2014 Ford Fusion: We test its Stand-Out driving-safety tech vs Camry, Sonata, Accord & Mazda6
Cars have become a whole lot “smarter” these days. There’s been a whole host of technological developments that has made driving easier as well as safer than ever before. But until recently, such tech was only found in expensive luxury cars. But Ford was one of the first mainstream brands to start offering electronic driving aids and safety features in affordable cars such as the Ford Fusion.
But first, let’s take a look at the competition, starting off with the Toyota Camry. The base model of this best-seller gets two airbags, cruise control, rear parking sensors and ABS with brake-assist. That’s not bad actually, and well within class standards. Mid-range versions add a reverse camera, while the top-spec model comes with a total of six airbags and ESP.
And then there is the Hyundai Sonata. The base models get one airbag and cruise control. You’d have to move up to one of the mid-range models to get ABS, rear parking sensors and a passenger airbag. Only the top model gets six airbags, rear camera and ESP.
The Honda Accord is very similar in packaging to the Camry, starting off with two airbags, cruise control and ABS in the base model. The mid-range models add side and curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and ESP. A rear camera is an extra-cost option. A “lane watch” camera, to monitor only your right-side blind spot, is reserved for the V6 models, and not available on the 4-cylinder version.
The Mazda 6 is well-equipped in base trim, with ABS, cruise control, six airbags and ESP. The mid-range models additionally get blind-spot monitoring and a rear camera. The top model comes with adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and smart brake support with obstruction warning.
The 2014 Ford Fusion is even more well-equipped in base trim, with ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, AdvanceTrac stability control, tyre-pressure monitor, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and a class-leading 8 airbags, including front airbags, front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags and front knee airbags, that last one being a segment-exclusive. All this in a car with a lower base price than the Toyota Camry.
Mid-range trim levels come with rear parking sensors, rear camera, active park assist with forward-sensing system, and rear inflatable seatbelts. The top version additionally comes with lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and driver monitoring.
Active Park Assist
The Ford Fusion is one of the few cars in its class that offers this feature. When activated, the car can automatically steer itself into a parallel-parking space with only pedal inputs from the driver, as demonstrated in the video below. Ignore the invisible man!
Inflatable Rear Seat Belts
Aside from having a segment-leading eight airbags already as standard, the Fusion is available with a world-first inflatable seat-belt system for rear passengers, working well even over child-seats. It dissipates the energy from a crash, and offers further protection to the head and neck. So it may very well be the safest car you can buy to ferry your children.
Driver Alert System
This system can actually detect your odd driving patterns to determine whether you’re starting to fall asleep behind the wheel, and then attempt to wake you up with visual and audible warnings.
Lane Keeping Assist
Once found only in luxury cars, the Fusion is available with a lane-keeping assist system that can warn you if you’re wandering out of your lane, with a slight vibration of the steering wheel. It can even be set to lightly nudge the steering to move the car back into lane. The system does not activate if the indicators are used.
Blind-Spot Monitor with Cross-Traffic Alert
Ford’s advanced BLIS system warns you if there is a car in your blind spot on the road, with a little light that turns on in your side-mirrors. So you can be aware of cars not visible in your mirrors when changing lanes. And additional feature is cross-traffic alert, that warns you if a car is coming when you are backing up onto a road from a parking space.