2011 Ford Fusion Sport: Mid-Size With a Fun-to-Drive Attitude
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Initially brought out in 2005, Fusion has been a steady upward performer. Currently the No. 5-selling vehicle in America and the third-top-selling passenger car, Fusion was at No. 8 last year and the car keeps moving up the charts. Last year, Fusion received an extensive tweaking, so this year, it gets standard incorporated blind-spot mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and the MyKey system, while the Sport trim gets one-touch up/down front windows, HD radio, additional power adjustments for the front seats and a standard manual-shift feature for the six-speed automatic transmission.
Built at the Ford Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant, the 2011 model also presents more safety, technology and convenience amenities including Ford SYNC® communications and infotainment system coupled with the available touch-screen voice-activated navigation system.
Remaining in its second generation, the Euro-looking 2011 Fusion Sport has the perfect trim name as it IS a sport-oriented mid-size. With an active, upscale demeanor and aerodynamics that help reduce wind noise and improve fuel economy, Fusion’s aggressive grille and athletic-appearing domed hood promote a fun-to-drive attitude.
Adhering to mid-size stature, Fusion comes in at 190.6 inches in length, 56.9 inches in height and 72.2 inches in width on a 107.4-inch wheelbase, with a curb weight of 3591 lbs.
My Blue Flame Metallic test Fusion’s exterior was decked out with integrated spotter mirrors, body-color exterior mirrors, door handles and front and rear bumpers, dark chrome grille, roof-mounted antenna, quad-beam halogen headlamps, fog lamps, parking lamps built-into the headlamps and fascia, taillamps with mesh design, chrome-accented trim, side rocker moldings, dual chrome-tipped exhaust, solar-tinted glass and decklid spoiler and 18-inch 5-spoke painted aluminum wheels covered in P225/45VR18 all-season tires.
One item that differentiates the Sport version from other Fusion trims is its power plant. Fusion muscle on other trims begins with a 2.5-liter I-4 engine producing 175hp and 172 lbs-ft of torque and EPA-estimated at 34mpg highway. Also offered are a Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine producing 240 horsepower and 222 lbs-ft of torque, along with flex-fuel capability, and a hybrid set-up combining a 2.5-liter Atkinson I-4 engine and a permanent magnet electric motor that is good for a net total of 191hp and an EPA rating of 41mpg city and 36mpg highway.
The Sport trim is equipped for maximum performance, with a 3.5-liter Duractec V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The combination gallops out 263 horsepower and 249 lbs-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel and is EPA rated at 18mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. A week of mixed-use driving in the test vehicle yielded an average of 21.1mpg.
Showing surprising zip from a dead stop, my test Fusion Sport sprinted from zero to 60mph in a spirited, torquesteering 6.9 seconds on its way to a valiant 15.5-second quarter-mile on a slightly wet track.
On the highway and on various winding and bumpy roads and courses, my all-wheel-drive Fusion Sport showed some devout oversteer, responsive correction, straight body aim, surface-smoothing suspension and confidence-inspiring grip while humming out a purposeful engine hum and distinguished exhaust reply.
Fusion Sport’s interior was designed with a contemporary appeal that combines sportiness, tech and function, utilizing metallic finishes on the instrument panel that carry through on the jewel-like gauge cluster, the center console, doors and steering wheel. The instrument panel is finished with a soft upper and lower skin, and instrument panel displays and switches glow with a contemporary ice blue lighting.
Fusion is also built for comfort inside with seating for five. The cabin provides 38.7 inches of front headroom with 37.8 inches in row two, legroom of 42.3 and 7.1 and shoulder room of 57.4 and 56.5.
Interior amenities include Sport Blue Premium Leather-trimmed seats with contrast stitching, leather shift knob, 10-way power driver’s seat and 4-way power passenger seat, power driver lumbar, manual climate control, cabin air filter, 6-speaker AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 capability, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, welcome chime, floor mats, top-o-dash storage bin, front center console, power door locks, intermittent speed-sensitive wipers, power windows, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, message center with trip computer and a steering wheel with cruise and redundant audio controls.
Safety is well-addressed with dual front air bags, front seat side airbags, first and second row side air curtains, personal safety system, tire pressure monitoring system, AdvanceTrac with Electronic Stability Control, LATCH, child safety looks on the rear doors, SOS post-crash alert, perimeter alarm and SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, and a compact spare wheel and tire.
The basic Fusion S trim starts at $19,820; the upgraded SEL stickers at $25,045 and my test Focus Sport started at $26,895 for the FWD, while the AWD begins at $28,745. The Moon and Tune 401A Sport package for $995 included a Sony Sound System, 5.1 Surround Sound, 12 high-quality speakers, two subwoofers, 6-disc CD changer and power moonroof. The Reverse Sensing System added $295, remote start increased the total by $345 and destination charges of $760 made for a final sticker price of $31,140.
The 2011 Fusion Sport …it’s a real mover, down the road and up the sales charts.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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