Sport Model Boosts Fusion’s Mid-Cycle Makeover

Ford gives its Fusion midsize model a big power boost for ’17, offering a 2.7L twin-turbo V-6 in the new Sport.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

January 11, 2016

3 Min Read
Fusion line adds twinturbo Sport model with exclusive 19in wheels for rsquo17
Fusion line adds twin-turbo Sport model with exclusive 19-in. wheels for ’17.

DETROIT – Ford adds a powerful performance Sport model to its Fusion lineup as part of a significant mid-cycle refresh that includes an interior makeover and new front and rear fascias.

Fusion Marketing Manager Wade Jackson says that while the Fusion still trails the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry in the market, it has doubled sales since its introduction a decade ago, topping 300,000 units in 2015, putting it in the top 10 in U.S. sales.

The Fusion is now in its second generation following a ground-up redesign for the ’13 model year that put the car on Ford’s global midsize CD4 platform. The next generation is due in the ’19 model year.

To a lineup that already includes two hybrid variants and two EcoBoost turbo engines Ford juices the Fusion with a 2.7L, 325-hp, 350-lb-ft (475-Nm) twin-turbo Sport model that Chief Engineer Bill Strickland proclaims “out-powers the BMW 340i – for a lot less money.” The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and comes exclusively with AWD.

Ford says it chose “Sport” rather an “ST” branding for the new model in keeping with customer desires for “a performance-enthusiast car, but not a track car,” says Strickland.

Customer preferences also drove the decision to offer a high-end Platinum model as well as making the luxury trim package optional on all models except the new Sport, which gets its own exclusive interior treatment. “People are coming out of higher-end premium vehicles and they are expecting a more premium interior,” Strickland says.

The Hybrid and Energi PHEV models get software updates and more efficient electric motors that Kevin Layden, director-electrified powertrain operations, says should improve real-world fuel economy and, in the case of the PHEV, all-electric driving range. Ford is making the improvements even though the changes may not affect final EPA mileage ratings, Layden says.

Interior Redesign Centers on ‘Manhattan Space’

Besides the available Platinum trim, a major makeover of the interior centers on swapping out the standard console shift lever for a rotary dial and replacing the emergency-brake lever with an electronically actuated lever, freeing up valuable “Manhattan space” in the center console, says Marcy Fisher, vehicle line director. The redesign results in increased storage, better cupholder placement and repositioned and illuminated USB ports for easier access.

In the Sport, the rotary shifter comes with a sport mode that adjusts suspension, transmission, engine and steering response, activates steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and cuts active noise cancelation to allow more engine and exhaust sounds into the cabin.

Exterior updates include new front and rear fascias, with emphasis on creating a wider and more planted appearance with a larger front grille and a rear chrome accent. LED lighting front and rear also is new.

Technology abounds, from the Sync 3 and Sync Connect interface to optional adaptive cruise control with full stop and start capability. Other high-tech features include lane-keeping assistance, enhanced parking assistance and automatic braking with pedestrian detection capability. Rear seats are fitted with inflatable shoulder belts to reduce chest injuries in collisions.

Finally, auto stop-start is now standard on models with the 1.5L turbo engine and hybrids.

The ’17 Fusion goes on sale this summer starting at $22,995 for the base S model and topping out at $41,995 for the Platinum Energi PHEV. The new Sport starts at $34,350. All prices include an $875 delivery charge.

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About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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