2017 Ford Fusion Sport

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Episode 3610
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The 2017 Ford Fusion has gone through a significant fine-tuning of late; and getting right to it, the interior control area has really been cleaned up, with a new rotary shifter, freeing up lots of space in the console. 

Fusion also gains a new high end Platinum trim, boasting more luxury touches than ever before. But even better news, if you’re a fan of actually driving like we are, is the new Fusion Sport.  

It adopts the Edge Sport’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost; putting out 325-horsepower and a very beefy 380 lb-ft. of torque. A new 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift is included, and all-wheel-drive is standard. 

Basic suspension hardware is thoroughly addressed with stiffer springs, bigger anti-roll bars, and wider 235/40 Good Year Eagle F1 tires on 19-inch dark-finished alloys. Summer-only tires are also available. 

But, it is the solenoid valve controlled continuous damping system we applaud most, a first for this segment, with pothole detection that instantly adjusts fluid flow to minimize impact. It provided a notably smoother ride than typical for an affordable four-door. 

When Sport mode is dialed up reaction becomes more aggressive. It also tweaks steering feel, transmission shifts, throttle response, and even exhaust note. We liked it so much we recommend leaving it in Sport mode all the time.

As for how this Fusion improves your driveway’s style; the Sport does away with the typical Fusion Aston Martin-inspired grille; and in its place is a glossy black mesh number. Just part of a whole new front fascia that has a much snarlier look. 

In back there are quad exhaust outlets and of course a spoiler across the deck lid.

For you to enjoy inside, are upgraded sport seats with sueded inserts; and carbon fiber-like trim. 

Our street driving impressions are quite favorable, as there is certainly less roll here than we’ve encountered in any Fusion prior to this. 

And at our track test, those good vibes were confirmed; as the Fusion Sport is easily a top handler in its segment. With the exception of the Dodge Charger Hellcat, this is the American sport sedan that we’d prefer to park our butts in right now.

But, it’s not yet a threat to German dominance. While Fusion Sport’s all-wheel-drive system is highly effective at rotating you around corners, you can really feel it working a little too much; it’s not a seamless Porsche-like system. Still, it does close the capability gap more than a little.

And, the Sport is quick off the line for sure, getting us to 60 in 5.3-seconds. There’s an exhilarating amount of low end torque at launch, and it just keeps getting poured on from there. 

Shifts were Jaguar-like in their speed and smoothness, and we cleared the ¼-mile in 13.9-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour. 

Possibly our biggest complaint is the sound of the car. There’s plenty of it in the cabin, which is not a bad thing; it’s just a very obviously synthesized sound being pumped into the cabin. 

Brakes, with an only-reasonable average stopping distance of 120-feet, are another reminder that this is still a 2-ton family car at heart.

One final update for ’17 Fusions, upgraded safety systems including autonomous braking. The system provided plenty of early warnings, but actual brake application was a little inconsistent; sometimes bringing us to a full-stop against our barrier, and sometimes not. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 17-City, 26-Highway, and 20-Combined; so our average of 24.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular was quite good. With a fairly average Energy Impact Score of 16.5-barrels of oil use, along with 7.3-tons of CO2 emissions, annually. 

Base pricing, at $34,350, is about 10-grand over a base Fusion; but it’s hardly worth comparing the two as they are really totally different cars.

We’ve recently praised a fair number of new mid-size family sedans for their improved driving competency. But the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport goes the furthest yet, without leaving affordability and practicality on the table.

Indeed, the Fusion Sport raises the performance bar for mainstream four-doors to almost European Luxury-Sport levels. That’s high praise, and why we recommend anyone still “car” shopping, to give it a very close look.

 

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.7 liter
  • Horsepower: 325
  • Torque: 380 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 99 mph
  • EPA: 17 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 7.3 tons/yr
2024 Mercedes AMG GLA35

2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35

Baby AMG SUV Brings The Performance

Episode 4336
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Back in 2015, buying an AMG-tuned utility vehicle was not unheard of, but finding one as affordable as the then-new AMG GLA 45 was an entirely new phenomenon. Since then, they’ve only enhanced their AMG profile, so let’s check in with the latest Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and see if we can keep up.

A quick look at the Mercedes-Benz lineup reveals they currently have more than a dozen SUVs for sale, most of which can get some level of high-performance AMG treatment. This 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is the least expensive one you can buy, but it certainly doesn’t feel, look, or behave like a budget ride.

Styling updates are mostly limited to a new front fascia, though both head and taillights get freshened up, and there are some new wheel designs, plus a unique AMG crest on the hood for the first time. The base Mercedes-Benz GLA also gets updated, just with a much milder theme for those that are looking more for the luxurious experience instead of the AMG’s sporty theme.

Inside, drivers can take in all the carbon fiber accents, as well as put their hands on a new AMG Performance steering wheel. Mercedes has gotten rid of the touchpad controller on the center console and put a much more practical phone charger in its place, as well as added an additional USB-C port with faster charging speed. The touchscreen shares its housing with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster.

The GLA 35’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 has been retuned by AMG for 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. It’s the same setup found in the CLA 35 four-door Coupe we recently tested. The base GLA 250 makes do with 221 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-4. The GLA 35 comes strictly with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AMG-tuned 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

At our test track, with AMG Race Start engaged, we hooked and booked to 60 in just 4.9-seconds despite a slight hesitation in full power delivery off the line. It launched hard even without Race Start, and the engine strongly pulled all the way down the track. Shifts were plenty quick, yet still very smooth, as while we could barely feel when they were happening, the bassy bark from the exhaust gave us a much-appreciated audible cue. Our best quarter-mile run was a 13.5 at 102 miles-per-hour.

As for handling, it was easy-peasy for this AMG. We were able to carry quite a bit of speed through our cone course with very minimal body roll and a planted feel that had us pushing harder and harder until we got it to step out on us just a little.

You can get into a base front-wheel-drive GLA for as little as $43,000, but this AMG 35 will cost you at least $57,600.

When we hear things like “the best or nothing at all,” we tend to dismiss it as Mercedes marketing speak, but that was actually a quote going all the way back to Gottlieb Daimler in the late 1800s prior to his firm joining up with Karl Benz’s. And, for the most part, it’s still the philosophy behind Mercedes-Benz today. And you can certainly feel it behind the wheel of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
  • Horsepower: 302
  • 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 112 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 27.6 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds at 102 mph
  • EPA: 22 City | 28 Highway | 24 Combined