Pulls like a bakkie, turns like a German
ALWYN VILJOEN discovers why Ford Fusion owners look so comfy when they take a corner
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.
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.