2017 Ford Fusion Sport: Notes and AWD Traction Test

Here’s the new 2017 Ford Fusion Sport: packing heat with a twin-turbo engine, and attacking my Northern Ontario locale’s wintry conditions with an All Wheel Drive (AWD) system that knows what it’s doing.

This one’s fast: in fact, with 325 horsepower and nearly 400 lb.-ft of torque, it leaves virtually all mainstream family sedans in the dust. For some shoppers, Fusion Sport represents cut-price access to performance more on par with something like an Audi S4 or a BMW 340i.

An internet Subaru expert attacked my Instagram feed (@mr2pritch), ranting about how the Fusion Sport’s All Wheel Drive system ‘sucks at getting power to the rear wheels‘, which is incorrect, and you can see why, in the video response I created below.

2017 Ford Fusion Sport: Slip and Grip AWD? That’s a great big negative.

As a package, the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport is one of my favorite things: a discreet, relatively affordable, quiet-looking, sports tuned sedan with some pretty significant guts—and All Wheel Drive—so it’s ready to give you access to that improved performance, all year round.

Filling the engine compartment more tightly than Sofia Vergara’s yoga pants is the Ford 2.7 litre EcoBoost V6, with twin turbos, good for 325 horsepower and 380 pounds of torque, which is a PILE. There’s a six-speed automatic as standard. No manual is available, which makes me sad, but there is All Wheel Drive, which is a happy thing. The tester wore proper winter tires on its upgraded wheels, and behind those, are upgraded brakes, and behind those, upgraded sway bars and suspension. So Fusion Sport gets you more than a bigger engine and some flashy wheels.

Interestingly, the best thing about this rocket-Fusion isn’t even it’s performance: it’s the ride quality. That’s thanks to special dampers that can adjust every 2 milliseconds, and even detect and pre-compensate for potholes. Fusion Sport’s ride is taut, and tightly sprung, sure: you feel when you’re on a bumpy road, and when you click SPORT mode, down on the little rotary shifter mechanism, the feel is authentic as everything tightens up and gets all feisty. Usually cars with this big an appetite for curves ride like an overloaded wheelbarrow full of rocks, and bash your spine to heck. Here, the suspension turns big bumps into little ones, and virtually eliminates body motions caused by uneven roads. On one hand, it’s entertaining and sharp and authentically lively driven hard. And on the other, if you blindfolded me, drove me down a crappy road, and told me I was in an 70 thousand dollar Lexus, I would believe you.

In all, it’s got the moves, the handling, the steering and the thrust to impress even very sporty drivers, though some will find it a set of sports seats, and an instrument cluster, and some interior revisions away from being a totally compelling package. If you’d rather drive a performance car that really only reveals itself when you drop the hammer, you’ll like what’s happening.

Winter ready fun, with twin-turbo torque galore starts around $42,000. Look for the full review and review video coming soon.

The Sticky: 2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Engine: 2.7 litre V6, twin turbo, 325 horsepower

Drivetrain: AWD

Observed Mileage: NA

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shift

Features: Ford Sync, automatic climate control, remote start, SONY stereo system, navigation, interior ambient mood lighting, keyless access

What’s Hot: Excellent ride and handling balance, feels light and eager when pushed, AWD system knows what it’s doing, confident in lousy weather, goes like the wind

What’s Not: paddle shifters too slow to respond, needs a more authentic engine sound, interior and seats aren’t on par with the rest of the car’s sportiness

Starting Price (Fusion Sport AWD): $42,288