With all the buzz about the release of Ford’s 2013 Fusion, many people have forgotten about the 2012 model. Between early trade-ins and fleet sell offs there is a good supply of used 2012 Fusions on the market. Having already taken the initial depreciation they can make an excellent buy. As a used car buyer you get the balance of the factory warranty when you purchase the car. In most cases this will be about 2 years or up to 60,000kms or 36,000 miles. With prices starting well below $20,000 used 2012 Ford Fusions are well priced, but the design is getting older. Let’s put the Fusion to the test and find out how it stacks up against newer models like the Kia Optima.
On the inside the Fusion has a rather bland appearance. The materials are of a decent quality, but there is no interesting or unique styling. All the controls are easy enough to use but don’t have a high quality feel to them. If you don’t go for a Fusion equipped with leather, you get a rough cheap feeling fabric. Most Fusions at the SE level and above are equipped with Ford’s SYNC system. While SYNC has an impressive list of features like voice command and smartphone integration, many will find there is a steep learning curve with the system.
Front seat leg room is good while back seat leg room is less than many others in the midsize class such as the Chevrolet Malibu. The Fusion has a very large trunk for a car of its size and it features outside mounted has struts to maximize the amount of cargo room.
On the road the 2012 Fusion is pleasant to drive but not as sporty as a Nissan Altima or Kia Optima. The steering is nice in the sense that it is low effort, but lacks the feedback that some more performance oriented drivers may want. Acceleration from the standard 2.5L 175 horse power 4 cylinder engine is adequate but not especially quick. The 6 speed automatic transmission has habit of holding the gears for too long under acceleration, causing excessive engine noise. Drivers who desire a smoother or sportier drive may want to look at the optional 240 horsepower 3.0L V6 engine.
The suspension is firmer than a lot of other midsize sedans, and this makes for capable handling. While one couldn’t describe the Fusion as being sporty, it does corner remarkably well for a mid-size car. Through the corners there is little body roll and always plenty of grip. The ride is comfortable on all but the roughest roads.
Over its 6 year life cycle, the Fusion has had a good track record for reliability and few recalls. Fuel economy is average for a 4 cylinder midsize sedan.
The bottom line: The outgoing Fusion is not a class leader, but as an under $20,000 used car it represents an excellent value.