The full-featured Fusion proved the perfect vessel for traveling to Hotlanta in the name of rock ’n roll
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Ford Motor Company
If you have followed my musings for any length of time, you know that there are a few things that move my universe—family, Fords, food, football, rock ’n roll, and travel. Certainly, for readers of this site, it’s the Fords that are the interesting category. Yet, you might have some interests that are outside the garage.
I am happiest when I can satiate several of these interests at once. More often than not, when I step out from behind this keyboard for more than day-to-day stuff, I am likely chasing after something I enjoy.
The best way to combine a few of these pursuits into one is taking a road trip. There might not be a better way to see the country. If you have the time, you can go off the usual path and check out the places the locals love. However, even a drive you can handle in a day will make for an adventure.
When I learned that Jon Oliva’s Pain would be celebrating Savatage’s epic concept album “Streets” by playing it in its entirety at the annual ProgPower USA festival in Atlanta, Georgia, I knew that I was making a road trip. Now, you might not have heard of Savatage, but you have undoubtedly heard of the Trans Siberian Orchestra, which sells out arenas across the land during the holidays. Well, Jon Oliva is the musical mastermind behind JOP, Savatage, and TSO.
If you aren’t into hard rock or metal, this isn’t a big deal to you, but for me the best road trips have a destination. Whether you are setting out to see a sporting event, visiting family, or watching a concert, hopping in a car and hitting the road with that target in mind gives you the opportunity to enjoy a nice drive and do a little exploring.
For this weekend adventure, I picked up a 2014 Fusion Titanium right before its time in the press fleet expired. I can still remember getting a peek at the Fusion redesign up in Dearborn, and I loved the way the car looked. However, in all my travels I had not had the chance to drive one for an extended period. So, a trip to Atlanta was a great opportunity.
Now this wasn’t just any Fusion. It was Titanium brimming with all the latest technological advancements. It sported a full complement of options, like active park assist, adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot Information System, cross-traffic alert, and the lane-keeping system.
All these systems will keep you on your toes. In fact, if you get distracted behind the wheel, there’s a warning that shows a coffee cup on the dash suggesting you should get some rest. (So, I might have glanced at my phone for a second, you don’t have to get fussy about it.) However, the most useful options on my road trip were the navigation and the air-conditioned seats. After all, you have to get there, and it’s nice to keep your hindquarters cool on a long journey.
The actual driving was quite good. Ford ratcheted up the handling of all its cars over the years. Now the Fusion is reasonably plush, but it gets around corners pretty well if you urge it on. That insistence is courtesy of an EcoBoost 2.0-liter pumping out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Down a bit on power to the same engine in the Focus ST, this output seems adequate if not scintillating pushing a 3,681-pound ride with all-wheel-drive.
While it would be great to see a Fusion ST come to fruition, all-out performance wasn’t a requirement weekend road trip. The ride was quite comfortable, the tech got me there safely, and it had plenty of room for all of our gear. Better yet, despite some spirited passing antics, the Fusion pulled down a respectable 28.9 mpg. You want the ride to be fun, but when you are on a road trip you don’t want to sweat how much gas you are burning.
In the end, I am not really a sedan guy. I always feel like I should be wearing a suit and driving into an office for the “big meeting” when I pilot one. However, if you have need for a comfortable daily with all the toys, the Fusion Titanium is a nice ride.