Pulls like a bakkie, turns like a Ger­man

AL­WYN VILJOEN dis­cov­ers why Ford Fu­sion own­ers look so comfy when they take a cor­ner

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN you drive the Ford Fu­sion, you have to brace your­self for the fol­low­ing typ­i­cal re­ac­tion from other petrolheads: “Oooh, that’s a bit of a looker hey! What is it? But, but, it’s just a Ford…”

Don’t bother point­ing out to these peo­ple that the GT40 and the Mus­tang are also Fords.

For peo­ple who can even say “it’s just a Ford” still think in terms of Corti­nas or Es­corts.

They are un­aware that since the hum­ble lit­tle Fi­esta be­came car of the year in 1998, Ford has turned a cor­ner. Nowa­days the fine peo­ple who as­sem­ble all those bits of me­tal, leather and rub­ber be­hind the blue oval some­how man­age to fuse Henry Ford’s dream of af­ford­able cars with our dreams for a car that will make us look sexy. And no model man­ages this fu­sion as seam­lessly as the aptly named Fu­sion 2.0 TDCi.

At first glance it ain’t cheap. In stan­dard kit the Fu­sion sells for about R450k, and with all the trim­mings in the up­mar­ket Ti­ta­nium fin­ish, the price comes to R473 100. But the stan­dard trim is al­ready im­pres­sive enough to make Ger­man car own­ers cry piteously in their sin­gle malts when they see how lit­tle they get in their Teu­tonic chariots for this money. These stan­dard fea­tures in­clude Ford’s Sync2 with Blue­tooth and Voice Con­trol, Sony’s pre­mium nine-speaker sound sys­tem, an aux­il­lary in­put, SD card slot and two USB ports, dual elec­tronic air tem­per­a­ture con­trol, adap­tive cruise con­trol, key­less open and close and start, au­to­matic wipers, auto dip and bright LED head­lamps, auto dim­ming rear-view mir­ror, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, a rear-view cam­era, fa­tigue de­tec­tion and 17” al­loy wheels.

The Ti­ta­nium pack­age re­places the 17”al­loy wheels with 18” al­loy wheels and adds power fold­ing, heated side mir­rors with pud­dle lamps.

The driver side mir­ror auto dims, both side mir­rors have mem­ory, and auto dip with a brightly lit blind spot de­tec­tion. There is also ac­tive city stop brake as­sist, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane keep­ing and pull out park as­sist, a flank guard and a heated wind­shield, as well as park as­sist. Note the ro­bot only as­sists in turn­ing the steer­ing wheel, you still have to ap­ply the brakes.

The seats are full leather, with the front seats ad­just­ing 10 ways and able to store three driv­ers’ set­tings, while the rear seats are heated.

The 1998 cc turbo diesel makes 132 kW at 3500 rpm and 400 New­tons be­tween 2000 and 2500 rpm. If you are of the “just a Ford” ilk, let me put this in bakkie terms: SA’s top selling Toy­ota Hilux 3,0 D-4D makes 343 Nm while Ford’s Ranger bakkie makes 470 Nm. The Fu­sion com­fort­ably plays in this stump-pulling league, but packs the power in a head-turn­ing sleek pack­age.

Around the hair­pins is will also stir, but never shake you, but still look good enough to star in a James Bond movie.

So, the Fu­sion’s price packs a lot of value, its smooth diesel packs a lot of punch, it han­dles and the ser­vice plan of five years or 90 000 km will out­last the three years or 100 000 km war­ran­tee. Is there noth­ing then to dis­like in the Fu­sion? There is. Look un­der­neath — in front of each front wheel — there is a lit­tle wind skirt that scrapes over ev­ery lit­tle ridge on the road.

These plas­tic strips bolt off easily, and once that bit of DIY is done, the Fu­sion is per­fect to com­pete with any sedan from Ger­many.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

If looks could kill, the Ford Fu­sion would have to get a 00-li­cence. Note the plas­tic strips in front of the wheels — they are the only things not to like in this fu­sion of power and el­e­gance.

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