News
0 Comment

Second-hand: 2006-2007 Ford Fusion

No question the Ford-Mazda partnership has been mutually beneficial. The best part is the fusion of import-car quality with a domestic nameplate means used-car shoppers can take advantage of favourable depreciation.

  • The image of cars on a parking

When Mazda bet the farm in the early 1970s on the Wankel rotary engine ‘ a gas guzzler that arrived just in time for the oil crisis ‘ Ford came to the Japanese automaker’s rescue by buying a stake in it.

Mazda returned the favour more recently by supplying Ford with the small-car platforms it needed to retool for a new world order not ruled by hulking sport-utilities.

The new-for-2006 Ford Fusion was a case in point. It was based on the CD3 platform developed by Mazda and debuted under the Mazda6 in 2003. Slotted between the compact Focus and the full-size (and slow-selling) Five Hundred, the four-door-only Fusion was the long overdue replacement for the greying Taurus, filling a yawning gap in Ford’s product line.

Other vehicles that adopted the front- and all-wheel-drive chassis included the Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ sedan, and Mazda CX-9, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers. Ford spent just $1 billion (U.S.) developing the CD3 models – a screaming bargain these days.

CONFIGURATION

As in the Mazda6 and Honda Accord, the Fusion’s front suspension used control arms and the rear used a multi-link setup for better handling. The unit body featured rubber-isolated subframes front and rear. Disc brakes were standard at all four corners, but antilock control was optional.

Inside, the Fusion benefitted from the same tasteful styling and tight tolerances first seen in the new-generation Ford F-series pickups. An ideal driving position was always at hand, thanks to a tilting and telescoping steering column and height-adjustable seat, all standard.

One faux pas: the car’s heating and air-conditioning controls were mounted too low on the centre stack, drawing too much of the driver’s attention from the road.

Some owners found evidence of cost-cutting. One blogger suggested the instrument lighting had been recycled: “Ford continues to use the ugly green car stereo displays that are the same as my wife’s old Tempo.”

Front and rear seating was ample for five, although headroom with the optional sunroof was a little restrictive. Split-folding rear seats were standard, expanding what was already generous trunk capacity.

Power came from Mazda’s DOHC 2.3 L four, good for 160 hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque. Optional was Ford’s Duratec DOHC 3.0 L V6, with 221 hp and 205 lb.-ft. of grunt.

The four-banger came with a five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. The V6 came only with a six-speed automatic – one cog more than competing vehicles offered at the time.

For 2007, SE and SEL models could be ordered with optional all-wheel drive. Seat-mounted airbags and curtain airbags became standard on all models. Several technology features arrived for 2008, including rear-obstacle detection.

ON THE ROAD

The Fusion impresses with its stability and control. It feels like a heavier car than it is.

Zero-to-96 km/h comes up in 8.1 seconds in the four-cylinder model (with a manual tranny), while the V6 can pull the Fusion to highway velocity in 7.4 seconds – a tick slower than the V6-powered Accord and Hyundai Sonata.

Braking from 112 km/h takes a reasonable 53 metres to come to a standstill. Road grip is exemplary at 0.83 g with the 17-inch wheels.

Some owners disliked the Fusion’s wide turning radius. Complaints also were made about road noise from a variety of sources, particularly tire impacts and thrum.

WHAT OWNERS REPORTED

While the Mexican-built Fusion has only been around for four years, it’s already earned a following.

“Short of adding gas and oil changes, it’s been very reliable,” reader Rick Menassa writes of his 2007 Fusion SEL (64,000 km with no warranty claims).

Many owners have posted glowing endorsements on the Internet. On Edmunds.com, the 2006 and ’07 Fusion earned a 9.2 rating out of 10 by owners – a lofty score equal to that of the Accord.

Fusion faults are few to date.

Some owners point to short-lived factory tires, door handles that break easily and interior rattles. Steering fluid may leak from the rack-and-pinion unit at the banjo bolt (an improved bolt is available).

No question the Ford-Mazda partnership has been mutually beneficial. The best part is the fusion of import-car quality with a domestic nameplate means used-car shoppers can take advantage of favourable depreciation.

We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Kia Sportage, Audi A3 and Chevrolet Uplander/Pontiac SV6. Email: toljagic@ca.inter.net.

Follow Wheels.ca on
Facebook
Instagram #wheelsca
Twitter

Show Comments