I have written about my 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum several times before (here and here). Now that it is has accumulated nearly 40,000 miles and is at the end of its 3-year lease, it seems fitting to check in on it one last time, especially in light of Ford’s recent decision to cancel the Fusion, along with the rest of their sedan lineup. Did Ford make the right choice?
In case you missed it, the two-year only Fusion Platinum (sold in 2017 and 2018) was a model that slotted above the top-of-the-line Fusion Titanium, adding bespoke luxury goodies like genuine wood trim and a leather-trimmed dashboard, along with luxury gadgets borrowed from the MKZ like a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel. It was truly a modern-day LTD.
Let me open by stating that I am no stranger to the Ford CD4 platform (upon which both the Fusion and MKZ are built). Indeed, I would consider myself to be somewhat a CD4 connoisseur (is that even a thing?). Long time readers of my COAL posts may recall that before I picked up my Fusion in 2017, my previous whip was the Fusion’s CD4 platform-mate 2014 Lincoln MKZ, a car that I liked so much that I essentially bought the same car again in 2017 (only in the guise of a Ford instead of a Lincoln, for reasons outlined in my previous posts).
So after driving the Ford CD4 platform for almost as long as it has been offered for sale, and I can confidently say that Ford pretty much perfected the mid-size sedan with this vehicle.
The ride/handling balance is near perfect, despite rolling on 19″ wheels and low profile rubber, and despite having no form of computerized suspension (which I still maintain is unnecessary with a properly tuned suspension). The ride is forgiving, but the handling is crisp. Part of my daily commute goes down a twisting two-lane road featuring corners with sweeping elevation changes, and the fact that I can drive this section of road without having to use the brakes brings me immense joy every day. It is the part of my commute that I look forward to the most.
Some of my taller passengers have complained about the low roofline and lack of headroom. I, however, being five foot nine, don’t mind the low roofline, and in fact like the snug feel and the benefits provided by the accompanying low center of gravity.
I would describe my experience with this car as largely positive. It never once left me stranded, and it cost me almost nothing to operate over the past three years: The only maintenance I had to perform was the requisite fluid and filter changes, along with one set of tires.
After three years, the annoyances remain minor: I could never get the auto-close function on the driver’s door window to work consistently, despite my repeated attempts to “reprogram” it by holding the switch in the up position while closing it. It would work correctly for a while, but eventually it would go back to bouncing open instead of staying shut. The Sony sound system was adequate, but will never be mistaken for a high-end Revel or Mark Levinson setup. My only other complaint was a wind leak from the passenger side door that the dealer was only able to reduce, but never completely quell.
One last nit: I typically prefer cars with black interiors, but the Fusion Platinum was only available with a tan diamond-quilted leather interior with snazzy looking cocoa trim and piping. It has generally held up well, and I appreciated the brief respite from the steady stream of cars with coal bin black interiors that I previously owned. However, this car has reminded me why I usually prefer black interiors. Black scuff marks are visible on the door panel from regular shoe contact, and there is a distinct black discoloration to the driver’s seat as dye from the black leather belts I frequently wear seems to have transferred to the seat. I’ll probably be back in black for my next car’s interior.
Over the course of 38,662 miles, with a mix of about 60% highway/40% city miles, my Fusion consumed exactly 1,625.13 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline, returning an average of 23.79 MPG. Not bad for an all-wheel-drive, mid-sized sedan. This (not surprisingly) closely matches the 23.13 MPG I averaged in my AWD 2014 MKZ, and is considerably better than the 21.50 I averaged over 40,000 miles in my 2011 Buick Lacrosse (which was only front-wheel drive, to boot).
Back to the big picture: It seems unfortunate that the marketplace did not respond to the Fusion as I did. I find it to be better looking than either the Accord or the Malibu, and the Fusion can be had with features not available in many mid-sized sedans, like all-wheel drive and air-conditioned seats (OK, AWD is coming to the Camry in 2020). It is somewhat unfair to lay all the blame for the Fusion’s pending demise at Ford’s feet: The market has spoken, and the market clearly prefers F-150s and Escapes to sedans, even if I personally do not.
Speaking of my next car, I likely will not be getting another CD4 (Fusion or MKZ), even though both are (for now) still offered for sale. After driving essentially the same car for the past six years, I am ready for something different (look for an update coming soon).
As to the question I posed at the beginning of this article: By now it should be clear that I think that Ford discontinuing the Fusion is a mistake, one that will cost them at least one future sale (mine). I realize that this isn’t a QOTD post, but I’m curious to see if anyone else has put off purchasing a new Ford product as a result of their recent sedan-pocalypse.