$5,562 - $7,948

2011 Ford Fusion Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Ford Fusion was new.


Performance: 8.6

The Ford Fusion has always won reviewer praise as a driver-oriented family sedan, with crisp handling and an all-wheel-drive option few competitors match. For 2011, performance is unchanged. It's available with the same three engines as the 2010 model: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder  engine, a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine. Overall, the auto press likes the way these engines perform, but note that they aren’t as strong as others in the class. Still, the Fusion is a great day-to-day performer; it accelerates smoothly and has good power for passing and merging.

The Ford Fusion also offers all-wheel drive on select V6 models, a rare feature for the class.

  • "The Ford Fusion is one of the most engaging family sedans from the driver's perspective." -- Edmunds
  • "Test drives in the SE and Sport confirm that Ford has raised the Fusion's game considerably. The athletic chassis is still there, but now it's complemented by more power and a far more friendly automatic." -- Motor Trend
  • "With 175 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, the four-cylinder Fusion is hardly a sports sedan, but that doesn't mean it's not a fun drive." -- Autoblog
  • "The new Fusion has a much lighter feel all-around, which is a blessing for navigating parking garages." -- Cars.com
  • "Numerous refinements and suspension geometry tweaks carryover from last year, imparting a more precise feel with better roll control across the lineup. Complementing those dynamic improvements are decreased ambient noise levels in the Fusion's hushed cabin." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The automotive press has few complaints regarding the Ford Fusion’s three engines. The base engine, which comes standard on S, SE and SEL models, is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 175 horsepower. Reviewers say it's among the strongest four-cylinder options in the midsize class. Consumer Guide, however, notes that the four-cylinder is adequate and pleasant to use, but struggles when climbing steep hills. The 2.5-liter has a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment -- something many reviewers like, since manual shifters seem to be fading from this class, but is available with a six-speed automatic that has a manual shift mode.

A larger, 3.0-liter V6 putting out 240 horsepower is an option on Fusion SE and SEL models, though it can't be purchased with the manual transmission. Overall, reviewers are pleased with this engine’s performance. They do however, note that it’s not as powerful as its 240-horsepower rating implies. Still, the engine is perfect for city and highway driving and shouldn’t pose any problems for drivers. The Sport model features the most powerful engine, a 3.5-liter V6 making 263 horsepower.

The 2011 Ford Fusion averages 22/30 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. Fuel economy will be lower for buyers who choose all-wheel drive or more powerful engines.

  • "Undeniably the most impressive aspect of the Fusion in the week I spent with it was its new four-cylinder engine. The 2.5-liter produces 175 horsepower, which makes it one of the most powerful fours on the market. That power translates to a real-world driving experience that is surprisingly sporty. It doesn't feel like there's a V-6 under the hood, but neither is there any desire for a V-6." -- Cars.com
  • "The 3.0 V6 accelerates smoothly, and furnishes good passing and merging power. V6 models have a manual-shift mode for the transmission that is useful on hilly terrain." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Not surprisingly, the Fusion Sport, with its 263-hp 3.5-liter V-6, proved the most enticing. Our sample was also equipped with all-wheel drive, a rarity in this class and, as before, available only with V-6-powered Fusions. As such, the engine's 249 lb-ft of torque propels the 3800-lb sedan (3600 pounds with front-wheel drive) with little trouble. Ford claims a 7.0-second 0-60 time, which seems a touch pessimistic from the seat of our pants." -- Car and Driver
  • "With increased power and torque plus advanced six-speed transmissions, even four-cylinder 2011 Ford Fusion models have plenty in hand to cope with all normal city/highway traffic demands." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Previous generations of the Fusion have earned a reputation as relatively tight handlers for family cars.  The 2011 model retains the well-behaved chassis and solid control through tight corners. Driving enthusiasts should note, however, that in all but one model, the Fusion's well-liked steering has actually given up a little of its road feel. All but the Sport model use electronically-controlled steering. The Sport edition retains the hydraulic steering of the 2009 Ford Fusion, and some reviewers like it best. 

The Ford Fusion is a solid driver, with confident handling. The brakes perform admirably in reviewer testing -- measuring typical distances for a midsize car in panic stops, but some complain that the brake pedal feels soft even when the brakes' performance is not. 

  • "On the downside, the electric power steering on non-Sport models is light and numb." -- Edmunds
  • "A well sorted suspension with perfectly balanced spring rates to provide a decent ride over nasty roads, along with great damping and good roll control. The lighter [four-cylinder engine] and manual gearbox also means less mass on the front axle for better overall balance compared to the six-cylinder models." -- Autoblog
  • "Ride quality is also significantly improved in the new Fusion. It's worlds more comfortable now, with a ride that rivals the new Chevy Malibu without feeling as disconnected as the Toyota Camry. It's a nice tradeoff." -- Cars.com
  • "On the road, we also noticed that the Fusion's steering quality, while comfortably weighted immediately off-center, gets rubber-bandy the further the wheel is turned. Not helping matters are brakes that lack feedback during the first half of pedal travel." -- Car and Driver

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