2017 Ford Fusion Sport
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.
- 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 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph