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325-hp Ford Fusion Sport fills ?unmet needs? of midsize buyers

Ford has sold a Fusion Sport in generations past, but the trim descriptor has been historically misleading. “Sport” in the case of the 2017 car has some real power behind it: 325 horsepower, in fact. "Based on customer feedback, this is one of the big unmet needs.”

There’s nothing like it on the market today. Chrysler offers the 200 S V6 with 295 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, but that still significantly lags the Sport’s 325/350 output.

Chief Program Engineer Bill Strickland told me that the marketplace is asking for it. “We think, based on customer feedback, this is one of the big unmet needs.”

Starting at $34,350 (when it goes on sale this summer), those customers will have to be willing to pony up to nearly the top of the segment pricing as it exists now. But doing so will get them what sounds like a credible sports sedan, with continuously controlled damping, bigger brakes front and rear, a unique wheel/tire package with an available summer tire, and of course all-wheel drive.
It suits what Strickland believes his customers are looking for, “Not necessarily a track-ready car, but more performance, more fun to drive.”
With the critical success of the recent Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST, the creation of this very able Sport model does make me wonder: Why not a Fusion ST?

Strickland again references Ford’s market research, saying simply, “That’s not what our customer base wants.” Right now the Fusion Sport isn’t a “track-ready” product that engineers would require before the ST badge was applied, with work done on extended cooling performance, amongst other elements. The team hasn’t ruled out an ST tune of the Fusion, of course: “Who knows, maybe in the future.”

Proof of its ability to deliver back-road smiles will have to wait until I can get a test behind the wheel of the Fusion, but I’ll admit to being excited for that drive. And I’m not alone; apparently shakedown drives of the Fusion Sport have been in high demand in the Ford executive and engineering circles. Even the guys building the cars crave some excitement in the world of midsize sedans, it seems.
 

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I always see it as them leaving room for something more potent if the market shows it's ready for something above the sport. So who knows, maybe a year into the Sport being on the market we'll see/hear something about the ST.
 

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I think they'll just let it run for a year or so before introducing the ST right before the following year. Let people get a feel of the Sport first and turn it up a notch to keep the attention
 

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That's what I was thinking since right now it seems to almost be a case of them testing the waters to see what the Fusion can already do before kicking it up a notch. Then there's the rest of what Ford Performance has going on that can potentially set the stage for a more potent Fusion to come to market
 

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I have a feeling this is gonna be real exciting. The Fusion has come a darn long way, I never expected it to turn out like this
 

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It sure has, and what we're seeing now of it has me thinking if this is what they had planned from the start or if it's something that they just added with the growth of their Ford Performance division. It is after all a good vehicle to fill in the spot where a performance sedan could go, it's a quick response to bring something to market.
 

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I personally don't think this is what they had planned from the start, only because when the fusion came out initially in 2006 (september 2005), it was nothing but your everyday commuter car. No styling at all, even for that era. It wasn't until like 7 years later, we seen one that actually looked good lol. But you're right, this is a great vehicle to fill the spot of a performance sedan.
 

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Right now, only the Ford Focus and Fiesta has a ST variant. Seems like it's more of a compact vehicle offering than a larger sedan.
 

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I just went from a '13 Focus ST3 with Ford racing upgrades to the '17 Fusion Sport (picked up yesterday). Higher end on the comfort and ride but with very nice Zoom Zoom feel. It's not an ST for sure but it a very able bodied steed. The base model will blow you away with all items it comes with. Duel power heated seats, leather,remote start,LED Lights, 9 speakers ect. A super value for the money.
 

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exterior speaking, nothing on the fusion sport says ST. personally I think it looks like a rental but I think Ford did that on purpose to attract more people instead of push them away from the vehicle with aggressive sports looks.
 

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exterior speaking, nothing on the fusion sport says ST. personally I think it looks like a rental but I think Ford did that on purpose to attract more people instead of push them away from the vehicle with aggressive sports looks.
I confess to being one of the people that would be pushed away by too many tacked on spoilers, scoops, etc. I like the understated sportiness of the FS; I don't want it to look like the cars I drew on the back of my notebooks in high school. It would be nice if there was maybe an appearance package to amp up the sporty looks for those who want it though.
 

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I honestly dont think Ford would make a Fusion ST for the same reason we dont have a Taurus ST, its a 4 door family sedan. The market of people looking for a track ready car generally dont look at 4 door family sedans. A track ready car comes with a lot of sacrifices to comfort that most of the people who buy a Fusion are looking for. The Fusion ST will never have the market that say the STI or EVO has, it just wont. The Fusion Sport can weigh as much as 42000 lbs, nothing about its weight makes it a track car. To get the weight down low enough to be a track ready car would take a lot of redesign and work that would basically turn the Fusion ST into an entirely different car, not just a trim. Then look at the price, a Fusion ST is going to cost a lot, more than a Fusion Sport. At a base price of 34.5K for a Fusion Sport I could have gotten an STI or an EVO and had a much better, well matured track ready car.
 

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I don't mind the small spoilers. I don't mind bigger ones if they serve a purpose. When I ordered the Fusion I was debating between it and an Evo. I don't mind the wing on that. But seeing these goofy ass three foot tall wings wobbling in the wind on little hondas and toyotas and such, I just can't help but laugh.
 

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I like a small subtle wing on a car, like what the Fusion has. One thing I wish the car did have those was a more aggressive looking front, It needs to be just a little meaner. I would actually like a small hood scoop on the Fusion Sport. Nothing like an STI or Shaker hood, but just that small little slit style hood scoop you see on Dodge cars from the factory.
 

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I vote that the Fusion and Taurus lines be merged into the rebirth of the Torino. That opens the door for a GT badge, as well as others. Could you imagine a 4.27 Ecoboost Cobra Jet?

Mind=Blown
 

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I would actually like a small hood scoop on the Fusion Sport. Nothing like an STI or Shaker hood, but just that small little slit style hood scoop you see on Dodge cars from the factory.
If they could some how engineer it to be functional and not look cheesy as all ****, I'd be game. These forced induction engines can use all the help they can get to get air in and stay cool. But a "just for the looks" inlet with no function wouldn't do it for me.... but I like where your head is at.
 

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If they could some how engineer it to be functional and not look cheesy as all ****, I'd be game. These forced induction engines can use all the help they can get to get air in and stay cool. But a "just for the looks" inlet with no function wouldn't do it for me.... but I like where your head is at.
I'd be game for a gt350-style hood with a central vent upfront.
 
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