The news that Ford will be discontinuing all of its cars (as opposed to SUVs and trucks) except the Mustang came as a bit of a shock, even if it was fairly common knowledge that they weren’t exactly strong sellers. And to me it’s a sad sign of the market drifting into a state of decreasing diversity of choices, both in individual models and general types of cars. I’ll admit that I couldn’t remember the exact cutoff-date for Ford cars (all gone by 2020), but I thought of it recently during another rental car experience.
This wasn’t another of my frequent business-trips, for once. This time it was a vacation with my wife Jennifer up in scenic and charming Spokane Washington, where she has roots on both sides of her family. Spokane’s airport is on the small side, so instead of picking any car from the aisle as usual, the rental clerk listed a handful of available cars from which to choose. Nothing unusually nice available -I was hoping they’d see my status and give me a Cadillac or sump’n- but when I heard Ford Fusion in the list, I recalled how much I’d enjoyed the ones I’d had in my biz-travels (see my Rental Car Review, Dec 2017) and went for it, wondering if it would be the last one I ever drove.
The Fusion was a great choice for us on this trip. In previous trips to Spokane we’d had a Fiat and a Hyundai, neither of which dealt well with the rough, frost-heaved pavement prevalent in much of the city. While it doesn’t ride quite as smoothly as a Cadillac, the Fusion was smooth enough that only the very worst of the pavement caused us any discomfort. The hybrid powertrain also meant minimal fuel consumption, always a bonus when you’re on vacation. We drove around constantly all over town, and even made a trip to Coeur d’Alene Idaho- and only used half a tank in six days.
Speaking of the hybrid experience, Jennifer found it a bit strange at first- she described how weird it feels for a car that isn’t making any sound or vibration to be rolling, especially if it wasn’t going downhill. Weirder still, unless you’re listening for it, you don’t notice when the gasoline engine starts and stops. Everything about it is just S-M-O-O-T-H. The Fusion is easy to drive, but I did sometimes find myself turning the gear-knob the wrong way during moments of close maneuvers. And during those quiet, smooth moments off the line, the calmness of the whole experience makes you want to drive calmly- mostly a good thing, but you might find yourself driving a little too slowly at moments.
Honestly, the Fusion was the perfect car for a vacation. Smooth, unobtrusive, minimal effort required, comfy, it would be a great car for every day use as well. I’ve enjoyed every one of them that I’ve driven, and I’ll honestly be sad to see them go from the Ford lineup. And I was sad to see this one go at the airport. Goodbye, Fusion.