Charged Fusion: Sport version of Ford sedan packs a punch

In a simpler time, the Ford Fusion would settle into the mid-size sedan market and humbly go about its business. Solid and dependable would be the most apt and outlandish adjectives as descriptors. This decade, though, calls for innovation and a bit of daring-do. Ford obliges.

The 2017 Fusion has been updated inside and out from the previous version. A big, mesh grille dominates the exterior and looks like it is ready to gobble up the competition.

Fusions come with six engines over 11 trims, which includes a hybrid. We’re here to write about one engine and trim in particular, the Sport, which returns for 2017 after a 2010-13 run.

The Sport, which is joined by a Platinum model as newbies in the lineup, has selling points all over the place, but none more than the twin turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine. With a rambunctious 325 horsepower and 380 lbs.-ft. of torque, the Sport leads its category in pep and has been tested from 0-60 mph in a snappy 5.1 seconds. Ford fans will note the engine’s similarity to the one in the F-150 and Edge.

There is more to the Fusion Sport than the engine, though. Befitting its name, the S button in the middle of the rotary gear shifter tightens the suspension further. Paddle shifters personalize the six-speed automatic transmission. Road manners are sure, whether the Fusion is on the open road or taking a leisurely country fall drive, which is impressive since it weighs more than two tons.

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Wait, there’s more. Did we mention it is all-wheel drive? It is, which makes the Sport a viable heavy-winter transportation for those people not married to the concept of a sport-utility vehicle. Yes, the combination creates a hit in the mileage department with only 17 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway, but that can still be considered by many to be a fair tradeoff.

Inside, the Sport is jammed with technology, highlighted by a new Sync 3 infotainment system. Beyond that is push-button start and leather/suede upholstery, which is a finery on the front sport seats. Materials such as some matte and chrome finishes dress it up. Space is ample, even for three adults in the back seat. Safety features are ample. The exterior of the back end features a rear spoiler and four exhaust tips.

There is a price to all of this. While Fusions begin at $22,610 for the base S trim, the Sport starts at $33,475. Our tester was dressed to thrill with navigation, heated front seats, reverse sensing system and driver-assist package, among other items, that pushed the bottom line to $41,350. A lot? Maybe. But Ford isn’t standing still with the Fusion Sport.

David Mikesell is a free-lance automotive reviewer based in Indianapolis.

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