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Updated 2017 Ford Fusion to Expand Range of Offerings

New Sport model, third EcoBoost engine added to line-up.

by on Jan.11, 2016

The Ford Fusion Sport gets an exterior facelift for the 2017 model year that stays close to the current look.

Success can be a major obstacle, especially when you’re trying to come up with an update of a car like the wildly popular Ford Fusion.

The distinctive styling of the current model helped redefine the midsize sedan market, forcing even Toyota to rethink the plain vanilla approach to its segment dominant Camry sedan. But Ford has also struggled with what to do with the Fusion’s mid-cycle update.

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The results will be seen at the North American International Auto Show. The 2017 Ford Fusion largely maintains the design formula that has helped it double sales since the nameplate was first introduced a decade ago. But the Detroit maker is playing several other cards it hopes will further boost demand – including the addition of a new Fusion Sport model that gets the line’s third EcoBoost engine.

In fact, there will now be six separate powertrain options for Ford Fusion buyers, from the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four found in base S and SE models up to the Fusion Sport’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost. Ford will continue to offer both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid package for 2017 Fusion buyers, as well.

The Ford Fusion is gaining sales in a very competitive segment with the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

Ford sold more than 300,000 of the sedans last year. And while it still lags both the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, “We’ve closed the gap tremendously,” boasts Wade Jackson, the Fusion’s marketing manager.

Last year alone, Fusion accounted for 13% of the midsize sedan’s overall market and 11.2% of retail sales. It has shaved the share gap with the Camry by 9 points in recent years, lagging behind by only five points in 2015.

That’s considered a major reason why Toyota made the unusual move of completely revising the design of the Camry mid-cycle, rather than undergoing the normally minimal “refresh.”

Ironically, it’s Fusion that gets just a modest tweak for the 2017 model-year. And the primary focus is on its distinctive, Aston-like grille. It grows a little larger for the coming year, and a little more pronounced, the front fascia tapering back rather sharply. The new Fusion also offers not only LED daytime running lights but LED headlamps. They’re standard gear on Sport and Platinum models, optional otherwise.

The Sport’s 2.7-liter TwinTurbo EcoBoost is paired to a specially tuned 6-speed automatic and an all-wheel-drive system.

(Ford finds way to boost bottom line by $1.5 billion. For more, Click Here.)

With the addition of the 2017 Fusion Sport, Ford offers an alternative – but one comparably priced – to the Fusion Platinum.

The Sport’s 2.7-liter TwinTurbo EcoBoost is paired to a specially tuned 6-speed automatic and an all-wheel-drive system. It needs it to handle the added muscle, the engine turning out 325 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque – more than even the BMW 325i, notes Fusion Chief Engineer Bill Strickland.

The Fusion Sport boasts larger brakes than the rest of the sedan’s sibling models. It gets a new pothole detection system that works with the CCD electronically adjustable suspension system. It’s fast enough to detect changes in road condition or driver input ever 3 milliseconds.

Other features include unique 19-inch wheels and tires, an intercooler for the twin turbos – with a larger air intake in the lower front fascia – and quad-tip exhaust pipes. The Fusion Sport also features a distinctive egg crate grille, with lower-line models getting a more standard Ford slat grille.

Ford Fusion buyers will now have access to Sync3, the latest version of Ford’s familiar infotainment system.

(Click Here for more on the mobility plans Ford unveiled at CES.)

The Fusion Sport also gets a unique interior, including seats with more bolstering to keep a driver in place during aggressive maneuvers.

The Sport model shares a number of other changes with the rest of the Fusion line-up, including the rotary gear shift knob, a first for Ford in North America.

Ford Fusion buyers will now have access to Sync3, the latest version of Ford’s familiar infotainment system. With its larger touchscreen, it’s now standard on top-line models, an option elsewhere in the line-up. The new Sync3 will come with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Ford’s proprietary AppLink system, to make it easy to operate smartphone apps from the touchscreen.

There’s plenty of other new technology. Along with current safety systems like Lane Keep Assist, the 2017 Ford Fusion will get Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, and Adaptive Cruise Control with full Stop-and-Go. And the Park Assist system now can handle both parallel and perpendicular spots – and help you get back out of a tight spot.

Along with the base 2.5-liter engine and the Sport’s 2.7-liter twin-turbo, Fusion buyers will have access to the turbocharged 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engines.

Ford is also carrying over its Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid models.

(Ford among automakers enjoying end-of-year sales surge. Click Here for more on December’s numbers.)

The 2017 model will debut this spring at a starting price of $22,995. The Sport will follow shortly after at a starting price of $34,500, while the 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum will go for $37,495. All prices include an $875 delivery fee.

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