by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The second-generation Ford Fusion made its debut as a 2013 model, and the midsize sedan received some significant updates for 2017. Most Fusion models cater to a practical and mainstream market, while the Hybrid and Energi plug-in models target efficiency seekers. Now, though, Ford has added something for those looking for more speed and a bit more excitement than run-of-the-mill sedans offer: the Fusion Sport.
Remember how big of a deal it was when Ford introduced the original Taurus SHO back in 1989? In the ensuing years performance expectations have evolved so dramatically that SHO’s exotic-for-the-time 220-hp dohc V-6 just doesn’t seem particularly special anymore. Consider that these days mainstream Fusions can be equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four that’s good for 245 ponies.
The 2017 Fusion Sport faces this new reality with an “EcoBoost” 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged dohc V-6. It’s good for 325 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque. About the only downside is that you must run 93-octane premium fuel to make those numbers. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission working with a standard all-wheel-drive system.
Engineers have also fitted a retuned suspension backed up with continuously variable dampers that Ford claims allow for real-time suspension tuning. These dampers also deliver a pothole detection capability that uses sensors to identify the edge of a pothole and quickly change the damping rates in an attempt to reduce the severity of the impact. A driver-selectable sport mode tweaks throttle, transmission, and damper settings, and allows for more engine noise to be heard in the interior. Fusion Sport rides on specific 19-inch wheels with a “tarnished dark” finish. All-season rubber comes standard, though summer-only performance tires are optional.
Sport-specific styling touches avoid going full boy-racer. Up front there is a front fascia that has deeper intake openings and a mesh grille finished in glossy black. The rear flashes four exhaust outlets and a decklid spoiler. Inside there’s a leather-trimmed interior with “Miko” suede seat inserts, a black headliner, and some faux-carbon-fiber trim bits.
Base price is $33,605. The $2000 Sport Upgrade Package includes a configurable 4.2-inch LCD display in the instrument cluster, 10-way power adjustable passenger seat, ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, back-up sensors, upgraded Sony-brand audio, and Ford’s SYNC 3 multimedia system. With the Sport Upgrade Package, buyers can also add a $1625 Driver Assist Package that includes automatic high-beam control, blind-spot and lane-keeping alerts, rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, and a 110-volt power outlet. Stand-alone extras include heated and cooled front seats, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and a sunroof.
Motor Trend says “Fusion Sport thrives on speed in a segment that thrives on playing it safe.” MT reported a 0-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds, along with a run of 13.9 seconds at 97.7 mph in the quarter-mile. Car and Driver ran 13.7 at 101 on the strip, but bemoaned lackluster steering and a chunky 4128-pound curb weight. Our office mates at Consumer Guide® appreciate Fusion Sport’s combination of driving excitement and everyday practicality, along with the quiet cabin.
- Twin-turbo 325-horse V-6 and all-wheel drive are included in the base price.
- Surprising speed from an unassuming sedan.
- Comfortable ride and serene interior.
- Sport-sedan enthusiasts may wish that the car weighed less and offered a manual-transmission option.
- Generous application of the options list will push the sticker past $40,000.
- EPA-estimated city fuel economy is only 17 mpg.
The 2017 Fusion Sport could easily be dismissed as just another vanillamobile with black trim, nice wheels, and a rear spoiler. Fortunately that’s not the case with this speedy sleeper. The 325-horsepower twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, continuously adjustable dampers, and standard all-wheel drive work together to provide a combination of comfort and performance that can capture the attention of today’s jaded enthusiasts. It’s hard to say if collectors will seek the Fusion Sport down the road, but today it’s something more than just any old daily driver.