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2012 Ford Fusion Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Ford Fusion was new.


Performance: 8.3

Reviewers praise the 2012 Ford Fusion for its crisp handling and powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine. Overall, the auto press thinks the Fusion is a great day-to-day performer because it’s fun to drive, accelerates smoothly and has good power for passing and merging. The Ford Fusion also offers all-wheel drive on select V6 models, which is a rare feature for the class. For 2012, Ford made the six-speed automatic transmission standard on SE models.

  • “True to its name, the Sport has the best handling.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
  • "With increased power and torque plus advanced six-speed transmissions, even four-cylinder … Ford Fusion models have plenty in hand to cope with all normal city/highway traffic demands." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Most auto reviewers like the 2012 Ford Fusion’s three engines, but a few say the base four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 don’t provide enough power. The 3.5-liter V6 is the reviewer favorite for its additional power. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, which comes standard on S, SE and SEL models. The four-cylinder produces 175 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic is optional. Reviewers are somewhat divided on the Fusion’s base engine. Most are impressed with its power for a midsize car, while a few say it is noisy and only provides adequate power. Although test drivers like the mid-level Fusion engine, a 3.0-liter V6 that puts out 240 horsepower, they love the top-of-the-line 3.5-liter V6, which produces 263 horsepower. Both V6 engines are paired to a six-speed automatic with manual mode. The 3.5-liter V6 is only available on the Sport model, while the 3.0-liter V6 is optional on SE and SEL trims. The 3.0-liter V6 is also flex fuel capable, which means it can run on E85.

The EPA rates the fuel economy of the four-cylinder 2012 Ford Fusion at 23/33 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission, while the manual achieves 22/29. The 3.0-liter V6 gets 20/28 mpg, the 3.5-liter V6 engine gets 18/27 mpg and the all-wheel-drive version gets 17/25.

  • "The base four-cylinder offers adequate performance, but it can make unpleasant droning noises under a heavy foot." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.0 V6 doesn't feel as strong as its 240-horsepower rating would suggest, but it still accelerates smoothly, furnishing good passing and merging power." -- 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
  • "Those willing to forego a bit of fuel economy will find the Fusion even more appealing when equipped with the 3.0-liter V6, while the 3.5-liter makes the Sport variant downright quick." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Previous generations of the Fusion have earned a reputation as relatively tight handlers for family cars. Test drivers say that the 2012 model is still well-behaved and composed through tight corners. Reviewers also like how the Fusion handles a bumpy road with ease. The Fusion’s brakes do well in tests, measuring typical distances for a midsize car in a panic stop. However, some complain that the brake pedal didn’t feel as firm as expected when pushed.

  • "You feel connected to the road, but this doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort the way it can in so many other cars." -- Edmunds
  • "Fusion feels compliant and controlled over sharp bumps and patchy pavement." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
  • "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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