Another update from the original reviewer: My mom was so impressed with our Fusion that she decided to buy a Lincoln MKZ to replace her Volvo S60 (which has been a huge disappointment). The Fusion and MKZ are virtually identical except that the Lincoln has more sound insulation and a slightly smoother feel. I don't think it's worth $17,000 more for a few pounds of sound insulation, but mom comes from "old money" and thinks the more you pay, the better something is. Every item on an MKZ can be had on a Fusion SEL as standard equipment, and the interiors are virtually identical.
The one thing you can get on the Fusion that you can't get on the MKZ is the sporty blue paint. For some unknown reason they put in the dealers brochure for the MKZ, but when they look it up on the computers at the dealership, it is unavailable.
Since the last commenter can directly compare the Fusion to MKZ, I would be interested to hear his observations on the ride versus handling trade off between the two. The car magazines say the Fusion has the better handling, but a rougher ride. Is it much of a difference? Is the MKZs supposedly better ride only noticeable on rough pavement?
To 00:04: I've had a chance to drive the MKZ and the Fusion on different types of road surfaces. The MKZ IS noticeably smoother and quieter, and handles bumps better than the Fusion. In cornering I really can't tell a great deal of difference. The MKZ seems to handle corners very well, as does the Fusion. The 6-speed automatic in the MKZ shifts so smoothly you can't really feel it at all. The Fusion is a 4 with the 5-speed automatic and it is a totally different transmission, but still very smooth. The V-6 Fusion has the same 6-speed as the MKZ, so I'd assume it too would shift very smoothly.
My Fusion is an SE, which is not quite as plush as an SEL model. In checking the equipment list it appears that the Fusion SEL can be had with every single option the MKZ has, so in all honesty, if I were buying new, I'd save $17,000 and go with a loaded Fusion SEL. Both cars are great, but I just honestly can't see $17,000 worth of difference.
I wanted my Fusion to look a little sportier, so today I installed a factory OEM rear spoiler. It was a very simple job, and gives my SE a more sporty look. It has the LED rear high-mounted brake light in the spoiler, and that, too, was a very easy hook-up. The cost was a very reasonable $129.
There are a lot of after-market accessories available for the Fusion. They are not quite as inexpensive as the parts for my Mustang, but there are lots of exterior, interior, engine and tire-wheel mods available for even the 4-cylinder Fusions.
My next endeavor with the Fusion will be upgraded wheels and tires and a custom mesh grille.
These cars start out VERY boring, but a little time and attention can make them much more enjoyable.
After putting some road trip miles on the Fusion I feel better qualified to make a few more comments about the car. As expected, zero problems. I did a "high mileage trip" this week to see how good it could be on trips. I was on an unhurried trip and had plenty of time. I set the cruise on 60 (encouraging road rage and rude gestures of course). I was very pleased to discover that I got a whopping 34.4 mpg. On the return I drove normally (80-90) and the mileage dropped to 28 or so. Still good, but these cars can get REALLY good mileage if you don't mind everyone passing you and giving you rude gestures.
In the area of performance, I have no idea where people get the idea that the 2.3 Fusions are "slow" and "underpowered". I can hit 100mph if I keep it floored on most freeway entry ramps. That is 40mph MORE than the local speed limits, so I certainly regard it as adequate. Passing power and acceleration are also more than adequate. Of course all auto magazine writers regard ANY vehicle that takes longer than 5 seconds from 0-60 as "slow" and "underpowered". I find it ironic that the 2.3 Fusion has 3 MORE horsepower than the first Mustang GT, which auto experts in those days thought was incredibly fast.
Original reviewer with a 4-month update. Totally flawless. Not a single problem or even minor dissatisfaction with anything (well, other than it being a boring 4-door sedan). I honestly prefer driving it to driving my 2007 Mustang because it is so much more comfortable. If my wife would let me I'd add silver rally striping and other custom touches to dress it up a bit. If this one keeps on going like it has so far, it will replace our 2001 Grand Am as the best car we've ever owned.
The Fusion continues to be flawless. An upgrade to a K&N high flow air filter, full synthetic oil and premium gas is now yielding average mileage of between 29.8 and 31.9 MPG. Our highway mileage at 65 with the cruise set averages 37-38 MPG. Performance for a 4-cylinder is very good. It will downshift at 100mph and peg the speedometer in 4th gear easily. The 0-60 times are now well into the 7.8 to 8 second range. I'm a mechanic and my wife and I are former stunt drivers. We both find the Fusion to be an outstanding car in terms of ride, handling and performance. I am so glad we got a 4, as the performance of the 6 couldn't be much better and the fuel mileage would have been quite a bit worse.
Due to my many summer activities, I have put a lot of miles on my Fusion since my last update.
It still is flawless. I have learned a neat trick in changing the annoying cartridge-type oil filter: If I wrap a piece of duct tape around the filter case it provides ample grip to allow my standard loop-type wrench to turn it, and also protects it from cracking the plastic case.
I am currently engineering and building a short-intake ram-air cold-air intake system for the I-4 which should boost horsepower by 12-15 horsepower. It will make an already fun car a bit more fun.
I completed and installed the high-flow, short-tube cold air intake on the Fusion I-4 last Saturday. The sound was awesome and low-end torque noticeably improved, however I did TOO good a job and the stock computer settings can't handle the huge increase in air flow. I don't want to endanger my warranty by re-flashing the computer, so I am putting the new intake on my garage shelf until my warranty expires next year.
I recently took a co-worker on a trip in our I-4 Fusion. He owns a V-8 SUV, a turbo-charged German import and a V-6 Japanese crossover. He was amazed at the fantastic acceleration and passing power of the I-4 Fusion. I'm a car enthusiast and drive in a very spirited manner. He asked "Why would anyone buy the V-6" and I replied "So they can say they have one". The 4 is amply powerful for any passing or merging needs, and my friend readily agreed. My mom has a V-6 and it is only very slightly more powerful than our 4. When I drive hers, the computer generally indicates 17 mpg. Our Fusion 4 generally indicates 30-31 mpg. We're solidly sold on the 4.