Ford Fusion

From Ford press: The 2006 Ford Fusion breathes a fresh attitude into the American mid-size car. It distinguishes itself in what is the most competitive of vehicle segments with its standout exterior design and engaging driving dynamics. Fusion brings to the segment good fuel economy, advanced safety, clean emissions and roomy interior space – all at an attractive value. The design of the Fusion was inspired by the Ford 427 concept, a runaway hit with recent auto show crowds.

Fusion takes several design cues from the 427, especially its bold three-bar grille and multi-element projector-beam headlamps. The concept car also inspired Fusion's optional charcoal-black leather interior with contrasting oatmeal-colored seat stitching. The new Fusion takes a central position between the award-winning Focus and the flagship Five Hundred sedan. As J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer, puts it, "Even standing still, the Fusion looks like it's ready to burst out of the blocks. The strong, muscular three-bar chrome grille sets the tone for a bold new look that will change the mid-size sedan segment."
The soul of any driver's car is its engine, and Fusion offers a choice of Ford's 2.3-liter Duratec 23 I-4 or 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6. Both feature all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, intake Variable Cam Timing (i-VCT) and electronic throttle control to deliver smooth, spirited performance, along with good fuel economy and emissions ratings.

The four-cylinder engine delivers 160 horsepower, and can be paired with a five-speed manual or automatic transaxle. Also good news for the environment, the Duratec 23 I-4 will be rated as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) in California . It will be the Ford brand's third PZEV application, after the Escape Hybrid and Focus PZEV. The standard Duratec 23 and five-speed manual returns 23 miles per gallon (mpg) city, and 31 mpg highway. For even more power, there's the 221-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, which is paired with an advanced six-speed automatic transaxle. With this wide 6:1 overall span – versus the 4.5:1 for a typical five-speed – the six-speed automatic delivers impressive performance as well as 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.

The Duratec 23 I-4 delivers 160 horsepower and 150 foot-pounds of torque. An inherently efficient design that has proven its durability, the world over, in a wide variety of vehicles; this engine delivers highway fuel-economy ratings of 31 miles per gallon. To enhance efficiency, the Duratec 23 features Charge Motion Control Valves in the intake runners – similar to those found in the powerful F-150 pickup – to boost torque and improve combustion at low engine speeds. To reduce vibration, the inline four cylinder employs hydromounts in two positions – at the engine and the roll restrictor. It also has sump-mounted balance shafts for increased smoothness.

The Duratec 30 delivers 221 horsepower and 205 foot-pounds of torque, paired with a standard six-speed automatic. This powertrain combination leads the class in acceleration during passing at freeway speeds. It's expected to be about a second faster than cars in its competitive set from 55-75 mph, and it records 0-60 mph times in less than 8.5 seconds. The Duratec 30 V-6 has hydraulic mounts to isolate engine vibration, movement from the vehicle's chassis and to level out gearshifts. Hydromounts are filled with viscous fluid that is pumped from one internal chamber to another in response to the powertrain's movement.

Gallery: Ford Fusion