2006 Ford Fusion SEL 3.0L V6 from North America
A great compromise between performance and luxury
Driver seat squeaks,
Door panel rattles,
Popping dash when A/C or Heater is on,
Long delay when accelerating,
Incorrect radio installed.
Ford offered to fix them all under warranty (I did not get the popping dash fixed, I didn't trust them to remove the whole dash and get it back correctly) :-).
The incorrect radio was actually a misprint in the owners manual which stated the mid grade radio should have RDBS. Ford was gracious enough to upgrade the radio for 2006 owners who asked. I was told for 2007 the owners manual was updated to list that feature only for the top end radio (Audiophile system).
The jerky transmission problem is one where if you are coasting to a stop and then start to accelerate again you have to do so VERY LIGHTLY, very very lightly, otherwise the transmission hard down-shifts into first and causes everyone to spill their drinks (no I'm not stomping the gas, go drive a Fusion if you wanna see what I mean). Both transmission problems were simply an engine computer reprogram. That fixed the long delay, but only marginally corrected the jerkiness in parking lots, and at yield signs.
I find the Fusion to be an excellent compromise car for me, compromising performance, handling, luxury, and ride with what I could afford to pay. Its not the best car in any of those classes, and whether you will like the car will depend on how you balance those attributes. If you want an affordable car that has all of those attributes you should go drive a fusion, and see if it is the right compromise for you too.
How I got there:
I test drove cars for 6mos before getting the Fusion. Ford wasn't even on my radar until a car aficionado suggested I test drive one. Unlike all the other cars I walked away from thinking "maybe" this car I walked away from thinking "Yes I think that's my car". After a bit more research on its specifications, I came back and ordered one. Other cars I had looked at were the Acura RSX, Pontiac G6, Honda Civic, Nissan Altima, Chevy Malibu.
I've been very happy with my purchase.
o I wanted a car that was quieter, and more comfortable on long trips than my Geo Prizm.
o I wanted a car that was faster, and more sporty than my Geo Prizm.
o I also wanted a car that was affordable for me (less than 25k).
o I wanted a car that got descent gas mileage.
The Fusion fit that bill well. Its also just a great looking car! :-)
Ride and Handling:
Its not as quiet, and smooth as a luxury car (Lincoln, Cadillac, etc), but was leaps and bounds quieter, and more refined than many of the other cars I was looking at (particularly the sportier models). It has a firm feel to it that lets you know its hugging the road, but takes out a lot of the bouncy vibrations my previous econobox had.
The V6 model has excellent acceleration especially for someone who's use to an econobox 4 banger. Its acceleration time of ~7.8 sec is not race car fast, but is thrilling enough for the average driver who rarely utilizes an engine to that extreme anyway. In fact 7.8 secs was sports car fast just 20 years ago. It has excellent mid range acceleration (40-80mph) to get out of trouble with it's 6 speed gear box spaced for performance.
The 17" low profile tires grip the pavement well. I'm not a performance driver, and although I've never taken corners to the cars limit with tires squealing, I have taken the car to the edge of my comfort level finding a well handing, sure footed car, that felt like I could push it a lot harder. Besides, the stock tires are very expensive at $200/each (in my opinion), not something I want to wear away too quickly.
The steering is excellent too with plenty of feed back, yet enough assistance to ease low speed turns. Some people complain the steering is to stiff, but I like it a lot. One down side is the turning radius, this car turns like a truck with a turning radius of something like 36' if I recall correctly. I have had to be more deliberate about parking this car than any previous car I have owned (excepting my pickup of course).
The interior is very roomy. The back seats are comfortable for medium length trips. Though I've only sat in them a couple times myself. :-) What I really like is the trunk space. The back seats fold flat (and easily with release levers in the trunk). The opening between the trunk and the back seat area is huge. Not the tiny snow ski opening you see on some cars. Instead it spans the entire area from the rear deck to the floor and from each side wall using only a 3" or so re-enforcing lip. I've been able to haul all sorts of things in this car from a new book case, to a folding bed (much to the amazement of the person I brought it to).
The stock stereo and speakers excellent (MP3-CD6-Premium) with no real need for an added sub-woofer unless you need to rattle windows. Several friends have remarked how good it sounds, and the substantial base it puts out.
My gas mileage varies based on time of year, and driving conditions. I tend to drive very gas mileage conscious with long glides to stop signs/lights, and very light acceleration. So as they say "your mileage may vary". My best averages with about 60% highway/40% City on a daily 70 mile commute are 25-26 MPG in Winter, 24-25 MPG in Summer, 26-27 MPG in Spring/Fall. Summer eats up gas with the AC, and winter eats up gas while idling to clear the frost, and ice.
The car doesn't like short city trips, as it consumes large amounts of gas warming the engine, requiring at least a 10+ mile highway leg to earn much of that back. My worst gas mileage of 22.5 MPG was done with lots of very short city trips interspersed with my longer commute driving.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 19th March, 2007
Previous comment, your 2006 Crown Victoria has a 39 foot turning radius compared to my 40 foot turning radius on my 2000 Grand Marquis. That's due to your car having a rack and pinion steering system compared to my recirculating ball steering. The Ford Fusion seems to be a good car, but I'll take my Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car anyday.