The Fusion's turning radius is actually much larger than that -- 40' even, to be specific. Compare that to 36.1' in the Toyota Camry, 37.4' in the Nissan Altima, and 35.8' in the Hyundai Sonata. Even the Mazda6, which the Fusion is based on, has a radius of 38.7'.
I have to admit, this really discourages me from considering the Fusion. I currently have a Ford Contour whose turning radius I consider excessive (37.3') for a car its size. Makes parking lot maneuvers a real hassle and u-turns possible only in the wides roads.
Turning radius isn't something most people think of when they are considering a new car, but you realize how important it can be in everyday driving, especially if you do a lot of around town and parking lot driving. The turning radius is HORRIBLE in my '89 Chrysler Lebaron. My Mom's '95 Volvo 940, which is considerably larger than my car, turns has a 33ft. radius, which is very noticeable and quite nice to have in parking lots and when doing U-turns.
You know these cars come with a reverse gear... helps with parking and turning in tight spaces...
First off, ONLY the 2006 Fusion has the wider turning radius. From 2007 on it is much shorter. I own a 2006 and I've never once encountered ANY situation where the wider turning radius was any problem at all. In addition, as a mechanic I PREFER the wider turn radius of my 2006 because it lessens wear and stress on the CV joints (which is why Ford made it that way to begin with). Rather than wearing out at only 300,000 miles mine should go 400,000-500,000 miles. I'd never dream of taking the compromise of a less reliable, poorer quality car because of something as minor as a tiny bit wider turn radius. Besides, as I said, ONLY the 2006 had the wider turn radius. Just buy a 2007 or up.
As for U-turns they are illegal anyway, but as a former stunt driver (who still likes to have fun on occasion) I have found that the Fusion is an awesomely well-balanced car that can easily negotiate a U-turn in just the car's length. Just accelerate to about 30mph, apply the emergency brake very firmly, swing the steering wheel whichever way you want to turn and hang on. Once the car has made a 180 degree spin, quickly release the brake and VOILA!! A VERY tight turn. I've done this on 20' wide one-lane alleys with my Fusion.
Actually, this type of maneuver doesn't do the least bit of harm to a car beyond a tiny amount of rubber being scraped off the tires. It couldn't do anything to shorten the car's life. It has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the engine or transaxle assembly. It actually LESSENS wear on CV joints and steering components. I routinely use the emergency brake to turn sharp street corners in the snow due to the poor handling of front-drive cars on snow. It works far better than turning the steering wheel.
Anytime you throw the entire weight of a car from one side to the other repeatedly, it greatly flexes everything from the suspension to the subframe to the body itself. If you think this has no negative bearing on the car, you are mistaken. Everyday driving street cars are made to get from point A to point B. They are built to withstand regular driving scenarios and little else. They are not stunt vehicles.
Go ahead and think you are doing no damage. It is your money after all. I just feel bad for anyone who buys your cars after you are done abusing them. You should also exercise more restraint when driving on public roads. Stunt driving is for closed courses, and if you really are a professional, then you'd leave that type of driving in the proper places, and not out on the streets.
I would agree that the driving style mentioned above would indeed put undue stress on a vehicle, and certainly do more than just wear a bit of rubber off the tires. I would love to see a driver explain to the police officer after being pulled over for performing such a stunt on a city street, that he/she was simply doing this because their vehicle otherwise has a rather large turning radius.
I agree with you. On snow and similarly slippery conditions, there will be no adverse effects on the chassis from e-brake cornering. I love to do 180s like that as well.
However, on regular dry pavement, this would be very bad for the suspension and steering parts.
By the way, I have all gray hair, and my kids call me a geezer.