With its Aston Martin-esque styling, the 2017 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan remains a comfortable, spacious, and good-looking entry in an especially competitive segment. It competes with the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry.

This year, the Fusion gets a light refresh that includes mildly updated styling front and rear, some upgrades to the interior, a new Platinum top-end trim level, and a new performance model called the Fusion Sport which has so far not been seen on Nigerian roads.

The profile, stance, and details of the Fusion continue to make it one of the more attractive cars among mid-size sedans. The fastback shape looks especially dashing in darker colors. This year, the grille is slightly wider and sleeker, and new LED headlamps join the LED taillamps. A new chrome strip at the rear adds “elegant imagery,” and there are new wheel designs as well.

For 2017, the Fusion adds a fifth powertrain option, a new twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 in the Fusion Sport model that puts out 325-horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, and is considerably more powerful than larger V-6 engines in the Accord and Camry. It gets continuously controlled damping that detects potholes and adjusts the damping to reduce their impact. The Fusion Sport is quite fast in a straight line, but it adds a lot of weight over the nose so it doesn’t handle like a full-blown sport sedan.

The base powertrain remains a 178-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission, with only adequate performance that doesn’t live up to the rakish design. Then there’s a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbo-4 coupled to the same automatic transmission; offering a more rewarding drive that can deliver great real-world gas mileage. The 1.5-liter engine comes with stop-start system as standard.

The previous top-of-the-line engine was the 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo inline-4, which puts 270 lb-ft of torque and substituted well for the V-6 of similar output that it supplanted. This is the engine you’ll get if you want the Fusion with optional all-wheel drive (unless you go for the hot-rod Fusion Sport, on which it’s standard).

Finally, the fuel-efficient (but still responsive) Fusion Hybrid and its plug-in sibling, the Fusion Energi both earn ratings of more than 40 mpg combined from the EPA. They’re covered in a separate review.

The ride and handling of the Fusion is top-notch for the class. The taut, absorbent steering is well-tuned, and the car corners in a firm, flat, and reassuring manner. But ride quality isn’t hurt by the handling, and most versions feel eager and nimble—unlike many mid-size sedan competitors.

Fusion comfort, safety, and features.

Inside the Fusion, the interior conveys an impression of quality. The materials look and feel substantial, the noise is well damped and vibrations are suppressed, and subtle cues like the sound and feel of the doors as they open and close combine to indicate a solid, well-built, and high-quality vehicle.

Changes this year include a redesigned console with a rotary gear-selector knob, freeing up space for more storage, and Ford says the cupholders are more ergonomically place. Repositioned USB ports are now illuminated as well, and the 2017 Fusion is fitted with the latest Sync 3 version of Ford’s interactive infotainment system.

Even the manually adjusted front seats in the base model are comfortable and supportive, and rear leg room is sufficient for four adults to ride comfortably, or five in a pinch. Head room is good as long as you avoid the sunroof, which cuts significantly into vertical space, especially in the rear. And Ford has provided ample and useful storage space in the doors and center console.

Previous models of the Fusion have received good, but not quite top-tier, ratings from safety agencies. For 2017, Ford has added a slew of new electronic safety systems, bringing the Fusion up to par with its most advanced competitors.

These include adaptive cruise control that works down to a full stop and back up to speed; pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection; a lane-keeping system; driver alerts for drowsiness; and an enhanced Park Assist that now includes perpendicular as well as parallel parking. It continues to offer the innovative inflatable rear seatbelt system that’s been offered on some of Ford’s crossovers.

The Platinum trim gets hand-wrapped leather for its steering wheel, instrument panel, and door trim. It has its own grille, as well as special 19-inch alloy wheels.

The new Fusion Sport gets some unique styling to set it apart from more pedestrian Fusions. These include its own 19-inch wheels, steering wheel shift paddles, LED fog lamps, a rear spoiler, aluminum pedals, leather and synthetic suede sport seats, and active noise cancellation.

Fusion prices for 2017 start at around N15m the base S trim level, and move up through a top end of roughly N18m for the Fusion Titanium trim level.

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