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Ted LaturnusIn 2011, the Ford Fusion came out with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, plus a choice of two V6s and a hybrid. Ford introduced a six-speed transmission the previous year and there was an all-wheel-drive version, so they were covering all the bases.

The all-wheel-drive version was kind of intriguing. It came with the largest engine of the bunch – a 3.5-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. It was the only choice with this model and you had over 260 horsepower at your disposal.

The all-wheel-drive Fusion was the latest in a line of all-wheel sedans that Ford offered as an option – albeit on an irregular basis – going right back to the old Tempo/Topaz line. Fortunately, it fared better than its predecessors.

The downside was that it had inferior fuel economy. It was discontinued after the 2012 model year.

This vintage of the Fusion featured a tastefully revised interior, with available leather upholstery. Equipment level was also upgraded – depending on the model, you could get heated front seats, a sunroof, rearview camera, 18-inch wheels and tires, a blind-spot warning (the same system found in some Volvos), dual zone climate control and Ford’s Sync media system.

With a nifty dash-mounted storage bin, and an abundance of cup-holders and various storage nooks and crannies, this edition of the Fusion was a well-appointed, moderately upscale sedan.

2011 Ford Fusion

The all-wheel-drive Fusion was the latest in a line of all-wheel sedans that Ford offered as an option – albeit on an irregular basis

Ergonomics were also subtly improved from the previous year, with good ingress and egress, and plenty of interior elbow room – all the things buyers of mid-size sedans look for. As far as these models go, the Fusion was no worse than the competition, which included the likes of the Camry, Accord and Malibu.

Click here to downloadThere were three safety recalls from Transport Canada. These included an inability to get the automatic transmission into park due to a defective shift rod, a possible wonky seat recliner mechanism, and optional 17-inch wheels that could fail, come loose due to faulty wheels studs and result in … well, you can imagine.

To this we can add some 23 technical service bulletins from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These ranged from hard starting complaints after refueling, to fluctuating engine idle speeds, to mysterious “electronic noises” emanating from under the dash, to various diagnostic issues. There also seemed to be an abundance of problems with the throttle body fuel injection system, which could fail prematurely.

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Comments from owners:

  • “I spent $250 to clean it (the throttle body) because cleaning is not covered under warranty;”
  • “when the weather gets below freezing, the parking brake freezes;”
  • “transmission slips gears and engages very hard.”

Consumer Reports liked the Fusion, giving it their Good Bet seal of approval. That said, problem areas included the automatic transmission and fuel and electrical systems. The hybrid version fared better than its stablemates, especially the V6/all-wheel-drive models, which seemed to be plagued with various mechanical issues. The four-cylinder models received an average grade.

More comments from owners:

  • “transmission (manual) shot at 112 km;”
  • “sometimes engine turns over, does not start;”
  • “center stack is very poorly designed;”
  • “mileage (hybrid) not as advertised.”

From a base price of about $22,700 in 2010, the Fusion is priced these days in the $5,000-to-$10,000 range, depending on the model and equipment level.

2011 Ford Fusion

Original base price: $22,799
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder and V6
Horsepower: 175  and 240
Torque: 1172 and 249
Transmission: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic continuously variable
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.1 city and 7.3 highway (3.0 litre V6 with automatic transmission), with regular gas
Some alternatives: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, Mazda6, Saturn Aura, Acura TSX, BMW 323i

Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For interview requests, click here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the authors’ alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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