Few cars have scored such a big hit with an all-new design as the 2013 Ford Fusion. With its coupe-like silhouette and Aston-influenced grille, the sedan helped put Ford back on the list of serious midsize contenders. It even forced Toyota, long proud of its plain vanilla designs, to get serious about styling with the 2015 mid-cycle refresh of its Camry model.
Don’t expect to see anything nearly as radical from Ford next year. In the old days, they called what’s coming for Fusion a mid-cycle “refresh,” but this facelift is modest, at most, and really little more than a nose job.
What you can see, and what you will get is an almost carryover body for the upcoming midsize Ford, including same-same in roof, doors, hood and other major body panels. Changes to the headlights, taillights and rear bumper might be modest enough to be missed by anyone but an owner of the current Fusion model.
Almost all the glass is carryover too – apparently the only change coming there is the loss of the front quarter-windows.
Throw in new shapes in the wheels and you see all you need of the upcoming model’s exterior.
(Click Here to check out spy shots of the all-new 2016 Chrysler Town & Country minivan.)
In keeping with the broad industry trend, Ford is expected to make some improvements to the 2016 Fusion’s interior. While we don’t have pics to show, look for a flat-top instrument panel and a new steering wheel design, among other things. The large touchscreen display will continue to dominate the center stack.
(BMW updates its iconic 3-Series for 2016. Click Here to check it out.)
Among the most significant changes to the interior will be one that you’ll need to start tapping that screen to reveal: the switch to the third-generation Ford Sync infotainment system. The maker promises it will be faster and more intuitive to operate. Making a hands-free call or plugging in a destination should become a lot simpler.
One of the most notable changes is the lack of a traditional shift lever. Word has it the 2016 sedan will go for a rotary knob, ala the Chrysler 200 – which could mean the update Fusion will be one of the first models to share the new 9-speed automatic transmission the maker has developed in a joint venture with General Motors.
Incidentally, there is some debate over whether the facelift will be marked a 2016 or 2017 model. Moving it out as a ’16 would be in keeping with another industry trend towards shorter and shorter lifecycles in competitive segments such as midsize sedans.
(Click Here for a look at the 10 hottest products to debut at the 2015 NY Auto Show.)
Since they both share the same platform – which will be untouched for the mid-cycle refresh – expect to see some modest exterior and interior changes to the Lincoln MKZ for the 2016 or 2017 model-year, as well. The luxury model also will get the updated version of Sync.
(Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this report.)