Used Ford Fusion
Ford's Fusion struggled to find a target market upon launch in 2002 – but this is less the fault of the car itself than the company's sales strategy. The Ford Fusion is in essence a Fiesta, but taller. It's not quite a supermini but nor is it a mini MPV. The used Ford Fusion is its own class, one that the British public didn't yet know existed or that they needed. Indeed Top Gear, in 2002, awarded it the title of 'Most Pointless Car'. This is rather a shame as the Fusion is well thought out and well engineered – however on the plus side, the poor sales figures mean that a car that was more expensive to buy when new than the Fiesta can now be picked up used for less. For a vehicle with as many virtues as the Fusion, that's a proper bargain.
Bang for your buck
With its increased ride height and beefy styling, the approved used Ford Fusion looks rather rugged but is in fact designed for city living. Some considerable thought has gone into this – bumpers and rubbing strips have been designed to withstand the usual damage found on urban vehicles, the higher driving position offers better visibility than the car's Fiesta progenitor, at 75mm taller and a little longer and narrower. The overall body height and wheel design cope easily with kerbs, speed bumps and urban potholes.
Every inch of space has been maximised in the Ford Fusion interior, where seating room is generous but not at the expense of luggage space, with a number of useful features including usable storage under those higher seats, a flat and lip free rear loading bay for sliding rather than lifting heavy items, with the rear and front passenger seats fold flat in addition to the usual split/fold rear.
Original used Ford Fusion trim levels were badged 1, 2, 3 and + in a deviation from Ford's standard designations. The 1 offered a cassette player, central locking and dual front airbags; the 2 had electric heated mirrors, electric front windows, a CD player and air conditioning; the 3, alloy wheels, front fog lights and alarm, while the range topping + added larger alloys and privacy glass, plus a DVD entertainment system in the rear. Engines were 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel. Later on a rather smart clutchless Durashift sequential manual gearbox was offered, great for city driving.
2005 saw a revision, with cosmetic changes including redesigned head and tail lights, updated grille and bumper arrangement, side mouldings were made thicker and body coloured handles and mirrors featured on certain models. Inside the fascia was smartened up and materials of higher quality used. A brighter colour palette was also offered along with some nice, advanced technology in the form of power-folding mirrors, automatic and 'home-safe' headlamps, automatic windscreen wipers, Bluetooth with voice control, trip computer, MP3 player port and an Electronic Stability Program, plus a return to Ford's more usual Style+, Zetec and Titanium trim designations.
What you'll pay
Poor initial sales figures ensure an excellent bargain on second hand Ford Fusion cars for sale. A 2002 entry level Fusion 1 commands little over £2,000, with plusher versions or the Durashift option adding maybe £500. That's for petrol cars but as usual, diesels are a little more. Second generation models are still a good deal, with an 06 1.6 litre TDCi at around £5,000. Insurance is equally reasonable at groups 4-6.
What to check
As you would expect from a Ford engine on a well proven Fiesta chassis, the Fusion is mechanically sound. Aim for a full service history and check for the wear and tear you usually find in family cars – scruffy carpets and trim damage. Company cars may have high mileage.
This is always the advantage with Ford. Clutch assemblies and alternators are both around £75, front brakes £30 a set and rears £20, replacement headlights around £50 and manual door mirrors the same. A full exhaust is about £120 and a catalyst about £220. A starter motor can be had for £110.
How it drives
Don't be fooled by the used Ford Fusion's height. It handles every bit as well as a Fiesta or Focus. Forgiving suspension doesn't detract from a chassis that enjoys a funky drive. Efficiency is impressive in both petrol and diesel variants but in terms of driving experience aim for the TDCi which, although not world beating at the lights, has muscular torque properties for fun overtaking. If you like the Fiesta but find it a little cramped, the Fusion is a more practical as well as cheaper buy – what's not to like?