When taking work trips I often get rental cars. This car did not come from a work trip but was attached to the tail end of one. I rented it personally to visit family while getting a free ride, through work, to the east coast. Previously I had a 2017 Nissan Sentra, compliments of the company, which you can read about here.
It was rainy and cold as I drove to the airport to swap vehicles. The always incompetent Newport News Enterprise rental desk didn’t have the compact I had reserved. They tried to stick me with a neon mucus 2017 Kia Rio at the same prepaid price for the compact. Puffing out my chest and beating it like Kong, figuratively, I rejected this and instead got a free upgrade. An almost new Shadow Black 2017 Ford Fusion. Anything, even the Rio, would have been better than the certifiably horrid Sentra but I was pleased. I’m not sure what exotic metal named trim the vehicle was, Titanium, Platinum, Adimantium, Unobtanium, etc but I settled in for my six hour drive northward.
The Fusion was well equipped as is typical of how mid-sized rentals go. Leather heated seats and other creature comforts your find standard on Volkswagens. To call this car midsize is an understatement. It reminded me of my 1995 Pontiac Bonneville which was, at the time of production, considered a full size vehicle. This sucker was the definition of a big American sedan, something that is becoming more and more rare on our highways. But that doesn’t mean it acted like a big American sedan. This thing hard enough European flair to work at Chotchkies.
Handling was crisp when needed and the engine had pep, like a chihuahua on steroids. A roided out chihuahua… a chiroiduahua if you will. Rated at 245 horsepower, the turbocharged 2.0 EcoBoost could peel some well-mannered rubber if convinced to do so. The throttle was responsive and the select-a-shift option is always welcome. The paddle shifters on the wheel were an enjoyable oddity but as with most non-supercars they move with the wheel making it more appropriate to use gear lever unless you are drag racing. Something I would never even think about doing in a car that wasn’t mine.
The interior quality was what I expected from a higher optioned midsize car. It uses Fords current interior design language that I’ve never been super keen on. It’s a mesh of retro-futuristic angles with a copious amount of silver plastic cut at angles that are supposed to look “fast and streamlined” but lean more towards “impaling and stabby.” The dash is high and wraps around giving the interior an almost claustrophobic feel. The center console runs high as well which, resulting in a great amount of storage and utility but adding to that cooped-up put the lotion in the basket feel.
Braking and handling were both precise and balanced. It never felt like the car was running away under heavy braking. Through the corners, for a family sedan, this Aston Martin doppleganger was a dream.
Overall I very much enjoyed the Fusion. It looks good. And why wouldn’t it, Ford ripped the design right from Aston Martin. The interior, despite my criticism against the design, was well laid out, of higher quality and quite useful. The handling, ride and responsiveness was dead on for newer generation Fords.
My only real complaint… the only one is the steering wheel.
Yes the steering wheel. Well, not the steering wheel itself but the directional buttons on either side of the center. Like the rest of the interior it’s all very slanty but without adding a ridge at the top your fingers tend to slide off when you apply pressure. I mean, really Ford? Get your shit together!
Honestly, if you are looking at a Camry or Accord… test drive one of these. They look better and not everyone has one. Unless you want to be one of the sheeple.