James Bond's Family Sedan: The Ford Fusion SE

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Ford Fusion
The 2014 Ford Fusion (Titanium model shown).
American family sedans (Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Dodge Avenger) were thought not to have a chance against the Japanese competition (Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima) not too long ago. Today, the Avenger is dead and gone, the Malibu is largely forgotten but not gone and the Fusion is a serious choice for a lot of intenders in that segment.

Chalk it up to the Aston-Martin inspired nose and the slick bodywork trailing it that debuted for the 2013 model year.  But the Fusion's beauty is more than skin deep.

Rear view of 2014 Ford Fusion
2015 Ford Fusion (Titanium model shown).
Equipped with restraint, a Fusion can be as inexpensive and fuel-thrifty as the Camry, Accord and Altima. Our test vehicle was an excellent example of this---the second-from-the-bottom-of-the-line Fusion SE. Base price $23,935.

Standard equipment is a 2.5-liter, 175 horsepower four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 miles per hour takes a respectable 8.5 seconds.  And fuel economy is more than respectable at an EPA-estimated 25 city/37 highway.

Also standard, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, automatic halogen headlamps, bright exhaust tips, integrated spotter mirrors, a keyless entry keypad, dual power heated exterior mirrors with approach lamps, and a complete set of airbags and electronic safety features.

Interior view of 2015 Ford Fusion
2015 Ford Fusion interior (Titanium model shown).
Inside, the base price includes a 10-way power driver's seat, a 4-way manual front passenger's seat, a 60/40 folding rear seat, climate control, a center console with armrest, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, front and rear floormats, three power outlets, rear air conditioning ducts, a tilting steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, power windows, and a six-speaker Sync AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system.

Our test vehicle also had Equipment Group 202A (SE Luxury Package, heated front seats) for $2,350, reverse sensing system for $295, start-stop (which saves gas by turning off the engine at stoplights) for $295 and rear inflatable seatbelts for $190.

The as-tested price, including $825 for destination and delivery charges, $27,890.

At the wheel, the Ford Fusion is a credible alternative to Camry, Accord and Altima.  Standing outside and looking at it, there's no contest.  The Fusion is a stunner.