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SNEAK PEAK OF FORD'S NEW FUSION SEDAN

By Marty Bernstein Modified: January 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm •  Published: January 13, 2012
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It was like a private screening of a new Hollywood movie. Ford had invited a horde of auto journalists from around the country to a suburban hotel in Dearborn, Michigan for a sneak peak of the newest version their best selling sedan, the Fusion. To view the new model everyone had to sign a form which confirmed we’d not write about it till a specific time and date. In journalist-speak it’s called an embargo. And that embargo has just ended.

We were seated in a ballroom converted into a theater in-the-round; following a few perfunctory remarks and with little or no fanfare, hype, laser lights or other hoopla the backdrop opened and the new car appeared then slowly drove forward to a turntable that began revolving slowly as spotlights glinted from its sculptured surface.

Gasp! That’s right, gasp. From a bunch of seasoned, often jaded, tough to impress auto writers there was a moment of silence then an audible gasp followed by applause. Ford has an absolutely gorgeous new sedan It has the potential to be a very big winner in the toughest and most competitive category of cars sold in America – the mid size sedan.

Following the big show the horde was divided into three groups and ushered to a smaller rooms where a series of presentations detailing the attributes, details and raison d’etre of the new sedan based on technology, environment and design.

Here’s what I saw and the key points I took away from the sneak peak glance of the new Fusion.

Styling

They had me at hello, cause I’m a sucker for a pretty face. This is the new face of Ford, okay it’s just a grill, but it sets the style theme of the Fusion – it looks exclusive as it should given the homage it pays to the grill of the once-Ford owned Aston Martin. Fusion’s functional design elements such as headlamps, LED tail lamps and polished exhaust tips communicate enhanced technological capability add to the appeal. The new Fusion will be available in S, SE and range-topping Titanium models.

Fuel & Environmental

Choices, choices and still more choices for those environmentally and economically concerned. The new Ford Fusion is the first sedan to offer gasoline – including a pair of EcoBoost™ four-cylinder engines, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, each with expected top fuel economy Ford has a serious commitment to be the fuel-efficiency leader – or among the leaders – with each new model brought to market.

Additionally, the new sedan has an automatic start-stop system to shut off the engine at stationary idle, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive applications, and a choice between automatic and manually shifted six-speed transmissions.

Technology

There’s technology and then there’s Ford human interface technology that even luddites can understand, comprehend and use. Ford calls it the power of voice. The all-new Fusion offers the latest iteration of Ford’s award-winning, industry-exclusive SYNC® communications and entertainment system, which enables voice-activated communication through a driver’s mobile phone and interaction with the car’s audio system.

Fusion also offers the latest version of MyFord Touch®, allowing a driver to interact with vehicle systems through voice control, a touch screen tap or a conventional button. Responding to customers’ complaints Ford recently improved the graphics and interface of this system. Both SYNC and MyFord Touch – powered by SYNC – help reduce the potential for driver distraction through voice-controlled functionality, allowing drivers to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Interior

If there were an automotive version of consumer focused interior designer and architecture publications, the Fusion would get a top spot. It’s only fair auto designers have given more than a cursory look at the place where we spend most of time – inside our cars. The Fusion has a sporty but classy, driver-oriented environment with excellent new seating that brings expanded functionality. A higher center console supports the driver-centric theme and offers more than adequate storage.

But passengers are not among the lost.

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