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Ford gave the 2010 Fusion a fine facelift

2010 Ford Fusion.

Ted Laturnus/The Globe and Mail

In 2010, the Ford Fusion received a mild makeover and a revised drivetrain. You could get it with a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, plus a choice of two V-6s and a hybrid. Ford also introduced a new six-speed transmission this year, and there was an all-wheel-drive version, so it was covering all the bases.

The AWD version was intriguing. It came with the largest engine of the bunch – a 3.5-litre V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic – which was the only choice with this model, and you had more than 260 horsepower at your disposal. The AWD Fusion was the latest in a line of AWD sedans Ford had offered as an option – albeit on an irregular basis – going back to the old Tempo/Topaz line. Fortunately, it fared better than its predecessors, which couldn't get out of their own way. The downside was that it had inferior fuel economy and the V-6 was discontinued after the 2012 model year.

Elsewhere, the 2010 Fusion featured a tastefully revised interior, with available leather upholstery. Equipment level was also upgraded; depending on the model, you could get heated front seats, a sunroof, rear-view camera, 18-inch wheels and tires, a blind spot warning (the same system found in some Volvos), dual-zone climate control and Ford's Sync media system. With a nifty dash-mounted storage bin and abundance of cup-holders and various storage nooks and crannies, this edition of the Fusion was a well-appointed, moderately upscale sedan.

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Although it lacked the seat-of-the-pants, visceral driving sensation that manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Acura and so on seem to build in so effortlessly, the V-6 Fusion could handle itself reasonably well. Still a little too cumbersome to be taken seriously as a sport sedan, but more than enough for most buyers in this segment of the market.

Ergonomics were also subtly improved, with good entry and exit, and plenty of interior elbow room – all things buyers of mid-size sedans look for. As far as these models go, the Fusion was equal to the competition, which included the Camry, Accord and Malibu.

Three safety recalls from Transport Canada to report. These include an inability to get the autobox into Park due to a defective shift rod, a possibly wonky seat recliner mechanism, and optional 17-inch wheels that could fail, come loose due to faulty studs and result in – well, you can imagine.

To this we can add some 23 technical service bulletins from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These range from hard starting complaints after refuelling, to fluctuating engine idle speeds, to mysterious "electronic noises" emanating from under the dash, to various diagnostic issues. There also are an abundance of problems with the throttle body fuel injection system, which can fail prematurely. Comments from owners: "I spent $250 to clean it [the throttle body] because cleaning is not covered under warranty," "When the weather gets below freezing, the parking brake freezes" and "Transmission slips gears and engages very hard."

Still, Consumer Reports likes the Fusion, giving it the magazine's "Good Bet" seal of approval. That said, problem areas include the automatic transmission and fuel and electrical systems, and the hybrid version fares better than its stablemates. Especially the V-6/AWD models, which seem to be plagued with various mechanical issues. The four-cylinder models receive an "average" grade here. More comments from owners: "Transmission (manual) shot at 112K," "Sometimes engine turns over, does not start," "Centrestack is very poorly designed" and "Mileage [hybrid] not as advertised."

Market research firm J.D. Power, meanwhile, gives the '10 Fusion its top rating for overall performance and design as well as for overall dependability. It rates slightly lower for predicted reliability, but is still much better than average, according to this organization.

From a base price of $22,700 in 2010, the Fusion has held up reasonably well. Base S models are in the low to mid teens, while the top-of-the-range SEL is several thousand more. The V-6-equipped AWD models are valued at $4,000-$,5000 more than their FWD counterparts, and the hybrid version is in the mid to high teens.

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Tech specs

2010 Ford Fusion

Original Base Price: $22,799; Black Book: $11,175-$17,550; Red Book: $12,650-$19,200

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder/3.0-litre and 3.5-litre V-6

Horsepower/Torque: 175 hp/172 lb-ft for four; 240 hp/248 lb-ft for 3.0-litre; 263 hp/249 lb-ft for 3.5-litre

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Transmission: Six-speed manual/six-speed automatic/CVT

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.1 city/7.3 highway (3.0 V-6 with automatic); regular gas

Alternatives: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, Mazda6, Saturn Aura, Acura TSX, BMW 323i

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