As I have posted elsewhere, I have just come out of a used 2005 Acura TL with the A-Spec package into a brand new 2008 Ford Fusion SEL V6 with the Sport Appearance Package. After passing the two week mark yesterday, I took some time to reflect on the pluses and minuses of each vehicle.
- Very fast for a large sedan. The Fusion isn't going to beat the TL in a race.
- Very good fuel economy (though premium) for a large sedan.
- DVD-Audio support and 5.1 surround. I have yet to hear another car audio system that I thought sounded better.
Dual temperature zones
- This was a killer app for the wife.
- Not that I use them that often, but manually supporting the hood seems so old school.
- Having an interior handle in the trunk prevents those nasty tailgate fingerprints.
- Real metal trim, high quality plood. There are some sharp edges in the Fusion (watch your feet under the glove box) that should be eliminated.
- It was a BITCH to change in the TL, but at least it had one. C'mon, Ford. My old Escape had one for crying out loud!
- Makes switching drivers easy. Also, power seat for front passenger and power recline is nice.
- both front windows auto powered down AND up.
Remote open windows and sunroof
- It gets hot in the summer in NC and this was a nice feature to have with a black leather interior.
Tinted side mirrors
- Helped with headlight reflections at night. I wish someone would offer electrochromic sides to go with the rear view. Pickup trucks and SUVs just love to tailgate me at night.
- Nothing else comes close to a Honda or Acura in this area.
- Acura dealer treated me like a king . . . they should for what the car costs! We'll see how Ford does.
- Original purchase price, monthly payment and fuel expenses are all down significantly from the TL.
Fun to drive
- Believe it or not the Fusion feels sportier in many ways. Steering is lighter, MUCH less torque steer than theTL, ride is better (even with the SAP 18s and suspension). Also, the TL had a TERRIBLE vibration whenever the transmission lugged at low RPMs. Made EVERYTHING rattle. Ugh!!! Turning circle is way better in the Fusion too.
- Small things are much nicer than the TL. For example, the TL had a dedicated side mirror defroster that didn't shut off automatically. The Fusion ties this into the rear window defroster instead. The steering wheel buttons are easier to find in the Fusion; TL had the voice keys off to the left behind each other in a weird spot. It took me a bit to adjust to the blinker/wiper stalk, but I've got the hang of it now and I like it out of the way at 10 o'clock high.
- Not sure how else to describe this. The force required to shut the doors and trunk on the TL was WAAAAY too low. The doors were forever closing on my leg or hand on the slightest of inclines. Also, the trunk strut tension was not calibrated for the extra weight of even the lip spoiler on the TL. If I had a dime for every crack on the noggin I got from the trunk falling on my head, the TL would be paid off by now.
- I am not sure if the Fusion's trunk is larger, but it is taller which is more useful. Add the fold flat seats and the TL just lost hands down. Cup holder quantity and placement is better in the Fusion also. Middle dash storage is handy for a box of tissues and a pen. The map pockets in the TL were a bit nicer, though.
- The Fusion heats up and cools down much faster than the TL. Also, the front and rear defoggers work much better. I wish Ford had ducted the A/C through the center console like Acura. Backseat passengers (mostly my dog) wait a bit too long on cool air.
- For some reason, the front passenger seat in the TL only heated the bottom, not the back (yes, it was designed that way . . . something to do with the airbags). The Fusion has no such problem. Also, the leather in the TL did not wear well. Remains to be seen in the Fusion, but so far I like the leather better. The seats are a bit more supportive in the Fusion, though they don't quite have the "catcher's mit" feel of the TL's seats. Everyone loves the read stitching and seat inserts!
- I hated the HIDs in the TL. The cutoff was way too short and sharp and I prefer the standard halogen lights in the Fusion and having the auto-headlights option instead.
- Ok, this was the big onefor me. The main reason I bought the TL was for the bluetooth, navigation, audio system and excellent voice command functions. While the TL was great, the Fusion is BETTER! Sync is fantastic. So far it has worked with both my 32GB iPod Touch and a 250GB external hard drive with almost 19,000 songs on it (albeit voice commands were not available for individual tracks). Phone support is great with my Verizon/Motorola e815. Phonebook support is awesome (added to TL in 2007, but missing from my 2005). Text messaging and custom ringers are not supported with this older phone, but everything else is great. Phone pairs and drops much more quickly. The NAV system starts MUCH faster (TL NAVI wait is intolerable). I do miss the joystick from the TL for searching maps, but double clicking works almost as well in the Fusion. I do miss being able to voice command the A/C ("Temperature max cold"
, but I can live without "What time is it?" in favor of "What is playing?" from the audio system. In terms of sound quality . . . Ok, it's not the TL. But I think the Audiophile system with the Pioneer made navigation radio sounds darn good for the money ($1,900 in Fusion vs. $3,000 in TL). And the excellent iPod/HDD/Flash and MP3-CD support makes the loss of DVD-A/5.1 hurt much less.
So in the end, the main driver for me to move to the Fusion was cost. I plan to move later this year or early next and want to lower my expenses. Also, premium gas prices are just obscene. But I didn't want to lose too much and feel like I took a major downgrade. I don't feel that way at all with the Fusion. In many ways, I prefer the Fusion to the TL. Both are nice cars; the Fusion is just more practical. Overall, I am still very happy with my purchase.