Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
6 minute read
28 Jan 2015
4:00 pm

Fusion delivers on style and technology

Mark Jones

When Ford Motor Company say they are on a charge and are turning their business around, you maybe need to sit-up and pay attention.

They attained their highest ever market share of 12.4% in SA in 2014 – a huge 20.9% improvement over 2013.

They keep bringing well-priced, well-specced products to the market and you will see a further 17 new products from them in the next two years to keep the sales fires well and truly burning – fires that see some of their various offerings being segment sales leaders and the likes of their popular Ranger even ousting Hilux and topping the overall sales charts every now and again; something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

With this type of confidence and product under their belt they have decided to come and play in the ever tougher medium sedan segment with their all-new Ford Fusion.

This is a segment dominated by the premium offerings of BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class and Audi A4 and sees over 30 000 cars sold a year between them.

But this is only part of the hard sell: the place within this segment where the Fusion will look to gather most of its sales is known as the non-premium part.

And there are many manufacturers such as Honda with the Accord, VW with its Passat, Mazda with the 6, Hyundai with the Sonata and Kia with the Optima – to name a few – fighting for the scraps, and by scraps I mean this part of the segment is not worth much more than 1 200 cars annually.

So a volume seller the Ford Fusion will never be in South Africa, but it is the new Ford flagship car and the most technologically advanced Ford ever introduced in the country – and I got to sample the range recently in the Western Cape.

I don’t often comment on styling as beauty is often in the eye of the beholder and unless something is obviously wrong with what I see, I keep my mouth shut and let the pictures do the talking.

But I can say up front I think the styling of the Fusion is pretty good for an everyday sedan and would have no problem having one in my driveway.

Of course, climbing inside you are greeted with plenty space and a nice air of quality and Ford style.

fusion

The Fusion offers everything you can think of as accepted luxury items – but it is only when you dig a little deeper that you find all the newer technology and safety packed into this family car.

A lot of it is class leading or all new to the segment.

I wish I could go into detail about all that is hidden under the metal, but I simply don’t have the space. I will give you a brief idea of what you can find.

Items such Active Park Assist that does your parallel and perpendicular parking for you; Pull Out Assist that alerts you to cars approaching while you are reversing; Side Parking Aid that warns of obstacles to the sides of your car, as well as to the front and rear; Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Alert; Pre-Collision Alert with Head-Up Display; and Active City Stop that detects potential collisions and automatically applies the brakes if you do not respond to warnings.

There is also Adaptive Cruise Control technology on board, as is there Lane Keeping Aid, which applies steering torque to bring you back into your lane – and even Traffic Sign Recognition, which provides you with the latest detected speed limit, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the instrument cluster display.

fusion_067w

But it is not just all gadgets and gizmos. The Fusion also comes with a full range of modern turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, something most of the competition don’t offer, rather sticking with old large capacity, naturally aspirated petrol engines and old type gearboxes.

There is a 132kW/240Nm 1.5litre EcoBoost, a 177kW/340Nm 2.0 litre EcoBoost, as well as a high-powered 2.0litre TDCi diesel engine that delivers 132kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

For me the surprise of the trio was the 1.5 litre as it is certainly punched above its weight class.

The 2.0 litre EcoBoost was obviously the most fun and the 2.0 litre TDCI would be my pick for everyday driving, thanks to the spread of torque and the promise of great fuel consumption.

I have to say promise, because unfortunately my personal experience with Ford EcoBoost engines is that they don’t quite get close enough to their claimed fuel consumption figures.

And even on our launch drive this was the case – but I don’t want to shoot down the Fusion on this particular point until I have had the cars to road test and given them a fair and reasonable shot at the truth.

The TDCI comes with a six-speed PowerShift dual clutch automatic gearbox and the two petrol models with a conventional six-speed auto with SelectShift paddle capabilities.

fusion_012

I think in this segment, where long-distance travel mixed with city driving will be the name of the game and not traffic light to traffic light racing, it was the right decision to only offer autos as they do a great job.

The Fusion rides on Ford’s new global CD-segment platform and debuts Ford’s new integral link rear suspension configuration along with reduced weight and greater strength.

And this makes for a sedan that I felt was nice and light and even handled the abuse I threw at it up Bainskloof Pass admirably.

And while on the subject of high speed abuse, the Fusion comes with enhanced MyKey technology that enables you to programme a secondary key to restrict particular vehicle functions.

Usually for younger drivers, MyKey now can inhibit incoming phone calls, as well as restrict the top speed; prevent deactivation of driver assistance and safety features; reduce the maximum volume of the audio system, and disable the system altogether if the driver and passengers are not using safety belts. I feel all cars should come with a feature like this for younger or even newer drivers.

It is fairly difficult to fault the new Ford Fusion, it does what it says it will on the box – and then some – at a very competitive price, and it comes wrapped in a good looking package as an added bonus in what is largely a transport and non-emotional segment of the market.

If I was to say there was a negative in this story, it is the fact that if you want all this class-leading and life-saving technology I have been speaking about, you need to invest in one of the option and /or driver assistance packs that will set you back a further R30 000 when combined together.

The Fusion is well priced in this segment (R349 900 to R449 900), even when you include the packs.

I would have just included all the techno and safety stuff in the price and delivered on the best Ford can offer as default.

Pricing

v 1.5 EcoBoost Trend
Price: R349 900
Option Pack: R26 820
Driver Assistance Pack: R7 270
v 2.0 EcoBoost Trend
Price: R369 900
Option Pack: R24 320
Driver Assistance Pack: R7 270
v 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium
Price: R424 900
Option Pack: R23 200
Sunroof Pack: R6 000
v 2.0 TDCi Titanium
Price: R449 900
Option Pack: R23 200
Sunroof Pack: R6 000