The Ford Fusion Sport aims to shake up the mid-size sedan segment.

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

Despite a market being traditionally dominated by compacts and crossovers, mid-size sedans are enjoying something of a summer surge in Canada, lead by the Ford Fusion. Long one of the most popular models in its segment, the heavily-revised 2017 Ford Fusion continues to play up the versatility that has kept it at the front of the 4-door pack alongside luminaries such as the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Chevrolet Malibu.

We had the chance to slip behind the wheel of the refreshed Fusion for a couple of days spent traipsing through the roads that criss-cross the Laurentian mountain just north of Montreal, which offered ample time to understand the appeal of the Blue Oval's mid-sizer.

 

2017 Ford Fusion

Rounding out the list of usual suspects is a brand new addition to the Fusion family - a 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that's good for a startling 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque in the Sport model.

The biggest changes for the 2017 Ford Fusion can be found between the front fenders, where the automaker has updated the range of engines available with the car. The Fusion is unique in its class as it offers a total of four gasoline power plants on the options sheet, including a trio of 4-cylinder units: a carry-over 175 horsepower 2.5-litre, a 181 hp 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo, and a 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo that gains five extra ponies and five additional lb-ft of twist to land at 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque for the current model year.

Rounding out the list of usual suspects is a brand new addition to the Fusion family - a 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that's good for a startling 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque in the Sport model. You won't find those numbers anywhere else among mid-size sedans unless you step up to the luxury world and settle into a BMW, Audi, or Infiniti, which means the Fusion Sport (which also comes standard with all-wheel drive and a continuously-controlled suspension system) is poised to obliterate the competition from a performance perspective. 

 

2017 Ford Fusion

As compared to the Energi, the 2.0-litre EcoBoost is a much more common sight on Canadian roads

Ford did have several examples of both the 2.0-litre turbo Fusion and the plug-in Fusion Energi on hand, however, which represent two very different poles in the popularity department. Checking in at just two percent of total sales, the Energi PHEV is nevertheless the most efficient version of the Fusion available, sipping fuel at the reduced rate of 5.6 L/100 km when used as a traditional hybrid (a figure that's almost identical to the base Ford Fusion Hybrid's performance).

You also get a surprisingly capable EV mode with the Energi model thanks to its 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, which offers 35 kilometres of electric-only driving at speeds of up to 135 km/h. Unlike earlier plug-in hybrids, the Fusion Energi's setup has been refined to the point where accessing its EV capabilities is rather easy - but you'll have to settle for a paltry188 horsepower when in standard hybrid mode, as the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder / single electric motor setup in the car isn't quite as robust as other mid-size hybrids.

As compared to the Energi, the 2.0-litre EcoBoost is a much more common sight on Canadian roads, making up close to a third of all sales (with the rest evenly split between base and 1.5-litre EcoBoost models). It's easy to understand why, as the car's ability to balance good day-to-day performance with reasonable fuel efficiency (9.6 L/100 km combined) and an affordable starting price ($29,588) makes it a solid all-around option. The 2.0-litre Fusion is also the only mid-size model outside the premium space to offer a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive, both of which come with a 6-speed automatic transmission (included with each and every gas-only Fusion).

 

2017 Ford Fusion

There really wasn't any pressing need to make sweeping changes to the very successful Ford Fusion formula

On the twisting curves of Highway 327, the two-lane road that leads in and out of Mont Tremblant's ski and vacation resort area, the 2017 Ford Fusion proved why it's been consistently ranked as one of the more driver-friendly options in a segment that for many years was populated by milquetoast denizens just happen to shuttle you along your commute as quietly and numbly as possible. Not quite a performance sedan, to be sure - we'll have to wait for the Fusion Sport to see how far Ford can push the car's platform from a dynamics perspective - it still shows you a better time than you'd expect.

A 'better time' is also to be had inside the new Platinum edition of the Ford Fusion, which steps in as the latest weapon in the brand's push towards more profit-friendly pastures. Featuring upgraded leather, a host of active safety technologies, and a full suite of electronic comforts (including the much-improved SYNC 3 infotainment system), the Fusion Platinum manages to coddle without completely overlapping into Lincoln territory (see: the also-new 2017 MKZ). The styling changes inside the car, including a revised centre console, are as restrained as the updates made to the Fusion's already pleasing sheet metal. Look for LED headlights available on pricier editions of the sedan and subtle grille variations as compared to previous models.

 

2017 Ford Fusion

The new Platinum edition of the Ford Fusion steps in as the latest weapon in the brand's push towards more profit-friendly pastures.

There really wasn't any pressing need to make sweeping changes to the very successful Ford Fusion formula, but choosing 2017 to bring a few nips, tucks, and tweaks to the line-up helps keep the car from feeling flat-footed among its well-groomed mid-size sedan rivals. The Fusion Sport and its AWD turbo reign of terror is without question the biggest splash made by this mid-cycle refresh, and it's a fascinating departure from the standard Ford playbook. If the Sport sparks a resurgence in affordable speed in a 4-door, family-friendly package, then we might not have to wait long for a response from Chevrolet, which could in theory release a mighty 6-cylinder turbocharged Malibu of its own to defend its honour in mall parking lots and highway entrance ramps around the country. At the very least, the existence of a 325 horsepower Fusion has got to have more than a few product planners scheming as to how they can shift the spotlight back towards their otherwise-sensible workhorses.

 

2017 Ford Fusion

 

ENGINE

2.5-litre 4-cylinder / 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo / 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo / 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 / 2.0-litre 4-cylinder hybrid

OUTPUT

175 hp / 175 lb-ft & 181 hp / 185 lb-ft / 245 hp / 275 lb-ft & 325 hp / 380 lb-ft & 188 hp

TRANSMISSION

6-speed automatic & CVT (Hybrid)

0-100 KMH

N/A (4.7 seconds VT TT est.)

TOP SPEED

N/A

FUEL ECONOMY

11.3 L/100 km City / 7.5 L/100 km Highway & 10.0 L/100 km City / 7.0 L/100 km Highway & 11.2 L/100 km City / 7.6 L/100 km Highway & NA & 5.5 L/100 km City / 5.7 L/100 km Highway

WEIGHT

1,559 kilograms (3,431 lbs) base model

SEATING CAPACITY

5

CARGO VOLUME

453 litres (16 cubic feet) & 340 litres (12 cubic feet) Hybrid & 232 litres (8.2 cubic feet) Energi

BASE PRICE

$23,688

AS-TESTED PRICE

$45,088

 

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