The Ford Fusion was a disaster, here’s why I just bought one

Ford Fusion front end

Why the hell would anyone buy a Ford Fusion? It’s a pretty valid question.

When the Ford Fusion launched back in 2002 nobody really seemed to understand it. On paper, it was strangely close to the 5dr Fiesta it shared its chassis with — close enough, in fact, for people to question why it existed at all. And yet the Fusion didn’t get the looks nor the charm of its sportier sibling, and when you consider those were the two things that really made the Fiesta stand out then you being to realise the problem here.

Ford Fusion press shot
The Fusion may have been something of a half-arsed crossover, but I’ve really grown to like it

The USP of the Fusion was its lofty ride height and useful van-like tailgate which went without the obstructive lip of the Fiesta. Its interior introduced slightly more practicality than the Fiesta too thanks to a passenger seat that could fold forwards, additional headroom and a few extra storage areas.

Testers at the time didn’t try and sugar coat reviews of the Fusion as it impacted with Rich Tea levels of mediocrity. Weird looks, floppy handling (at least when compared with a Fiesta) and practical but not practical enough was the general consensus, but the final nail in the coffin for the Fusion was the considerable premium that it held over a 5dr Fiesta hatch.

Ford Fusion press images
Press shots from the launch of the European Ford Fusion

Despite all of this the Fusion went on to enjoy an exceptionally long life before it was phased out in 2012, a full decade after it first made it into brochures at Ford dealerships.

So, why did I end up buying a Ford Fusion?

To put it simply, by failing to buy a Fiesta.

It turns out that the UK is still so fond of Ford’s Fiesta that buying one privately can prove to be a real challenge. Most examples of the Mk6 Fiesta now end up at used car dealerships, with many of those asking well above the odds for average examples. Fusions, on the other hand, are readily available as private sales and often at a fraction of what you’d pay for a Fiesta.

Our Fusion, the Hippo

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The Hippo in all its glory

I spotted our Fusion on Autotrader within a few hours of it being posted online. As a mint one owner example, it had covered just 35,000 miles and had clearly been pampered by its former keeper who had sadly died. With a full Ford service history, recent cambelt replacement and four new Goodyear tyres, it was clear no expense had been spared. After promptly exchanging about two-thirds of the cost of a decent 5dr Fiesta the deal was done and I entered that particular Sunday evening as a Fusion owner.

Quickly dubbed “Hippo” by my girlfriend (come on, look at the face), the Fusion has since gone on to impress pretty much everyone in our family. Its peppy 1.4 litre petrol may not propel it at any significant pace but the shove it does produce is accompanied with a surprisingly good noise (seriously) and it’s capable of returning well over 40 to the gallon.

Reviewers were right to criticise the handling in this car. There’s a lot of grip in the bends but first you have to push past a hell of a lot of body roll to find that out.

Perhaps a more irritating trait of the suspension is its tendency to spike under hard compressions, at times it certainly feels like it has a lot less suspension travel than it appears to have. Despite this, the Hippo tends to bob along most roads just fine. Its steering is never short of feedback and the gearbox is typically Ford in its precision and enjoyable feel. It even has an armrest and ice cold air conditioning.

But that’s not the best thing about this car. The best thing is that, thanks to that funny folding front seat that I touched on earlier, the Hippo managed to swallow an entire step ladder. That’s something that most estates probably would only just be able to do and some certainly could not do it at all. The Hippo is here to stay.

Love/hate the Fusion? Think I’m talking bollocks? Let me know using the comment box below