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2012 ford fusion

Although it lacks the visceral driving sensation that manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Acura have, the V6 Fusion can handle itself well

Ted LaturnusIn 2012, the Ford Fusion was two years into a mild makeover and a revised drivetrain. You could get it with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, plus a choice of two V6s and a hybrid.

Ford also introduced a new six-speed transmission the year before and there was an all-wheel-drive version, so they were covering all the bases.

The all-wheel-drive version came with the largest engine of the bunch – a 3.5-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic, and you had over 260 horsepower at your disposal.

The all-wheel-drive Fusion was the latest in a line of all-wheel-drive sedans Ford offered as an option going back to the old Tempo/Topaz line. It was discontinued at the end of this model year.

The 2012 Fusion features a tasteful interior with available leather upholstery. Equipment level is also upgraded: depending on the model, you can get heated front seats, a sunroof, rearview camera, 18-inch wheels and tires, 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 abundance of cup-holders and various storage nooks and crannies, this edition of the Fusion is a well-appointed, moderately upscale sedan.

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Although it lacks the seat-of-the-pants, visceral driving sensation that manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Acura and so on seem to build in so effortlessly, the V6 Fusion can handle itself reasonably well. It’s still a little too cumbersome to be taken seriously as a sport sedan but more than enough for most buyers in this segment of the market.

Like most cars in this market, the 2012 Fusion offers 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 is no worse than the competition, which includes the likes of the Camry, Accord and Malibu.

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

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

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.”

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

More comments from owners:

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

From a base price of about $22,700 in 2010, the Fusion has held up reasonably well. Base S models are down around the $10,000 range, while the top-of-the-line SEL is several thousand more. The V6-equipped all-wheel-drive models are valued at slightly more than their front-wheel-drive counterparts, and the hybrid version is in the low teens neighbourhood if you can find one.

2012 Ford Fusion

Original base price: $22,799
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder and 3.0- or 3.5-litre V6
Transmission: Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.1 city and 7.3  highway, with the 3.0-litre V6 with automatic transmission and regular gas
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.

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