As America’s interest in sedans continues to wane, Ford has taken an unusual approach to the problem by offering us… yet another sedan. The Detroit-based automaker has seen sales of its iconic Taurus SHO slip away into obscurity over the years, despite the fact that it is an incredible machine right out of the gate and offers very good value for its sticker price. But don’t worry, sedans aren’t going anywhere, for they are a crucial keystone in the automotive market and compact, midsize, and full-size variants will continue to sell no matter what happens. It just may need a little sprucing up from time to time.
This leads us to the artist renderings you see here today, depicting a slightly more aggressive, performance oriented side of the face-lifted Fusion. Everyone by now is familiar with the Focus and Fiesta ST lineup of hot hatches, and the words “Eco” and “Boost” have become so tightly interwoven that it’s impossible to say one without thinking of the other. So with sedan sales struggling and performance car sales on the rise, Ford is forging the two together hoping to boost its sedan sales and sex appeal with a car that will inspire Americans once more to buy a midsize four-door automobile.
Originally reported by AutoGuide, spy shots were posted of a heavily-cloaked Fusion sporting big brakes, a quad exhaust, and some sporty wheels and tires to round things out. While Ford hasn’t revealed what powerplant is being stuffed under the hood, there are predictions that the 2.3 liter 345 horsepower turbocharged engine found in the Focus RS may be the ticket here, along with rumors of the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 motor found in select F-150s.
But without concrete release info and just a handful of spy shots to work with, the only things we can safely say is that it is indeed a sedan, beneath the transparent veil its headlights look undeniably Fusion-ish, and anytime an automaker slaps more than two exhaust tips on a car it means there is some power to be had somewhere in it.
So how is Ford going to pull this one off successfully? Tactfully and tastefully, that’s how. The Fusion is a middle of the road sedan that offers more for the money than one might expect. Like many other models from Ford, it’s had its highs and lows over the years. But ever since it first made its debut a decade ago, critics and drivers alike have made one consistent complaint about it: Where is the performance model?
While Europe may be the only one to ever see a full-blown Fusion ST wagon like the rendering here illustrates, it’s safe to say that building off of what works is going to be the first step for Ford back in the U.S. Car and Driver did give the 2014 model 4 of 5 stars last time around, and says that it “rides like a more expensive car,” all while having “standout styling in a class where most blend in.” Yet the Fusion quickly loses favor in the fun department, because while the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine puts out an acceptable 240 horsepower to all four wheels, it gobbles gas like a V6 but without enough grunt to make its insatiable appetite justifiable.
This is why the previously mentioned spy shots are so exciting: When that Fusion refresh lands early next year, getting our hands on one of these power-hungry sedans for a full-blown review will be priority number one when it comes to Ford products. Designed with bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, ST-spec seats, and boatloads of oomph, a full-blown Fusion ST would be far lighter, nimbler, and cheaper than a Taurus SHO, all while still giving the enthusiast what they want on the highway.
This is quite the roll of the dice for Ford. Making a sport-tuned sedan for this segment has not been attempted since the old Contour SVT was laid to rest after consumer interest plateaued and then plummeted. But despite all this, Americans still want performance vehicles and spending an extra sliver of one’s paycheck every month to have a car that gives you exactly what you want is oftentimes an amenity most of us can afford. It’s kind of like opting for sprinkles on your ice cream cone: It may cost more, and isn’t totally necessary, but you do it anyways, because contrary to common belief, money can buy happiness every now and then. Which is just another reason why a Fusion ST sport sedan could be the cherry on top for Ford next year, making America realize how sweet driving one really can be.