NAIAS 2016 Reactions: The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport

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If someone had asked me what I would have expected from a hypothetical Ford Fusion ST, I would have said over 300hp with All Wheel Drive. I would have also expected Ford to use the 2.3L Ecoboost from the Mustang and Focus RS, or an upgraded 2.0 Ecoboost.

Well, the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport isn’t “technically” a Ford Fusion ST, but it’s damn close. Most notably, Ford used their new 2.7L Twin Turbo V6 instead of a turbo 4, but 325hp is right where I had hoped the fast Fusion would be. I’m also thrilled they decided to give it AWD instead of asking way too much of the front wheels. That said, there is no manual option, just an 8 speed auto, but that’s just the world we live in, I guess. (Remember, it’s not “technically” an ST model)

The current Ford Fusion is a great handling car, and has been hurting badly for a high performance model. The Fusion Sport answers that call. It’s not a full-fledged ST or RS model, but it certainly has the horsepower, and Ford says it has had some nice handling tweaks as well.

I wouldn’t quite expect the Fusion Sport to be the full-on high performance machine that us purists want, but it will be one hell of a fun, and useful daily driver. Enthusiasts should expect to do further tire and suspension upgrades to get the high-speed cornering composure we desire (like most cars). But 325hp and AWD are a great combination, especially considering the tuning potential of that Twin Turbo EcoBoost V6. I’d guess 400hp will be quite achievable.

The new Fusion Sport joins an updated lineup of Ford Fusion models, and will run buyers around $34,o00, base price. Expect that number to reach or surpass $40,000 with options, but even so, the Fusion Sport is priced quite reasonably for the package it offers.

I see it as either a bargain Audi S4, or a slightly more civilized alternative to a Subaru WRX STI or a Ford Focus RS. Sometimes, when you have kids in the equation, you need a little more space than a little hatchback can offer. If it were me in that situation, this Fusion Sport would look like a splendid way to compromise over a Focus RS.

For non-enthusiasts, the Fusion Sport is just a really nice all-round sedan. It’s got AWD for bad weather, lots of nice features, and a little more punch than the av-er-age bear.

So well done Ford! The Fusion Sport looks like it may really be a solid competitor. Now let’s see if they’ll go ahead and bless us with an actual Fusion ST on top of this car – would a 400hp tune and a manual gearbox be too much to ask?

-Nick Walker

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