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I've been watching these topics since I first spotted the stylish Fusion and wanted to find out all the dirt I could. Once I was pretty happy with the 'inside track' I figured I'd take a further peek and pursue this car. I won't be buying till next fall when 07's come out- I'm aiming for a Fusion w/ the promised AWD (if they're out by then) - SEL V6, leather, and the audiophile stereo.

Heres my story (hang on, this could get lengthy):
To date I have owned 2 Chryslers, a Chevy, and 2 Toyotas and Mitsu. 3000GTvr4. My wife has owned 2 buicks and currently drives Grandmas 93' Ford escort with a 1.9 and 50k miles. Of those, my first Chrylser was an old bulletproof beast with a 318, till I couldn't fix the electrical problems anymore. The newest Chrysler concorde was in and out of the shop more than even any warranty company would dream possible. I loved the ride and handling but not the service area. The Toyota pickup was a bulletproof 4cyl. 4x4. Though it had all of 125 hp, I abused the clutch, motor and suspension like no other. I needed to consistently squeeze every available HP out of it, which kept the tach at a consistent 6000 rpm. It ran like the dickens. Now I currently own a 2000 Toyo 4runner. Except for the semi-bland styling, and that it lacks about 50hp- it's a dream. At 80k miles it has no squeaks or rattles and is solid as a rock, even with the towing I do. I hope to get 250k miles out of this thing. I'm that kind of person. I know what matters on a car and what should last, as well as where the horsepower should be. If you know the VR4, you know what I'm talking about. It's he** on wheels. I keep my vehicles consistently maintained and cleaned. Except for a tiny paint chip or two- they'll look no different then when I drove them off the lot the first time.

All that said- you could see why with regular check-ups, and pretty good automotive knowledge, I want a dependable vehicle. Since the japs havent mechanicly failed me, I didnt want to leave them. But their somewhat odd styling (I prefer european style) left me wanting more bang for my buck. Since my wife loves her escort, the replacement will be the Fusion. Bravo Ford- you'll sell a lot of these.

So I was driving down 'dealer row' with the wife yesterday. We were on the way to other places, vehicle shopping not even on her list. But I had an ulterior motive. I pulled right into the Ford dealership. Low and behold, there sat two Fusions. One Dune Pearl & the other- Silver Frost. Opposite were two Milans (just a glance went their way) I said 'Lets have a look- maybe we'll get a test drive.' I had already looked before, but I needed to get inside one of these for scrutinizing.
I was looking over the car - neither were leather interior.
Within minutes, a salesman came out. Luckily for me, selling was not his high point. I just needed him for a test drive. I asked him if he had any with leather on the lot. He said probably one in the back. He was right. Lucky guess. (Though in green tungsten, yuck). We soon had the keys and I went to town. Again, neither the salesman nor my wife were prepared for my thorough review.

-First Post-
- Let's start with the key fob. Love the integration, but it'll probably cost 300 clams to replace if it breaks. The doors lock and unlock silently. Great but I'd have to rely on a good RF signal for assurance. I couldnt tell if the doors were unlocked, so I repeated the sequence. And I didn't notice a light flash like on my 4runner. Does it need a security system? Surely it will be an option as there are two more slots on the fob that could easily accomodate this and an auto-start function, maybe in 07' or after market? :)
- Then I open the trunk (wife and salesman were already inside and buckeled) Plenty of room, for even 2 large and 2 small suitcases + more. I'm happy.
- I climb in and out of the drivers seat a few times. Then I do the same with the backseat. I open the rear door and climb in next to the salesman (he just looks at me perplexed) I'm 6 foot. No problem here either. The seats have an easy not too smooth/rough feel. The sit-down height is perfect for the car.
- I start the car and watch the gauges. Smooth response- and only 17 miles on the odo. I played with all the controls- temp/radio (sounded great even with the standard audio system) and steering column tilt and controls. All great. Now the dash and that center extra compartment. Great feature, but cheesy button lock/feel. After cycling it 5/6 times it seemed a little better. The seat controls- very good. I told the salesman it was a bonus the seatback itself was a lever and not motorized, because it was the most used and therefore the first to break. But it needed a little more spring.
- The armrest and shift lever- perfect spot for my drive syle and frame. The cupholders - 6 are great. Including the ones in the doors. The rear seat armrest/cupholders are good too. But let's push the envelope. If I have 3 backseat passengers (We routinely do) Where do we put those needed grande Starbucks?
The drive:
- I then pull out of the space and notice the steering is like my 1980 chrysler. It could be turned with a pinky. A good thing at low speeds and parking lots.
- I go to take a turn and hit the turn signal- and notice the stalk lever is positioned just a bit far from the wheel. making those 'touch-blink' changes difficult while at 9 and 3 or 10 and 2.
- I ask my salesman where the usual route is. He says- 'don't worry, go wherever you want.' 8) It must be a slow day. I didn't however, because I'll be back for a more thorough drive another time. Today was just the meet and greet, like a first date. I also took it easy on the drive but did a few slaloms down a less-traveled but bumpy road to see what that was like. Again the steering was very responsive, note not 'mushy' but rather speed sesitive. The easy turn had all but gone away. Not expected in a vehicle with all these options and under 25K. No body roll, I can tell the suspension and tires love a little action now and again.
- The motor & tranny. Despite a few other posts and recognizing I was still in the break-in, I didn't push it too hard. I didn't notice as someone else posted the tranny find-a-gear issue. I was looking for it too, and even tried a wide speed range to find it. Maybe next drive will be different. Power? Above 20mph response is great, and I haven't even been on the highway.
Heres the big rant
- I romped on the gas just once pulling from a stop. I know it only had 17 miles, but whats the problem here? It reved to 5000K through 2 gears and about an 100 yards later I was only going about 35mph. Now I wasn't trying to bake my tires, just feel the torque. To put it lightly- theres no go! Is something wrong? I was disapointed. It was like a mirage- could all my dreams be smashed? I don't need 300hp but c'mon something better than that. Our 1.9 escort is better. I'm absolutely serious. But I'm not giving up. It's getting another drive at a later date, with a planned backroads route & highway (hopefully my laid back salesman's still there).
- A car in front of me passes through a muddy puddle and it sprays my windshield. I hit the stalk-wiper-turn-signal lever and low and behold I flick the high beams on by accident. But all i wanted was a mist. How unfortunate.
- Lastly, we pull back into the lot. I don't expect much from my salesman, but he couldn't figure out how to release the seatbacks so I could play with the way they fold down. and see the space. Another salesman comes out and he cant figure it out either. They claim they cant keep these cars on the lot, maybe this is why they're unfamiliar with the details? A few minutes later, the sales manager comes out and berates them. Then he reaches into the trunk and shows us the 2 levers.It was amusing. I then felt like an idiot. I even had my head in the trunk. There they were plain as day, but just slightly out of eyesight. Another great feature though, because you could fold the seat down without going into the back seat if needed, like when my wife buys those rta IKEA boxes that need the precious 54" of length.
So we go in for info. I get a card, brochure and handshake, and tell em' I'll be back. Gloves off next time. For first impressions, I see this car with my last name on the registration. Just give me the torque I need, as is promised in the brochure (multiple times).

Stay tuned for another Test Drive & please let me know what I may be missing as well as the torque issue.
 

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Nice review...I own a black SEL. I"m geussing you drove it with the 3.0 motor?My felt the same but it seems like it has more now. It takes time getting used to the non cable driven throttle. It has 500miles on it now. I know the ECM adapts to driving styles over time especially shift points. Wife and I enjoy the car a lot. Her only complaint was that she hits the high beams when setting the trun signal at times. She said she can deal with it. Cant wait for part 2.
 

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i've got about 900 miles on my black SE V6 and noticed that the car does have more power than before. it'll break the tires loose when going slow and flooring it to accelerate. I am very happy with my Fusion.

I, too, had the same experience at the dealer with the seat fold-down. I finally found it myself the next day after taking delivery and felt like a 'tard..

but when i pulled the lever and saw the spring accentuated seatback go down I was like "oh cool!"
 

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No go? My previous car was a 2004 Mach 1 and I was impressed with the SE's torque (and lack of torque steer). It has almost the same power as my '98 Mustang GT had. There must have been something wrong with that car. Mine will break the front tires loose almost at will.
 

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[quote author=jpilone link=topic=36384.msg524280#msg524280 date=1135784009]
i've got about 900 miles on my black SE V6 and noticed that the car does have more power than before. it'll break the tires loose when going slow and flooring it to accelerate. I am very happy with my Fusion.

[/quote]

900 miles with more power than "before?" What is the break-in mileage? I sure hope it didn't get some full throttle runs during break-in or else it could start burning oil and losing compression. The Duratec is a fine engine though. tough too.
 

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Don't be put off by the seemingly unresponsive engine with 17 miles on the clock. Try to find someone who already owns one and drive it after 4000 or 5000 miles are accumulated. The Duratec is notoriously sluggish when brand new. It will loosen up.

BTW my SEL V-6 now has 2200 miles and is maturing nicely. I also ran it to 6k once or twice during break-in, and I believe it does not harm the engine if you do as Ford says and vary the loads and speeds, and do not constantly run it to red line.

My last 3 Fords have had Duratec V-6 engines, and all got better with age. Like fine wine - but not necessarily like girlfriends.
 

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I have worked on and around cars for a very long time now and I can tell you that
most new engines don't need a break in period for components, to settle in and let the cars computer
dial in yeas, but these newer blocks can handle what is thrown at them, even the older cars
didn't really need them, I built engines and rebuilt engines then put over 50K on them some over 100K
and never had day one of problems, and most driven hard from day one. I mean we all don't run
drag in them i'm sure, but getting on it is not going to hurt them. but as i'm sure you all already know
never run them hard cold in any case.
 

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One more comment on the perceived poor accel with the V-6. I still have my '03 Taurus with the 3.0 Duratec, but without the VVT (variable valve timing). I drove both to compare them, and notice that the Taurus leaps off the line, but when the tach passes 3k, the baby begins to run out of steam. Each shift brings the same results - a rush of power then some flattening out.

The Fusion pulls from the git-go and stays very smooth right up to 5.5k or 6k. Because it is so smooth (I assume because of the VVT the torque is not "peaky" like the Duratec w/o variable valve timing) it can be misconstrued as weak. But it clearly reaches 70 or 75 mph much earlier than the Taurus, even though it feels less aggressive.

BTW I have heard similar complaints about the 500/Freestyle with the CVT (continuously variable transmission). It is so smooth, it feels like a slug, but when matching other cars (Not Cobra Mustangs, now) at stop lights, it performs as well as most other family haulers. My son in law has a Freestyle and remarked how smooth the accel was with the CVT, and noted that other cars pause when shifting at which point the Freestyle continues to pull, matching or out accelerating the cars with 4 speed trannys.

I notice the Fusion shifts very smoothly (SEL V-6) through its gears, and the engine is "on" for the full range of acceleration. This may be misinterpreted as poor acceleration, but I can tell you from testing that I'm doing 75 in the Fusion at a point (a particular tree, just so you know I was scientific !!!) where the Taurus is just wheezing past 60. This proves to me that your a** is not a good judge of acceleration!
 

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believe me too, I don't know about the 6, but I do the 4 and it may be a tad off
at the 1k and under, but once it hits ( and it does very quickly) over 1k it is gone
and passing gear, damn!!, you feel slowly sucked into the seat until it levels off.

people complain about 4's but this one is the fastest 4 I ever owned and the 5 speed
gets the engine there.
 

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Very interesting, thanks for all the info on the engine breakin procedures.

It is interesting to see that some people comment about the Duratec pulling very strong until 3000 RPM then levelling off.

I have a 1996 Duratec and it is incredibly lame until you get it to 2000RPM, then it starts to pull stronger until you get to 3000, it sorta levels off a bit, once you get to 3500RPM the butterflies on the secondarys snap open and then it starts pulling even stronger, once you hit 4K or so it really takes off and it feels like it reaches its max by 4500RPM and just holds it all the way to 6K.

It is interesting though, this 1996 Duratec has 135,000 miles on it (hard miles, lots of heavy loads and frequent revs to 6K), and it seems as if it is less powerful than before.

Tauruses with the Duratec had an even lower axel ratio than the Vulcan powered Tauruses due to it being able to rev higher, and even so, if I brake torque it to 2000RPM, I still can't even chirp the tires unless it is wet out or has poor traction. I remember I used to peel out if I hit it too agressively.

Anyone know how it could have lost so much power?
 

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Maybe it needs a tuneup! My wife's '96 Contour with 70000 miles on it runs very strong. My '03 100 Anniv Taurus leaps off the line, and the traction control is always on if it is not dry pavement on a dry day.

Without the VVT, however, both Duratec V-6s peak at about 3000 RPM and then gradually get weaker with higher RPM, although they will both pull well up to about 5000 RPM. The Fusion continues to pull (I've had it up to just under 6000 RPM and don't do it regularly or even often) without any tendency to run out of steam. I'm convinced the VVT has a significant impact on keeping the torque "on" for the full RPM band.

I haven't seen torque curves for the various iterations of Duratec V-6 engines, but I'd bet the Fusion has a much flatter curve than the earlier versions. Having just over 3000 miles on the Fusion, I'm beginning to feel the power more and more. This baby wants to run!
 
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