The 2017 Ford Fusion has gone through a significant fine-tuning of late; and getting right to it, the interior control area has really been cleaned up, with a new rotary shifter, freeing up lots of space in the console.
Fusion also gains a new high end Platinum trim, boasting more luxury touches than ever before. But even better news, if you’re a fan of actually driving like we are, is the new Fusion Sport.
It adopts the Edge Sport’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost; putting out 325-horsepower and a very beefy 380 lb-ft. of torque. A new 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift is included, and all-wheel-drive is standard.
Basic suspension hardware is thoroughly addressed with stiffer springs, bigger anti-roll bars, and wider 235/40 Good Year Eagle F1 tires on 19-inch dark-finished alloys. Summer-only tires are also available.
But, it is the solenoid valve controlled continuous damping system we applaud most, a first for this segment, with pothole detection that instantly adjusts fluid flow to minimize impact. It provided a notably smoother ride than typical for an affordable four-door.
When Sport mode is dialed up reaction becomes more aggressive. It also tweaks steering feel, transmission shifts, throttle response, and even exhaust note. We liked it so much we recommend leaving it in Sport mode all the time.
As for how this Fusion improves your driveway’s style; the Sport does away with the typical Fusion Aston Martin-inspired grille; and in its place is a glossy black mesh number. Just part of a whole new front fascia that has a much snarlier look.
In back there are quad exhaust outlets and of course a spoiler across the deck lid.
For you to enjoy inside, are upgraded sport seats with sueded inserts; and carbon fiber-like trim.
Our street driving impressions are quite favorable, as there is certainly less roll here than we’ve encountered in any Fusion prior to this.
And at our track test, those good vibes were confirmed; as the Fusion Sport is easily a top handler in its segment. With the exception of the Dodge Charger Hellcat, this is the American sport sedan that we’d prefer to park our butts in right now.
But, it’s not yet a threat to German dominance. While Fusion Sport’s all-wheel-drive system is highly effective at rotating you around corners, you can really feel it working a little too much; it’s not a seamless Porsche-like system. Still, it does close the capability gap more than a little.
And, the Sport is quick off the line for sure, getting us to 60 in 5.3-seconds. There’s an exhilarating amount of low end torque at launch, and it just keeps getting poured on from there.
Shifts were Jaguar-like in their speed and smoothness, and we cleared the ¼-mile in 13.9-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour.
Possibly our biggest complaint is the sound of the car. There’s plenty of it in the cabin, which is not a bad thing; it’s just a very obviously synthesized sound being pumped into the cabin.
Brakes, with an only-reasonable average stopping distance of 120-feet, are another reminder that this is still a 2-ton family car at heart.
One final update for ’17 Fusions, upgraded safety systems including autonomous braking. The system provided plenty of early warnings, but actual brake application was a little inconsistent; sometimes bringing us to a full-stop against our barrier, and sometimes not.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 17-City, 26-Highway, and 20-Combined; so our average of 24.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular was quite good. With a fairly average Energy Impact Score of 16.5-barrels of oil use, along with 7.3-tons of CO2 emissions, annually.
Base pricing, at $34,350, is about 10-grand over a base Fusion; but it’s hardly worth comparing the two as they are really totally different cars.
We’ve recently praised a fair number of new mid-size family sedans for their improved driving competency. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport goes the furthest yet, without leaving affordability and practicality on the table.
Indeed, the Fusion Sport raises the performance bar for mainstream four-doors to almost European Luxury-Sport levels. That’s high praise, and why we recommend anyone still “car” shopping, to give it a very close look.
- Engine: 2.7 liter
- Horsepower: 325
- Torque: 380 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 99 mph
- EPA: 17 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.3 tons/yr
Back to listNext Story
Good-bye Sedan, Hello Spicier Hatchback
The compact Subaru Impreza has been the basis for so many spectacular Subaru offerings over the years. From the WRX STIs to the XV Crosstreks. Indeed, it’s easy to forget just how fun and practical the standard Impreza can be. Well, an all-new 6th generation Impreza has just arrived, so let’s have some fun getting back to basics.
We may be talking back to basics here, but it’s clear that Subaru is on a mission to inject more excitement into the humble Impreza. So much so, not only is Impreza all-new for 2024, but they’ve added this sporty RS trim.
RS comes with a 2.5-liter boxer-4 engine rated at 182-horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque; same engine that we recently sampled in the new Crosstrek. Standard Impreza power comes from a smaller 152-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer-4. Both work with CVT only, all but base trim getting steering wheel paddles to select from 8 simulated gear ratios.
In a move not totally unexpected, no more manual transmission, and the Impreza is no longer available as a 4-door sedan; 5-door hatchback only now, with just about every dimension, including ground clearance, length, and wheelbase, exactly the same as last year, just slightly taller than before.
Due to interior repackaging, cargo space is actually down a tiny bit, from 20.8 to 20.4 cubic-ft, but the seats folded max is up slightly to 56.0 cubic-ft; and as in the Crosstrek, they’ve integrated a handy step into the rear seat area to aid in loading things onto the roof, and provided a place for you to stash your giant water bottle.
RS trim adds dark gray 18-inch alloy wheels, black accents, and upgraded LED headlights outside…
…and for the inside, gunmetal and carbon-fiber style trim, 2-tone sport seats, alloy pedals, color stitching, and an all-weather package, plus the option to add a 10-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system.
Layout, space, and even the look of the interior is not that much different from last year; biggest departure being the center stack where you’ll find Subaru’s 11.6-inch Starlink multimedia touchscreen with wireless connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are actual volume and tuning knobs too, along with hard buttons for adjusting interior temperature; with remaining functions carried out on the touchscreen. Base Imprezas get 2 smaller 7.0-inch screens, the top one for phone and audio, with the lower screen handling climate and vehicle settings. Gauges remain refreshingly simple with analog dials and real needles, with a small 4.2-inch LCD screen for additional information in between.
But, there are bigger changes, and while you may not see them, you do feel them. The Impreza’s structure has been greatly stiffened. This is now one solid Impreza on the road, and it really boosted track handling too, as we found out in our Mason Dixon session.
Our Impreza RS behaved like it was glued to the tarmac in almost go-kart like fashion. The RS suspension tuning is very firm, with great feedback, and very little body roll. We were whipping in and out of turns at high speeds in no time, with only minor amounts of understeer at its limits.
For acceleration, a healthy jolt of power off the line got our hopes up, but then the Impreza quickly settles down into CVT lethargy, and a leisurely 8.1-second pace to 60, and on to the end of the 1/4-mile, finishing in 16.2-seconds at 88 miles-per-hour. The brakes also were not particularly sporty, taking us a longer than expected 127-feet to stop from 60, with little pedal feel.
While Subaru certainly isn’t treading down the near luxury path of, say, Mazda, they have made the Impreza a tad quieter inside, as well as smoothed out the operation of the CVT.
The Impreza also continues to deliver lots of value and standard equipment, with all-wheel drive, steering responsive LED headlights, and even dual zone climate all standard. And of course, safety is not optional, as all Imprezas get EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, though Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Automatic Emergency Steering are exclusive to RS.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the 2.5-liter are 26-City, 33-Highway, and 29-Combined; we averaged a good 30.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. That’s a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score, using 10.3-barrels of oil and emitting 5.1 tons of CO2 yearly.
Base pricing starts at $24,085 with midlevel Sport starting at $26,085, and top RS at only $28,975.
The Impreza platform has indeed spawned some rather fun and exciting cars over the years, but the basic Impreza itself has always offered tremendous bang-for-the buck, not to mention being one of the least expensive gateways to all-wheel drive. And it looks like the all-new 2024 Subaru Impreza offers the best of both worlds, staying true to its value-minded roots, while offering up a splash of RS excitement that should not be overlooked.
- Engine: 2.5-liter boxer-4
- Horsepower: 182
- 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 127 feet (avg.)
- Transmission: CVT
- Torque: 178 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 16.2 seconds at 88 mph
- EPA: 26 City / 33 Highway / 29 Combined
Back to listNext Story