2014 Ford Fusion


2014 Ford Fusion SE
$23,935 base MRSP
22/34 MPG (advertised)
xxxTBD MPG (real-world, over a week of driving)

Overall Impressions:

Interestingly, I’m now driving my second Ford Fusion–and as before I’m driving it back-to-back vs. a Hyundai Sonata. Last time I drove the Ford first. This time I drove the Hyundai first, and frankly it’s been an interesting comparison, and frankly the Hyundai is the better car (as much as I hate to say that Ford).

As before, I’ll amend my last review and add new comments as appropriate, but I can already tell you I miss last week’s Hyundai.

Now, as I said in my last review of the Fusion, I always liked the way the Fusion looked. It’s a nice design, and the Fusion doesn’t strike me as looking like everything else on the road (one of the complaints I have with the Sonata’s styling). The Fusion looks the part.

But after that, it falls short–there’s no substance there. The Fusion is just a pretty face on an uninspired chassis. Such a pity.

Last time I asked myself if I would I buy one? And I thought it’d be a tough choice as the Fusion just isn’t compelling.

This time, it’s an easy choice–I’d buy the Hyundai.

TMS (Tall Man’s Score): B-

Headroom: B

Headroom was acceptable with the seat down. But to make the seat comfortable (and so you didn’t feel like you were sitting in a bucket) you had to raise the seat. Consequently, you lose the headroom you could have had. What were you thinking Ford?

As I re-read the last review’s comments above, I remember thinking this morning as I got in the Fusion “It’s like I’m sitting in a trashcan”–very uncomfortable, but that’s needed here in order to get sufficient headroom.

Dropping the score a bit because of this–it would be really hard to live with over the long term.

Mirror Location: A-

The mirror location was acceptable. But again because you have to raise the seat to be comfortable, it brings the mirror into your line of vision.

Headrest: B+

I didn’t feel as if the headrest was as bad this time. Still only a B+ though, as you know it’s “there”.

Legroom: D

Good legroom–but–there is a huge “bump” in the floorboard by the seat. What this means is that you can’t pull you leg back for a rest without it hitting that bump.

Above are my comments from the last review, and today I also noticed that “bump” in the floorboard. It really is that intrusive into your experience.

Just a bad design choice.

Seat Comfort: D+

The seats are schizophrenic. If you have them adjusted so they’re reasonably comfortable, you bring the mirror into play, and lose headroom.

If you adjust them for visibility, they become quite uncomfortable.

And that lumbar support is way too low–again, probably a perfect position if you’re 5′ 6″ but for someone over six foot the lumbar support is a pain in the back.

Again, I’m sticking to my comments from last time, and once again I noticed how bad the lumbar support is–it pokes you in just the “wrong” place (and consequently you can’t use it at all).

Why manufacturers don’t make the lumbar support able to move vertically as well as horizontally is beyond me–it’s a simple fix.

 Vehicle Review

Engine: D+

It’s borderline. Just not enough power to be comfortable. Maybe hampered a bit by a slow-shifting transmission, but my gut says they put in an anemic engine to try and get better fuel mileage.

Unfortunate, as a better engine/tranny would really make this car shine.

I was too kind last time (above). Compared to the Sonata this thing is a slow pig. Awful. A car for soccer moms and secretaries (but not for anyone that might enjoy driving).

Transmission: D

Slow shifting, and felt sluggish and mushy, with manual shift was via a button on the stalk (Ford didn’t even think about anyone wanting to use manual mode–having a button there is just an afterthought, as so the marketing guys can say “yeah, we have it”–but it’s awful. Really.)

Other sedans have better trannys, some even with paddle shifters (as much as I hate those, at least those offering them are making an attempt at appearing sporty).

Such a disappointment.

Interior: B-

Clean interior, and nice looking.

Controls were mostly manual, but there are a lot of separate buttons, with no tactile way to tell them apart.

What this means is that you have to take your eyes off the road to change functions (not a good thing). This is one of my pet peeves with respect to automotive safety.

Center console has a strange configuration. Nice deep cubbyhole for your “stuff” but they left the sides open (presumably for “style”) but it allows your stuff to fall out the sides into the footwells.

Maybe I was a bit too harsh here–upgrading this score. I like the Ford interior a bit more (although I still don’t like the non-tactile buttons). Still, the interior feels more elegant and refined than the Sonata’s.

Visibility: C-

Decent visibility, but hurt by those huge A pillars–again, they’re there for “safety” but they compromise visibility, which is a larger safety issue.

I suppose when you get in an accident because you didn’t see another vehicle because of the A pillars that they’ll protect you in the subsequent roll-over…but wouldn’t it be better to have avoided the accident in the first place?

And as with most cars today, fuel mileage has made the extremely low nose “fashionable” and consequently you have no idea where the front of the car is, and “park by feel” is the ultimate result.

(Note to self: Don’t park any classic cars in front of a Ford Fusion, as that driver will be sure to bump you on their way out of the parking spot!)

Once again, my previous comments stand–those A pillars are awful. I notice them every time I get in the car, and frankly I do think they are unsafe.

Ford–you’ve got more homework to do.

Electronics: C

Again, basic transportation. No digital touchscreen. No backup camera.

And too many buttons and having to look down from the road.

Utility: B

Basic transportation. Nothing more, no matter how nice the car looks.

Appearance: A

I have to say I love the look (especially the nose) of this car. Very nice design.

I still like the way this car looks. But other than that, it’s truly a disappointment.

 Miscellaneous Musings:

Unfortunate that this the car’s best feature is it’s appearance. No doubt it’ll sell because of it, but I suspect that buyers will soon move on to something else as there really isn’t much more to this car than a “pretty face”.

My previous comments are spot on. And I  have to say that I’m even more disappointed with this car the second time around. It truly was a car that could have been great. Maybe the demographics are targeted elsewhere, but for me the car epitomizes everything that is wrong with cars today–slow, sluggish, unrefined drivetrain, lacking in comfort–but cloaked in a pretty shell, and with a nice stereo and some electronics to keep the younger crowd happy.

But there’s no substance there–nothing. I really want to like this car, but the Sonata is better in almost every way.


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