature because I am absent minded and often forget my keys - or lock them in the car.

    Years ago, my mom had a Lincoln Mark VII - it had the keypad - and she really like it also.

  4. #4
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    Re: 2008 Ford Fusion

    Here's a link to this article with pictures on the main page:





    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...3&Itemid=10848

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