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2014 Ford Fusion: We test its Stand-Out handling vs Toyota Camry & Hyundai Sonata

2014-Ford-Fusion-vs-Toyota-Camry-vs-Hyundai-Sonata1-600x450 2014 Ford Fusion: We test its Stand-Out handling vs Toyota Camry & Hyundai Sonata

When we drove the 2014 Ford Fusion last year, it was a prototype being used for hot-weather testing. It had a different engine, and it was roughly put together, but we were ready to put it on our recommended list at once whenever it’d hit showrooms in the future. Fast-forward to the summer of 2014, and the Fusion is finally on sale here. So when we had to test some of the Ford Fusion’s best virtues against rivals from the top two biggest brands in the region, we had no qualms about giving it a go, especially when it came to handling.

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Toyota is the top-selling brand in the GCC overall, followed unsurprisingly by value-conscious Hyundai. Ford is directly pitching their all-new Fusion against those brands’ midsize offerings, which are the Toyota Camry and the Hyundai Sonata.

The three cars are very similar in a lot of aspects, in terms of engine size, transmission type and general build quality. Aside from the styling, you’d have to actually drive the three cars to see what truly separates them.

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We acquired low-mileage examples of a Toyota Camry Limited and a Hyundai Sonata for the purposes of this driving comparison.

Taking the three cars out around a variety of roads in Dubai, it was clear which carmakers put in the extra effort in suspension tuning, even if they were just “family” sedans.

In terms of drive, the Hyundai Sonata is the most unenthusiastic of the lot. The stylish value-packed sedan has everything going for it, from looks to features, and is also a smooth-riding car, but falls woefully short in actual driving feel.

When its rather low limits are explored, body roll is kept to a moderate level, but the car understeers a fair bit early. More annoyingly, it has a tendency to switch into oversteer on dusty road surfaces, which can catch you off-guard if you don’t pay attention. The stability-control system eventually catches it, but only the top models come with the ESP option, with base models not even getting ABS. The light steering offers no feel whatsoever, and the brake feel is mushy, though they both do the job in casual commutes.

The current-generation Toyota Camry is a huge improvement over the versions that came before it, with more emphasis on handling than ever before. It corners well enough, with well-controlled body motions, never feeling bouncy like the old ones did, and body roll never goes beyond moderate levels in the sharpest corners.

However, get aggressive with the steering inputs at speed and the handling becomes a bit loose, with the tail stepping out, though it never gets out of control, and clearly has a bit higher cornering limits than the Sonata. The light steering offers some feedback, the brake-pedal feel is light and the ride quality is smooth for the most part. Not a bad effort at all, when seen in isolation.

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But then there is the all-new Ford Fusion. It is easily among the best-handling cars in its class, if not the best. It turns in sharper, resists understeer longer than the other two, and displays no tail-happy antics whatsoever. Its electric power-steering feel is better than most, while the brakes offer progressive stopping power. It is easy to take this car to its limits without feeling threatened.

Such neutral handling is an asset, but the fact that Ford accomplished it while still maintaining good ride comfort is a testament to the extensive suspension tuning that Ford has done, with even inputs from the Middle East taken into consideration by a permanent Dubai-based engineering team.

Now some may bring up that there is no point in a family sedan with good handling. Well, a good-handling sedan will save your life without ever reaching its limits and without the drama of squealing tyres or exploding airbags. If there’s a sudden obstacle on your path, you can quickly swerve away without the front plowing forward or the tail sliding out. It’s a bonus that those who enjoy driving will get some pleasure out of a tighter-handling car as well.

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For a sedan that drives like something from the premium segment, the Fusion is rather competitively priced against its common rivals, starting at just AED 80,000 for a car that comes standard with ABS, ESP, Bluetooth, eight airbags, free service and a 5-year warranty, while our top-spec model comes with all sorts of upscale driving aids, multimedia gadgets and more.

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57 comments to 2014 Ford Fusion: We test its Stand-Out handling vs Toyota Camry & Hyundai Sonata

  • Faisal Khatib

    Pfft… my older Mondeo out handles the new Fusion.. . 😛

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  • Nawaf

    Looks younger than Taurus in term of style, i like this car

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  • Faisal Khatib

    And brace yourself *should have compared it to the Mazda 6* comments are coming… lol

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  • Savio

    whats the cost of the top spec fusion?

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  • Nik

    really .. this must be a joke !! since when did Camry and Sonata start featuring in handling tests .. 🙂 Drive Arabia … you should have pitted Fusion against the Mazda 6 …

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  • farrukh

    True comparison should be carried out with Mazda6.. I want to see handling comparison between Mazda6 and Ford fusion.

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  • Nik

    Mashfique … with so much emphasis on handling in the content .. you cant blame us readers for not understanding what you actually wanted to convey. But anyway Toyota and Hyundai wont complaint for the mileage they are getting .. though they are shell shocked like most of us here 🙂

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  • Luciano

    At least you have the “in association with Ford” ad in the middle of the article. Nice reading and the car looks nice in fact. But I don’t understand how the comparison is so biased towards the handling when there are several other aspects to be considered by potential buyers of a car in this segment.

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  • FeroZ

    Wat Abt Honda Accord

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    • aqasem

      It is known the honda accord and mazda 6 exceed camry and sonata in handling, and it’s known as well why sonata and camry among best selling cars in GCC but the drivearabia choice indeed wrong becase it supposed to be considering cars which known as best handling in the class not market value since we are talkink about handling in-specific!

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    • Habib1975

      I think Ford wants to beat Toyota and Hyundai in sales, they don’t have to worry about Honda or Mazda.

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  • Ashid

    the new ford fusions rear is copy of the previous mondeo. not at all looking fresh.

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  • vinods

    Noboby buys camry for their handling!!!

    You should have compared fusion against “accord” & “6”. i test drove fusion, agreeing the fact that it is a nice handling car(wider tyres giving it a good grip around the corners).

    Anyways its handling falls short of my mondeo(2010 model) ( which has crossed 155k this month!!!).

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  • stream

    I agree with some people who request to compare it with the mazda 6

    Guys, also if we go back to 2003 till 2010 i think, mazda6 model are using a “Ford” engine and some parts like water pump for ford escape for example also been used in mazda.so in case you didn’t found the parts you are searching for in mazda-partsshop you will found it in ford-partsshop,(all parts related to the engine i mean)

    But the new models from 2013 are totally made by mazda unlike before.its the return for mazda to be the Mazda Mazda 🙂

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  • cayanide

    Hah Ha Hah .. what ever is done to beat the market leader comes short Camry is still a better choice then all the current offerings eat it… LOL

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  • Shijil Hashim

    Good to see Ford finally launching the Fusion in UAE. Definitely great looking car, very good alternative to the typical stereotype choices. Ford’s 5 years service plan makes it a very interesting prospect as you don’t need to worry about maintenance costs, just gas and go. It would be interesting if they can bring in the 2 liter eco-boost option for less than 110K

    As a recent Ford owner, I’m very happy with the car’s performance, looks and service at Al Tayer. I have had other brand vehicles before and I do have a Japanese car as well, which tcosts more to maintain if taken to the dealership. I have driven other Ford cars and non of them felt dull to drive, that includes a little 1.4L manual gear Figo I rented few weeks back.

    Just 2 things Ford needs to address; slightly improved interior built quality and improve interior space. We can excuse the built quality to an extent for the price we pay for, but cramped interior is not excusable at any cost.

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  • Kashyap

    I still have a soft corner for Fords. I had a 2006 Mondeo with over 400,000km on the clock.. the car is still rock solid.. with homever the car is right now. Fords make Safe Cars with more than front air bags and ABS as standard on their cars… and you enjoy driving them every kilometer. Unlike the PaperBag Camrys and Awful Sonata, the Fusion is indeed a great car to own. I think with the previous model and this model, the market will mature and the So called Poor Resale Value image of the Fords will change.. For the Non-European models that is…. Do agree that still a long way to compete with the Accord.. but Price does matter in this sensitive market.

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  • cayanide

    Mostly ppl will like the Ford but will buy Toyota from their own money…. unless it is some one else money to play with

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  • Kashyap

    Agreed! Thats because of the ease of sale of Toyotas and the resale value on account of people’s general mindset here!!

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  • Fazley Rabbi

    tried the new Mondeo/fusion – full option few days before (from a colleague). can’t put it ahead of my 2008 Mondeo Ghia. for me – premier motors service is way better than others.

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  • Naz

    I doubt the majority who buy these cars will test drive it for the handling. Moreover, reliability and name of Camry is not going to be toppled with a 85k starting price of the fusion….let alone come close to the jaw dropping price of 59k for a sonata.

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    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      I had the displeasure of renting a 59k Sonata earlier. If one finds the lack of safety features appealing, like skidding without ABS and potentially killing your airbag-less passenger, it’s a great car.

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    • cayanide

      Fusion should be priced for the same mid corolla price, offering free service or some other kinda stuff is not going to make it a serious competitor for even Altima let alone Camry

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    • Sunil

      Agree with Mash 100%

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  • vivek

    With free service and maintenance (free parts replacement including brake pads) offered until 100,000 kms, and service intervals falling every 10k kms, it is already cheaper to maintain than a Corolla or Tiida, let alone the Altima and Camry tincans. I am not even bringing structural safety into consideration here, as fanboys are more than happy risk their lives in these tincans with toy-car grade safety and built!

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  • cayanide

    Car sales number speak for themselves, someone may think it’s tin can or paper car or crap but the fact is fact … eat it LOL >>>

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    • hellboy

      If you are talking about car sales number alone, I am with you. Agreed, Camry is the best-seller around here. In a place where people are ready to consider money over safety and other features, that is no surprise. Funny part is though, after about 5 years of ownership, the Camry would fetch them no more than 25-28k Dhs (buying cost – 85k approx). That is after spending a fortune on maintenance. True, the Fusion would fetch atleast 10k Dhs lesser; but the average Fusion owner would not have spent even half of what the average Camry owner spent for running costs, given the Fusion has free maintenance until 100k kms, extendable to 160k kms. Safety and features are a different story again.

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    • cayanide

      Safety is in your own hands no car can give you better protection it all depends how you end up in a crash even Kia picanto can save you if it is not your day

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    • cayanide

      Edit “Kia Picanto can save you” it can’t I meant nothing will happen to you God All Mighty is there to save you

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    • hellboy

      Sorry. I disagree there. While your temperament is in your own hands, others’ errors in judgement and bad luck of all sorts, simply aren’t under your control. Yes, nothing will ever save u if your fate is to die, but since we humans go by picking the best of probabilities and best available chances, the choice will clearly not be a Picanto over a Fusion in terms of safety!

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  • IJAZ AHMED

    Agreed that fusion is better than Camry in terms is safety… But why is that all taxis out there Toyota Camry…not even a single fusion.. ???

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    • cayanide

      Camry are bullet proof reliable and low in maintenance fusion on the other hand is expensive to maintain and will not last as long as Camry will

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    • vivek

      Taxis are a whole different ballgame Ijaz. First n foremost, show me one cab company who cares for people’s safety over profits. One company atleast?? It does not matter to them if a car has 10 airbags or 1, as long as its cheap to buy and run, they just go for that. And yes, the Camrys and Hyundais are the cheapest to maintain, not because the parts are cheap, but because their mechanical simplicity and sheer lack of features – safety & others – means labour costs to repair n work on these are low. Now all if you want in a car is taxi-cab level features n nothing more, that is entirely your choice. There is always a trade-off one has to make if they need features, comfort and safety in a car, which any company aiming for profits, are not willing to make, as they are not bothered even if you die in one of their cars since it makes no difference to them with the insurance company making the payouts if any. And that is why there are only the Camrys n Sonatas as taxis, and not the Fusion, n not the Accord, n not any other car which are better off than a Camry.

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    • IJAZ AHMED

      Thanks for the information vivek :)..but how is altima compared to fusion ? Is it worth the money?

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    • vivek

      The Altima is a nice car. Handling, stronger body n chassis, and interior space are the Fusions plus, and Fusion has more features in its top spec than Altima, but its costlier too i believe. Not sure hw much the Altima costs, but its a good pick if u are ok with the CVT transmission.

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    • RK

      Ilaz, come to Saudi Arabia . You will find only hyundai elantra and Kia cerato with only one airbag and no ABS in taxis. They don’t care for passenger

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  • Stream

    the old altima from 2008 and older one by one vanished from the roads, and honestley this car doesn’t live so long, i rent in 2008 if im not wrong and the guy who rent it to me he hate this car!! honda accord far away better in the taste of the drive and feel ,and yes my friend own one also he hate it !!

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    • Ashfar

      I own an altima and it is not bad as u think.it is actually fun to drive than accord, as altima’s accelaration is the best , accord has a good ride quality and bit more spacious . But 2008-2012 altima has more features than the 2008-2012 accord, so it depends on your preference.

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  • royer

    My 2000 Ford Focus and 1998 Ford Expedition, please note the age of cars, ride and handle better than current generation Pathfinder, Wrangler, Accent, Honda City, Rio, these are all cars I owned. Reliability and maintenance wise, current generation Hyundai is too good, I own the current generation Accent since last 3 years and have covered 50,000K, an average visit cause around 200dhs, it has ebd,abs,front air bags, the brakes are disc and are still good as new. The best vehicle I have ever bought is a Jeep Wrangler, that changed my notion about American cars. I wouldn’t speak about it, buy one and experience it.

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  • amir

    Hello all
    Full of opinions here!!!!! but when i drove the new fusion i felt it has a very rough trnasmission in terms of changing gears don’t know why but overall it seems well made and the cabin is also well insulated compared to the mazda 6 that i drove on the same day but also had similar safety features and also had blindspot detection in addition but no sensors even on the top model,, it simply depends on what each driver is looking for in a car he will enjoy driving

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  • sathish

    Hi, what about renault safrane? anyone recommends it? i wanto buy car for daily long drives (ajman-jebel ali)…

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