Both the fabric and leather seats I tested felt significantly firm but offered good support. After two hours of solid driving, my thirty-something back was feeling sore. My twenty-something co-driver had no back issues even after four hours of driving. But in my defense, I took my comparison test in the Altima at the two-hour mark, and its wider, softer seats felt therapeutic on my poor back.
The cabin materials are all of good quality and competitive for the class. The main issue for shoppers will be the ergonomics — and not just of the optional MyFord Touch system. Even the base console, which has physical buttons, sports dozens of them. And they're small. They look slick and futuristic, but that doesn't make a difference in their size. Luckily, knobs for stereo volume and tuning are large, and the small LCD screen and menus are straightforward.
The standard gauge cluster is also nice to look at with a sharp LCD screen between the analog gauges, a setup we're seeing across the segment.
I also liked the rather large cubby ahead of the shifter. It's a bit far forward to reach easily while driving but is large enough to stash larger gear like sunglasses, wallets or smartphones.
There's also a small cubby between the front seats that's able to accommodate similar-sized objects, and it's where you can plug devices into two USB ports.
The Fusion's trunk is 16 cubic feet and gets most of the space from being deep, not wide, but there are small cutouts for golf clubs by either side of the lid opening. It holds up well against the Altima and Camry's 15.4 cubic feet, Accord's 15.8 cubic feet and Malibu's 16.3 cubic feet.
You can compare the Fusion to the Accord, Altima and Camry here.
The Fusion comes relatively well-equipped with the base S model getting standard Bluetooth, Ford's Sync system, power windows with express up and down for all windows, remote entry, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and a chrome grille at $22,495 (all prices include destination charges). But that's with the 2.5-liter engine, and this is where pricing will become a problem for Ford in this very competitive segment.
To opt for the more fuel-efficient 1.6-liter you need to move up to the SE, and to equip it with an automatic, you'll be paying a starting price of $25,290. It's $24,495 with a manual.
The Altima, Camry and Accord come standard with their most fuel-efficient engines and cost $22,280, $22,850 and $23,270, respectively, with automatic transmissions.