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May 2010
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Battle of the Family Rides
The 2010 Ford Fusion vs. 2010 Toyota Camry

The 2010 Ford Fusion can look back at the last five years proudly. The Fusion is now into its second generation, but the first generation car came out swinging and immediately earned top marks for quality and reliability. The 2010 Ford Fusion, Motor Trend’s 2010 Car of the Year, continues to knock it out of the park for Ford in Midsize Stadium. While the Camry is like the Fusion in that it's an inherently good vehicle, there can only be one winner when considering both cars against each other.

Both the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry are styled with surprising verve for sedans in the midsize, bread-and-butter class. Wearing its completely redesigned Class of 2010 duds, the Fusion's face is fresher, and drawn with a bolder hand. Style has been one area where the Fusion has always been a standout; while the Camry is pleasing to look upon, its exterior is commonly described in the automotive press as bland. The freshness in the 2010 Ford Fusion's sheetmetal, as well as the expressive pen that drew it in the first place, ensures you won't lose it in the parking lot.

Moving inside, Ford has gone out of its way to design an upscale, high-quality interior. The effort has paid off by completely flipping the balance of power. The Camry is nicely outfitted, to be sure, with an easily-mastered layout and decent materials, but the Fusion easily prevails with materials that feel and look better than the Camry’s, while giving up nothing in terms of ease-of-use, comfort, and quality.

Being such fierce competitors, the spec sheets of both the Fusion and the Camry are similar. Both cars can be luxed up considerably, though Ford's Rapid Spec configurations greatly simplify the process by bundling the most popular items into concise packages. One box to check, done. Leather upholstery and upgraded decor are of course available on either car, with the Fusion keeping its crown as the style leader with attractive French stitching in a contrasting color, Ice Blue instrument lighting, and clean design.

Navigation systems are also available in both the 2010 Toyota Camry and 2010 Ford Fusion, which includes an upgraded audio system, to boot. Toyota's DVD-based navigation system uses either a touch-screen or voice activation, includes a 90-day trial subscription to XM Satellite Radio and XM NavTraffic, an auxiliary input, USB jack with iPod capability, and music streaming via Bluetooth. That's all very nice, but the 2010 Fusion brings stellar electronics chops to the party. Ford's voice-activated navigation system with integrated Sirius Travel Link has been praised as the best in the business, regardless of price. An available 10GB hard drive allows owners to store nearly 2,500 songs, and Travel Link provides drivers with weather, traffic information, fuel prices, and sports scores updated live. Sound is by Sony, and Ford’s exclusive SYNC is the cherry atop the technology sundae available to Fusion buyers. Other carmakers are going to have to work hard to keep up with Ford's connectivity system, which allows you to control phones and media devices with voice commands via Bluetooth, monitors your vehicle’s diagnostics, and calls for help if the airbags deploy.

For 2010, both the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry are powered by 2.5-liter four-cylinders as standard. Both engines are tried-and-true performers but, once again, the Fusion bests the Camry, both for power (175 hp vs. 169 hp) and fuel economy, with the Fusion S returning 23/34 mpg to the Camry's 22/32.  

Ford offers two six-cylinder upgrades for Fusion buyers, as well. The intermediate step is Ford's advanced, flex-fuel capable 3.0-liter Duratec V6, upgraded to deliver a punchy 240 horsepower. Ford's newest V6, the 3.5-liter Duratec 24-valve V6 is the top-dog fitment for the Fusion's engine room, delivering a smooth 263 horsepower. The Camry's available 3.5-liter V6 is no slouch either, with 268 hp.  Six-speed automatics shift gears for both Fusion and Camry. Ford’s Fusion, however, offers something unavailable on any other V6 sedan in its class, including Camry:  all-wheel-drive. The Fusion Hybrid also crushes every other midsize hybrid sedan on the market, offering an EPA-estimated 41 mpg, not to mention up to 47 miles per hour in electric-only mode.

Finally, the MSRP for the 2010 Fusion comes in at $21,225 while the Camry costs $675 more, at $21,900. Another victory for the Fusion is in the “comparably equipped” department. In order to get the equipment on a Fusion priced at $21,950, the Camry jumps all the way up to $23,450.

In every category, the 2010 Ford Fusion has been praised for its jaunty character, something that's impossible to convey with a spec sheet. While the Camry has its strong points, only the Fusion is the Motor Trend 2010 Car of the Year and offers style, performance, variety and value unmatched by any competitor.  The winner in this cage match is the Fusion.


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