Ford’s Fusion midsize sedan provides roomy seating for five people and offers a selection of model versions that rivals the ice cream aisle at Safeway. There’s the S, SE, Hybrid S, Hybrid SE, Titanium, Hybrid Titanium, Energi SE, Energi Titanium, Sport, Platinum, and Hybrid Platinum.
Fusion Hybrid and Energi models deliver the best mpg numbers whereas my tester, the Fusion Sport, puts the emphasis on power over fuel efficiency. The best combined mileage (city/highway) rating for a gasoline-powered four-cylinder Fusion is 27 mpg. Fusion Hybrid drivers can expect 42 mpg combined, and the fuel efficiency leader is the Energi plug-in hybrid with a combined rating equivalent to 97 mpg.
Conservationist Mary would steer toward the Fusion Energi, while the little but loud Zoom Zealot who lurks in a corner of her heart would plead for the Fusion Sport with its 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
That level of performance is produced by the Fusion Sport’s twin turbo V6 engine, provided it’s plied with 93-octane premium fuel that it will consume at the rate of 26 mpg on the highway, 17 mpg in the city, and 20 mpg combined.
The engine’s collaborator is a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that seem superfluous given the gearbox’s exceptional ability.
The Sport model is rigged out with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Under ordinary circumstances power is routed to the front wheels. When slippage is sensed or the driver is making a forceful acceleration demand, the system delivers extra stability by kicking into all-wheel mode. This as-needed arrangement provides the reassurance of AWD without completely killing the better fuel economy of front-wheel drive.
Structural features related to ride and handling have been engineered to create the preferred experience for sporty driving and to make adjustments for road conditions. Pothole detection is a part of the suspension system, with sensors able to detect the edge of a pothole and make millisecond-changes to reduce the severity of impact. This would have been nice to have back in the day when, on a Snohomish County back street, I blew out a tire on a very expensive luxury sedan after hitting an unavoidable pothole deep enough to stock with fish.
On the practical side, the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport interior is thoughtfully designed to provide lots of stowage space, such as a pass-through compartment beneath the dash, a nearly bottomless bin between the front seats, big wide pockets in the doors, and a giant trunk.
Premium 19-inch painted wheels are standard on the Fusion Sport, and the tester’s exterior was dark Magnetic Metallic. The combination created an aggressive (in a good way) but sophisticated look.
Base price, including destination charge: $34,480
Price as driven: $41,280
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.