2018 Ford Fusion Review
  • Car Review

2018 Ford Fusion Review

By Autolist Editorial | June 9, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Two hybrid variants with excellent fuel economy.
  • Available V6 engine is powerful.
  • All-wheel-drive is an option.

Cons:

  • Infotainment system needs a refresh.
  • Acceleration is slower in some powertrains.
  • Steering could be refined a little.

Would we buy one? Maybe but there's a lot of competition in this segment.

Vehicle Type: A four-door, five-seat midsize sedan.

Price Range: From $22,995 MSRP to $37,600, including an $875 destination charge.

Powertrain: A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 175 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive.

A turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 178 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, six-speed automatic, and front-wheel-drive.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

A 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine with 325 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, six-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor with a combined system output of 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, with an electric continuously variable automatic transmission (eCVT) and front-wheel-drive.

Competitors: Buick Regal Sportback, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Kia Stinger, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat.

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Overall Score: 7.3/10

Safety Features: 8/10

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2018 Ford Fusion an overall five out of five stars in crash tests, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Fusion a Top Safety Pick and a "Good" rating.

Depending on the trim level, available driver assistance technology features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, parking sensors, automatic high beam control, and hands-free parking assist.


Value: 8/10

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New car shoppers looking for a Ford Fusion for sale will find five trim levels for the 2018 Ford Fusion and two hybrid models. They are the Ford Fusion S, Fusion SE, Fusion Titanium, Ford Fusion Sport, and the Fusion Platinum. A gas-electric hybrid model is available on SE, Titanium, and Platinum models, while the plug-in hybrid is available as the Fusion Energi.

The Fusion S starts at $22,995 MSRP, and the Ford Fusion SE starts at $24,270 MSRP. The Ford Fusion Titanium and Fusion Sport start at around $31,000 MSRP and $34,500 MSRP, respectively, and the Ford Fusion Platinum starts at $37,600 MSRP.

While the Sport offers more power and all-wheel-drive that is uncommon in this class, it makes it an alternative to the more expensive Buick Regal Sportback and Kia Stinger. The Fusion Platinum is lavishly equipped, but it can be optioned close to $40,000, which is far more than a top-line Honda Accord or Kia Optima costs.


Tech Features: 6/10

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The base Fusion S receives a small 4.2-inch display for the audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and keyless entry. SiriusXM satellite radio with a six-speaker audio system starts becoming available on the SE trim.

Beginning with the Titanium trim, an 8-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 infotainment system comes standard. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 12-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and remote start are added. The Fusion Platinum gets a navigation system included standard.

But even the upgraded Sync 3 system is not a class leader in terms of technology. While an improvement over the old MyFord Touch infotainment system, its menus aren't as logically arranged as that on the Buick Regal Sportback and Chevrolet Malibu. Some of the console's physical buttons are also too similar in shape and size to use at a glance.


Practicality: 7/10

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Passengers should have a generous amount of space inside the Fusion, in both the front and rear seats. Front seat passengers will find comfortable seating with good visibility. The digital display in the dash is easy to read, too. It's not as upright as the Subaru Legacy or Volkswagen Passat, but the sloping roofline doesn't make access too tricky.

With 16 cubic feet of cargo space, the Fusion is on par with some rivals and surpasses others with a fair amount of cargo capacity in the trunk. But the plug-in hybrid model loses a chunk of space because of the larger battery pack, significantly reducing practicality.


Styling & Design: 7/10

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After an update for 2017, the 2018 Fusion is mostly unchanged -- and even the update only slightly changed the appearance of this midsize sedan that has been around since 2013. Still, the Fusion is one of the more distinctively designed midsize sedans on the market despite being around in this form for a few years.

The 2018 Fusion Sport trim is an attractive car with its gray painted aluminum alloy wheels and a unique grille. Exterior LED lighting and quad tipped dual exhaust makes the Sport stand out. The Platinum adds upgraded full leather upholstery, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.

But some of the plastics inside the Fusion aren't as refined as those on the Accord or Kia Optima. It's more of a problem on the higher-end models where leather upholstery and other features can't elevate the ambiance. Base models also use cloth upholstery that doesn't feel particularly rich.


Driving Experience: 7/10

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The Ford Fusion has a relaxed suspension that keeps the ride smooth. Steering and handling are crisp and responsive. The Fusion Sport offers a bit more than some rivals in the midsize sedan segment when it comes to performance capabilities.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder standard in the Fusion S and SE trim levels offers a decent driving experience, but it's not as flexible as the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. And even then, it lacks the punch of the larger, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. The turbocharged 2.7-liter V6, however, offers an unexpected level of power in this class. The Fusion has all-wheel-drive (AWD) available for better traction and versatility, while rivals like the Chevy Malibu and Toyota Camry lack this option.

Hybrid models have a reasonable amount of power and smooth operation between the gasoline engine and electric motor. But the continuously variable automatic transmission can sometimes let the engine roar under heavy acceleration, and both models take an acceleration hit compared to the gasoline-only cars.


Fuel Efficiency: 8/10

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According to EPA estimates, the Fusion with the 2.5-liter engine is rated at 21/32/25 MPG city/hwy/combined. Models with the 1.5-liter turbo are rated at 23/34/27 mpg. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with FWD gets 21/32/25 MPG city/hwy/combined, while AWD drops those ratings to 20/29/23. Fuel economy for the 2.7-liter V6 is 17/26/20 MPG city/hwy/combined.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 43/41/42 MPG city/highway/combined according to EPA estimates. And the plug-in Ford Fusion Energi gets 104/91/97 MPGe city/highway/combined.

Rivals like the Chevy Malibu, Kia Optima, and Nissan Altima will have better gas mileage, but the Fusion hybrid models offer good fuel efficiency.


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