What Changed for 2008:
- Ford Sync communications and entertainment system now offered
- Optional Sport Appearance package adds firmer suspension, interior and exterior trim, and 18-inch wheels
- Anti-lock brakes (ABS) now standard on all models
- Tire-pressure monitor becomes standard equipment
- Rear park assist becomes optional
- Available navigation system adds voice activation
- Keypad entry becomes standard on SEL models
- Ambient lighting added as an option
Ford introduced the Fusion, a midsize 4-door sedan, for the 2006 model year to replace the Taurus and compete against the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. The full-size Five Hundred has since taken on the Taurus name. Based on the Mazda6, the Fusion also shares its architecture with the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln MKZ. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (FWD and AWD) are offered. Front-drive models come with 4-cylinder or V-6 power, while AWD Fusions are only available with the V-6 engine. Fusion has seating for 5, and has 15.8 cubic feet of cargo volume in the trunk, but storage space can be expanded thanks to folding rear seats and an available fold-flat front passenger seat.
The 2008 Ford Fusion comes in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. All offer FWD, and SE and SEL are available with AWD. The S comes with cloth upholstery; 4-way manually adjustable driver's seat; 60/40 split folding rear seat; air conditioning; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; power locks, windows and mirrors; remote keyless entry; 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; theft-deterrent system; and P205/60R16 tires on steel wheels. The SE adds a 6-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar adjustment; fold-flat front passenger seat; steering wheel audio controls; fog lamps, 6-disc CD changer; two additional speakers; trip computer; and aluminum wheels. The SEL gets automatic headlights; automatic climate control; leather wrapped steering wheel; heated outside mirrors; keypad entry; auto-dimming rearview mirror; and P225/50R17 tires on aluminum wheels.
Options start with two new offerings for 2008: Ford Sync communications and entertainment system and a Sport Appearance package. Offered for 2WD V-6 engine models, the Sport package includes sport suspension; black chrome grille; rear lip spoiler; P225/45R18 tires on aluminum wheels; dual chrome exhaust tips; a brushed aluminum radio surround; red seat inserts; and red stitching on the seats, steering wheel and center console. Other options include leather upholstery; a DVD-based navigation system that adds voice-activation for 2008; Sirius satellite radio; heated front seats; sunroof; and an Audiophile stereo with 6-disc CD changer and 8 speakers. Also offered is Ford's ambient lighting, which illuminates the front cupholders and front and rear footwells in one of seven colors.
The 2008 Ford Fusion is based on the same CD3 platform that underpins the Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ and Mazda6. All those models except the MKZ also share the Fusion's engines. The base engine is a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder that makes 160 hp at 6250 rpm and 156 lb.-ft. of torque at 4250 rpm. Optional is Ford's Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 221 hp at 6250 rpm and 205 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The 4-cylinder comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, and a 5-speed automatic transmission is optional. The V-6 comes only with a 6-speed automatic. Ford also sells a PZEV (partial zero-emission vehicle) version featuring the 4-cylinder/automatic powertrain combination for California buyers. Front-wheel drive is offered with both engines, and the V-6 is available with all-wheel drive (AWD). EPA fuel economy ratings are 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway for the 4-cylinder engine with the manual transmission; 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway for the 4-cylinder engine with the 5-speed automatic transmission; 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway for the V-6 engine with FWD; and 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway for the V-6 with AWD. A hybrid version of the Fusion is in the works. It will most likely be released in 2008 as a 2009 model.
Standard safety features on the 2008 Ford Fusion include dual-stage front air bags; seat-mounted, torso-protecting front side air bags; head-protecting side curtain air bags; a tire-pressure monitor; and, for 2008, anti-lock brakes. Traction control is standard on AWD models and optional on SE and SEL FWD models. Rear park assist is optional. In tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Ford Fusion earned 4-star ratings for the driver and front passenger for front impacts, a 5-star rating for the driver and a 4-star rating for rear passengers in side impacts, and a 4-star rating for rollover resistance.
Developed with Microsoft, Ford Sync provides a hands-free link to cell phones and MP3 players through a series of voice commands. It recognizes your cell phone's phonebook. It can read incoming text messages through the stereo system and allows occupants to respond with one of 15 predetermined messages. When an MP3 player is plugged in, Sync charges it and has access to the complete playlist. Occupants can tell Sync to play a specific song, artist, or genre of music. Sync will also stream songs wirelessly from a source like a phone/MP3 player enabled with Bluetooth technology.