RAC

Ford Fusion 1.6

"Whereas the Focus shouts thirtysomething, the Fusion is definitely twentysomething'."

There's nothing new in any of this of course. Toyota likes to think that it effectively invented this concept with the Yaris Verso, but truth be told, other Japanese models like Mitsubishi's Space Star and Suzuki's Wagon R+ were offering much the same sort of thing for longer. The Fusion however, represented the first real European attempt at this sector. It's a very good effort too - as you'd expect from something Fiesta-based - and is reasonably priced. We're looking at the 1.6-litre petrol version here, an engine which powers the Zetec variant, though you can also order it in plusher Titanium guise. Despite appearances, the Fusion isn't really a go-anywhere vehicle and you can't have one with four-wheel drive. Built on the same front-driven underpinnings as the Fiesta, its rugged looks are purely for the urban jungle. The 1.6-litre version we're looking at here looks set to be a big seller, even if it does represent the apex of the Fusion range. Running head-on into 'lifestyle' rivals such as the Vauxhall Meriva, the Fusion 1.6 brings to the party a 99bhp engine that's good enough to propel it to 60mph in 10.6 seconds en route to a top speed of 111mph. It's a very willing powerplant, if a little vocal at the top end of the rev range and given that maximum power is generated at a nosebleed 6000rpm, it responds well to a heavy right foot. Driven in a more genteel manner, the Fusion 1.6 will return an average of 43mpg. There's a 422 mile fuel tank range and emissions are an acceptable 157g/km.

Anything based on a Fiesta chassis is guaranteed to be a sharp drive and the Fusion is no exception. The higher centre of gravity does give rise to a greater degree of lateral rock and roll over severe surface imperfections, but it's still tightly nailed down and can corner with elan. The steering is surprisingly hefty but is a little dead either side of straight ahead, one of the few criticisms that can be levelled at a car that otherwise barely puts a foot wrong. The Fusion has lately been revised, with restyling for the bumpers and grille, revised headlamps and tail lamps, thicker body side mouldings and body coloured handles and mirrors on selected models. Inside, a redesign concentrates on improving the feeling of quality and space. Highlights include a smarter fascia with easier to read instruments and a soft-feel upper section to the instrument panel. It's certainly a big improvement on the cheap-feeling plastic of the original model. For something aimed so deliberately at the young and image-conscious, the Fusion pays more than mere lip service to mundane criteria like practicality and comfort. There's masses of passenger space with a roof that's almost gratuitously high, giving an overall impression of airy expanse. Ford seem to have missed a trick in not building in more MPV-style tricks however, the fixed airline-style table on the folded front passenger seat back being about the only nod in this direction. The rear seats neither slide, swivel nor detach and the boot lacks hooks or a two-piece tailgate. Still, the car can carry an impressive 337 litres and comes equipped with a cargo net and split/fold rear seats, so it gets most of the basics right. That theme carries on throughout the cabin, which is functional, workmanlike but not endowed with any great flair. The driving position is higher than you'd find in a Fiesta and it's longer but slightly narrower too. The bumpers and rubbing strips followed intensive research into how cars become damaged in the urban environment. Should you contrive to take the car's name somewhat literally and meld it with something else, it's good to know that you've an Intelligent Protection System that will intervene with dual stage front air bags that sense the type and severity of the impact. Side airbags are available for front seat passengers and optional curtain bags provide side-impact head protection. All five occupants get three-point seat belts and Ford have created a body structure that minimises footwell intrusion in the event of an accident. Maybe the Fusion is cleverer than we at first thought. In providing Fiesta style appeal for those that have grown out of a supermini yet aren't prepared to accept a Focus, it opens a whole raft of possibilities.

Facts at a Glance

Facts At A Glance CAR: Ford Fusion 1.6 PRICES: £14,195-£14,795 - on the road INSURANCE GROUP: 6-7 CO2 EMISSIONS: 157g/km PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 10.6s / Max Speed 111mph FUEL CONSUMPTION: (urban) 31mpg / (extra urban) 54.3mpg / (combined) 43mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front and side airbags WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height 4020/1708/1503mm

You won't see the phrase 'Supermini-MPV' in any of the literature promoting Ford's Fusion - but that's essentially what it is. A conventional supermini - in this case based on the previous generation Fiesta - with a dash of extra versatility. It's a very good effort too - as you'd expect from something Fiesta-based - and is reasonably priced. We're looking at the 1.6-litre petrol version here, an engine which powers the Zetec variant, though you can also order it in plusher Titanium guise. Despite appearances, the Fusion isn't really a go-anywhere vehicle and you can't have one with four-wheel drive. Built on the same front-driven underpinnings as the Fiesta, its rugged looks are purely for the urban jungle. The 1.6-litre version we're looking at here looks set to be a big seller, even if it does represent the apex of the Fusion range. Running head-on into 'lifestyle' rivals such as the Vauxhall Meriva, the Fusion 1.6 brings to the party a 99bhp engine that's good enough to propel it to 60mph in 10.6 seconds en route to a top speed of 111mph. It's a very willing powerplant, if a little vocal at the top end of the rev range and given that maximum power is generated at a nosebleed 6000rpm, it responds well to a heavy right foot. Driven in a more genteel manner, the Fusion 1.6 will return an average of 43mpg. There's a 422 mile fuel tank range and emissions are an acceptable 157g/km. Maybe the Fusion is cleverer than we at first thought. In providing Fiesta style appeal for those that have grown out of a supermini yet aren't prepared to accept a Focus, it opens a whole raft of possibilities.

You won't see the phrase 'Supermini-MPV' in any of the literature promoting Ford's Fusion - but that's essentially what it is. A conventional supermini - in this case based on the previous generation Fiesta - with a dash of extra versatility. There's nothing new in any of this of course. Toyota likes to think that it effectively invented this concept with the Yaris Verso, but truth be told, other Japanese models like Mitsubishi's Space Star and Suzuki's Wagon R+ were offering much the same sort of thing for longer. The Fusion however, represented the first real European attempt at this sector. It's a very good effort too - as you'd expect from something Fiesta-based - and is reasonably priced. We're looking at the 1.6-litre petrol version here, an engine which powers the Zetec variant, though you can also order it in plusher Titanium guise. Despite appearances, the Fusion isn't really a go-anywhere vehicle and you can't have one with four-wheel drive. Built on the same front-driven underpinnings as the Fiesta, its rugged looks are purely for the urban jungle. The 1.6-litre version we're looking at here looks set to be a big seller, even if it does represent the apex of the Fusion range. Running head-on into 'lifestyle' rivals such as the Vauxhall Meriva, the Fusion 1.6 brings to the party a 99bhp engine that's good enough to propel it to 60mph in 10.6 seconds en route to a top speed of 111mph. It's a very willing powerplant, if a little vocal at the top end of the rev range and given that maximum power is generated at a nosebleed 6000rpm, it responds well to a heavy right foot. Driven in a more genteel manner, the Fusion 1.6 will return an average of 43mpg. There's a 422 mile fuel tank range and emissions are an acceptable 157g/km. For something aimed so deliberately at the young and image-conscious, the Fusion pays more than mere lip service to mundane criteria like practicality and comfort. There's masses of passenger space with a roof that's almost gratuitously high, giving an overall impression of airy expanse. Ford seem to have missed a trick in not building in more MPV-style tricks however, the fixed airline-style table on the folded front passenger seat back being about the only nod in this direction. The rear seats neither slide, swivel nor detach and the boot lacks hooks or a two-piece tailgate. Still, the car can carry an impressive 337 litres and comes equipped with a cargo net and split/fold rear seats, so it gets most of the basics right. That theme carries on throughout the cabin, which is functional, workmanlike but not endowed with any great flair. Maybe the Fusion is cleverer than we at first thought. In providing Fiesta style appeal for those that have grown out of a supermini yet aren't prepared to accept a Focus, it opens a whole raft of possibilities. The Fusion has lately been revised, with restyling for the bumpers and grille, revised headlamps and tail lamps, thicker body side mouldings and body coloured handles and mirrors on selected models. Inside, a redesign concentrates on improving the feeling of quality and space. Highlights include a smarter fascia with easier to read instruments and a soft-feel upper section to the instrument panel. It's certainly a big improvement on the cheap-feeling plastic of the original model.

Scores
Performance 6
Handling 8
Comfort 7
Space 8
Styling 7
Build 6
Value 8
Equipment 7
Economy 6
Depreciation 5
Insurance 7
Total 75
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