RAC

Ford Fusion 1.4

"The Fusion 1.4 offers a little more than a Fiesta with a booster seat"

That's the theory in any case. Ford have researched this market with forensic precision and identified that many - especially urban - drivers wanted a car that was as compact as a Fiesta-sized supermini but which boasted a commanding view so that they wouldn't feel intimidated by the city's more lumbering inhabitants. Seeing and being seen consistently scored highly amongst female car buyers and the Fusion is a nod in the direction of this important purchasing bloc. The Fusion 1.4 offers a little more than a Fiesta with a booster seat. Ford dubs it an Urban Activity Vehicle, which tells us very little. In fact the Fusion blurs the traditional boundaries between tall superminis like the Honda Jazz and more conventional representations of supermini MPVs like the Vauxhall Meriva. 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. In Style+ trim or Zetec, few will begrudge the premium. The Fusion cabin is supremely practical. The rear seats can fold down with their headrests in place, there's a very low rear loading sill plus the driver's seat is adjustable for height, guaranteeing a decent driving position.

As you would expect from anything based on the previous generation Fiesta, the handling is very good. Although the tall Fusion looks like something that may be slightly top heavy, your first corner will rapidly dispel this impression. Somehow Ford seem to have engineered a ride that's able to absorb the ruts and bumps of city streets with a chassis that enjoys spirited driving. Refinement is a mixed bag, the 1.4-litre engine being reasonably well behaved at higher speeds with tyre and wind noise making a significant intrusion. The 1.4-litre engine needs to be worked quite hard to make respectable progress, hitting 60mph in 13.5 seconds on the way to 101mph. CO2 emissions are reasonable, the Fusion pumping out 154g for every kilometre travelled. Likewise, you'll not be taken to the cleaners at the pumps, the 43.5mpg average fuel consumption a fine effort. Even around town you can expect to see over 33mpg. The Fusion is, nevertheless, an enigmatic proposition. If it's designed for those people who want a little practicality than a Fiesta offers, where does that leave Ford's next model up, the Family Hatchback Focus? After all, an entry-level Focus is in the same ballpark as the Fusion 1.4 pricewise and offers a far more grown-up proposition. But therein lies the point. Whereas the Focus shouts thirtysomething, the Fusion is definitely twentysomething. Or twentysomething with the screaming kids, the garden centre obligations and the aspirational/imaginary extreme lifestyle you'll read about in the Fusion brochure. 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. The Ford Fusion 1.4 may demand an additional £1,000 over and above the price of an equivalent Fiesta but for many the additional expenditure will be justified in terms of a more reassuring feeling at the wheel. It certainly feels quite a substantial proposition, although the basic interior may deter some fashion-conscious buyers. Does it have what it takes to eke out a share for itself in a tough corner of the market or is it all altitude? It will be interesting to see.

Facts at a Glance

Facts At A Glance CAR: Ford Fusion 1.4 PRICES: £12,995-£13,595 - on the road INSURANCE GROUP: 4-5 CO2 EMISSIONS: 154g/km PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 13.5s / Max Speed 101mph FUEL CONSUMPTION: (urban) 33.2mpg / (extra urban) 53.3mpg / (combined) 43.5mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front and side airbags WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height 4020/1708/1503mm

According to Ford's advertising, the Fusion should represent nirvana for those more vertically challenged amongst us. No longer will you have to crane your neck to see past the traffic, no longer will you need to resort to an effete compact 4x4. The Fusion puts you head and shoulders above the rest of most other road users even in entry-level 1.4-litre guise. In Style+ trim or Zetec, few will begrudge the premium. The Fusion cabin is supremely practical. The rear seats can fold down with their headrests in place, there's a very low rear loading sill plus the driver's seat is adjustable for height, guaranteeing a decent driving position. The 1.4-litre engine needs to be worked quite hard to make respectable progress, hitting 60mph in 13.5 seconds on the way to 101mph. CO2 emissions are reasonable, the Fusion pumping out 154g for every kilometre travelled. Likewise, you'll not be taken to the cleaners at the pumps, the 43.5mpg average fuel consumption a fine effort. Even around town you can expect to see over 33mpg. Should you want to expend even less effort in the city, a 'clutchless' Durashift version is also available. Does it have what it takes to eke out a share for itself in a tough corner of the market or is it all altitude? It will be interesting to see.

According to Ford's advertising, the Fusion should represent nirvana for those more vertically challenged amongst us. No longer will you have to crane your neck to see past the traffic, no longer will you need to resort to an effete compact 4x4. The Fusion puts you head and shoulders above most other road users, even in entry-level 1.4-litre guise. That's the theory in any case. Ford have researched this market with forensic precision and identified that many - especially urban - drivers wanted a car that was as compact as a Fiesta-sized supermini but which boasted a commanding view so that they wouldn't feel intimidated by the city's more lumbering inhabitants. Seeing and being seen consistently scored highly amongst female car buyers and the Fusion is a nod in the direction of this important purchasing bloc. The Fusion 1.4 offers a little more than a Fiesta with a booster seat. Ford dubs it an Urban Activity Vehicle, which tells us very little. In fact the Fusion blurs the traditional boundaries between tall superminis like the Honda Jazz and more conventional representations of supermini MPVs like the Vauxhall Meriva. In Style+ trim or Zetec, few will begrudge the premium. The Fusion cabin is supremely practical. The rear seats can fold down with their headrests in place, there's a very low rear loading sill plus the driver's seat is adjustable for height, guaranteeing a decent driving position. As you would expect from anything based on the previous generation Fiesta, the handling is very good. Although the tall Fusion looks like something that may be slightly top heavy, your first corner will rapidly dispel this impression. Somehow Ford seem to have engineered a ride that's able to absorb the ruts and bumps of city streets with a chassis that enjoys spirited driving. Refinement is a mixed bag, the 1.4-litre engine being reasonably well behaved at higher speeds with tyre and wind noise making a significant intrusion. The 1.4-litre engine needs to be worked quite hard to make respectable progress, hitting 60mph in 13.5 seconds on the way to 101mph. CO2 emissions are reasonable, the Fusion pumping out 154g for every kilometre travelled. Likewise, you'll not be taken to the cleaners at the pumps, the 43.5mpg average fuel consumption a fine effort. Even around town you can expect to see over 33mpg. The Ford Fusion 1.4 may demand an additional £1,000 over and above the price of an equivalent Fiesta but for many the additional expenditure will be justified in terms of a more reassuring feeling at the wheel. It certainly feels quite a substantial proposition, although the basic interior may deter some fashion-conscious buyers. Does it have what it takes to eke out a share for itself in a tough corner of the market or is it all altitude? It will be interesting to see. 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 7
Equipment 7
Economy 7
Depreciation 6
Insurance 7
Total 76
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