Car Reviews First Tests

2017 Ford Fusion Sport EcoBoost AWD First Test

Fusion Sport thrives on speed in a segment that thrives on playing it safe

Fusion Sport thrives on speed in a segment that thrives on playing it safe

We usually stay calm when automakers apply the sport treatment to their mainstream midsize sedan—fancy wheels and a body kit might look good, but they don’t exactly get the adrenaline pumping. The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport, however, has something extra. It goes beyond the visual fluff we’ve become accustomed to and instead comes armed with a high-strung V-6 and all-wheel-drive grip, making it the quickest midsizer we’ve tested.

Ford’s incognito speedy sedan packs a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that churns out 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque—but only sometimes. That’s because the engine will only make that much power when it’s sipping 93 octane gasoline, which isn’t readily available in our home state of California, where 91 octane is the norm. Engine output running on 91 octane is unknown because Ford prefers to show off the bigger numbers.

2017 Ford Fusion Sport front three quarters

Nevertheless, the Fusion Sport (running on 91 octane) is not only fun to launch but also very satisfying. The engine is eager right from the start and pulls strong all the way to redline. The all-wheel-drive system doles out the power well. We rarely felt any sign of torque steer or any of the tires struggling for grip, no matter how hard we launched the sedan. The six-speed automatic could be snappier with the downshifts, but overall the gearbox seems to be paired well with the engine. Steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters are standard.

Running to 60 mph requires just 5.3 seconds in the Fusion Sport. That makes Ford’s midsizer quicker than the 2017 Honda Accord V-6 we recently tested (5.7 seconds) and a 2015 Toyota Camry XSE (6.1 seconds). Both the Honda and Toyota have naturally aspirated six-cylinders with the Accord making 278 hp and the Camry at 268 hp. And in case you’re wondering, the Fusion Sport will outrun a Mustang with the 2.3-liter I-4 EcoBoost by a full second.

The Fusion Sport put down a figure-eight time of 26.2 seconds, and although it doesn’t quite have the Mazda6’s poise and balance through the curves, its suspension system with active dampers manages to keep things under control. Steering feel is good overall, and the brakes halt the 4,123-pound (1,870 kg) sedan from 60 to 0 mph in 122 feet.

The Fusions Sport is quick, but it’s also obvious that Ford made ride comfort a top priority. The cabin is pleasantly quiet at highway speeds, and so is the engine, which only sounds rowdy at wide-open throttle. Interior design and available niceties essentially mimic other Fusion models, including our test car’s Sync infotainment system and advanced driver assistance technology such as lane keeping assist.

Pricing starts at $34,480 USD, and our test car rang in at $40,955 USD, thanks to options such as the aforementioned Driver Assist package ($1,625 USD) and the Sport Upgrade package ($2,000 USD), which includes digital displays in the instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, and more. It’s a relative bargain considering a luxury German sedan (with similar performance and content) is thousands of dollars more.

Prior to the Fusion Sport’s debut, rumors suggested the Fusion would be the next model to join Ford’s ST lineup of sporty models along with the Focus ST and Fiesta ST. We say it’s not too late—with Recaro seats, beefier brakes, and maybe a slight power increase, the Fusion Sport could easily morph into a Fusion ST. But still with two turbos, all-wheel drive, and impressive straight-line speed, the unassuming Fusion Sport is a surprisingly fun outlier in a segment that thrives on playing it safe.

2017 Ford Fusion Sport EcoBoost AWD
BASE PRICE $34,350
PRICE AS TESTED $40,995
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 2.7L/325-hp*/380-lb-ft* twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,123 lb (60/40%)
WHEELBASE 112.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 191.8 x 72.9 x 58.0 in
0-60 MPH 5.3 sec**
QUARTER MILE 13.9 sec @ 97.7 mph**
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 122 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.86 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.2 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 17/26/20 mpg***
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/130 kW-hrs/100 miles***
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.96 lb/mile***
* with 93 octane
** with 91 octane
*** with 87 octane