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2017 Ford Fusion Overview
Ford is surely desperate to see its updated 2017 Fusion catch up with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry--in sales, that is. Because one thing is certain: the all-new Ford Fusion Sport, with its new 2.7-liter V6 turbocharged engine, will be able to catch any Camry or Accord it finds on the road.
The Fusion will receive significant updates and improvements for 2017. The outgoing generation is no slouch, of course, so the new car will have to be cutting-edge. To this end, it sports a new look, an all-new generation of Sync infotainment technology, and the new V6 engine, and it will retain the broad trim portfolio that offers something to suit virtually every type of midsize sedan shopper.
Outside, the 2017 Ford Fusion’s changes are most notable from the front. The adjusted oval grille shows off a new attitude, and the sides now have distinctive corners. At one time, the Ford grille was compared to Aston Martin, but today the look is all Fusion. Ford is also updating the Fusion’s lighting to include optional LED headlamps. Viewed from its other angles, however, the 2017 model looks like its prior generation, which is a good thing.
Inside, the changes to the new Fusion are more significant. Drivers will first notice the new center console, and they'll then likely notice the gear-shift lever has been replaced with a rotary knob. Our experience with such gear selectors is that they seem odd at first but tend to grow on you. Rotary selectors also free up space and leave room for better cupholders, cell-phone cradles, and the like. There is no manual transmission offered in the Fusion, so the knob design will work in all trims. Unlike most new cars, the Fusion places the speedometer in the center of the gauge area with a small information screen on either side. If there is one word to describe the overall feel of the dash, it might be “clean.” The center infotainment system features a single large volume button mounted below the screen in the middle of the dash, and Ford deserves credit for keeping that volume knob while pushing the boundaries of modern design with the infotainment system itself.
The 2017 Fusion also features Sync 3, a new generation of the company’s signature infotainment technology. Unlike some, we found the outgoing Sync easy to use, but Ford promises the new generation will be even more intuitive. Both the hardware and software have been updated, so this is no small refresh. The main screen is more logically laid out and can be swiped or pinched to change its content and look, much like how you operate a smartphone or tablet. Ford also promises that the system is much faster, and that its enhanced voice recognition allows for hands-free phone use.
The 2017 Fusion comes in many different trims and spans many price points and niches. The big news for 2017 is the new Sport trim and its 2.7-liter V6 turbocharged engine. Producing 325 hp and an insane 350 lb-ft of torque (available at very low RPMs), the only problem this trim might have had was putting all that engine power to the ground. But Ford knows a thing or two about that particular concern, and it solved it in the Focus Sport by adding standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a 6-speed automatic transmission. We have driven this Ford drivetrain in the Edge Sport, and in that heavier vehicle it simply rocked. The new Sport goes way beyond the Accord, Camry, and Altima V6 trims, at least in terms of performance, and will be as fast as a BMW 3 Series or Lexus IS while costing dramatically less. Ford had stepped back from offering V6 engines in the Fusion, so enthusiasts in need of a family sedan will be thrilled to have them back.
At the top of the 2017 Fusion lineup will be the Titanium. Expect standard leather seats, standard Sync 3, and plenty of luxury amenities. The Platinum is next down from the top and will probably be more value-oriented. The SE may now be the base trim. In addition to the very powerful 2.7-liter turbo, Ford's excellent 2.0-liter 240-hp 4-cylinder turbo will be standard on the Platinum and Titanium and optional on the SE. The standard SE engine is a 1.5-liter turbo with 180 hp and featuring stop/start technology to save gas. The Fusion Hybrid also returns, though with no changes to its drivetrain from previous years. Ford’s Plug-in Fusion Energi will return as well, and will be covered here as a separate model.
Safety is important to all sedan shoppers, and the Fusion is in need of a better score on its small frontal overlap crash test. Its peers all score Good, and the 2016 Fusion's score of Acceptable is just not up to par. But we expect Ford to make some changes to the model and retest it soon, and its updated forward-collision prevention package may also help it earn a better safety score.
The 2017 Ford Fusion will start at about $24,000, with the Sport and Titanium trims approaching $37,000. Look for the updated 2017 Fusion to appear soon, with the new Sport following in the summer of 2016.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.
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