Ford's midsize family cars have typically been comfortable and safe, although not up to the class leaders in terms of performance and refinement. A few years ago, the company brought the Fusion to market, intent on improving its competitiveness in the segment. Based on a larger version of the Mazda 6 platform, the Fusion combined the 6's athleticism with more passenger room than its Japanese cousin.
As such, the 2008 Ford Fusion is defined by its handsome styling, sporty handling character and spacious cabin. The availability of all-wheel drive gives it an advantage for those who live in climates prone to frequent rain and snow. There are a few upgrades for '08 to be aware of as well. Notably, the Ford Sync (no, it's not the carmaker's in-house boy band) is a system that integrates personal devices into the Fusion's center stack controls and display. With Sync, drivers and passengers can access and operate their cell phones, PDAs, USB storage devices, iPods or other MP3 players using voice commands. The cell phone's address book is also wirelessly and automatically transferred to the vehicle.
However, a couple of weak areas continue to keep the Fusion from getting to the head of the class. Stability control, a key safety feature, is not offered. And although decent performers, neither the base four-cylinder nor the optional V6 can challenge the competition in terms of all-out acceleration and refinement. As such, all-star sedans like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry are still better and more polished cars. But they do cost more. When compared to more similarly priced models like the Chevy Malibu, Chrysler Sebring, Hyundai Sonata and Saturn Aura, the 2008 Ford Fusion ranks quite well and breaks Ford out of its midsize sedan funk.