Reviews

Ford Fusion Reliability

The Fusion can be great–if you find the right model and year.

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BY The Drive Staff / LAST UPDATED ON July 22, 2021

2017 Ford Fusion Sport
Ford Motor Company

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Ford stopped making the Fusion after the 2020 model year, but there are several models to choose from on the used market. The Blue Oval offered the car with a wide variety of powertrains over the years, some of which actually deliver on the driving excitement front.

There’s a perception commonly shared on social media that the Fusion, and Fords in general, have issues, but it’s important to remember people are significantly more likely to publicly cry about frustration than talk about everything working well. In reality, the data show that the Fusion’s overall reliability scores are above average to very good in later model years, in some cases. Like any other vehicle, though, the Fusion has its problems.

The Drive’s editors have scoured the internet to find the most and least reliable Fusion models, and have sussed out the details on the most common issues Fusion owners face over the course of their time with the car. 

Let’s take a closer look at Ford Fusion reliability.

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability?

Short answer: you. The longer answer is that a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

2020 Ford Fusion Specs

Vehicle Type: Midsize Sedan

Doors: Four

Engine options: 181-hp 1.5-liter inline-four, 245-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, 175-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, 2.0-liter hybrid, or 2.0-liter plug-in hybrid

Total internal combustion range: Up to 610 miles on a single tank with hybrid system

Is The Ford Fusion Reliable?

As detailed above, reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we can’t make a definitive statement that the Ford Fusion is reliable or unreliable. 

To better assess its reliability, however, we’ve assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. Let’s start with common problems, as told by comments listed in the Fusion National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

The Ford Fusion’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the Ford Fusion issues throughout the years.

2020

Recall: None

Complaints: 11

2019

Recall: None

Complaints: 33

2018

Recall: Steering Wheel May Detach

Complaints: 39

2017

Recall: Steering Wheel May Detach, Torque Converter Connection May Fail, Rear Seat Back Pivot PIns May Fail

Complaints: 275

2016

Recall: Doors May Open While Driving, Steering Gear Motor May Detach, Unintentional Rollaway Due To Detached Shift Cable, Steering Wheel May Detach 

Complaints: 631

2015

Recall: Doors May Open While Driving, Steering Gear Motor May Detach, Front Seat Belts May Not Restrain Occupants, Unintentional Rollaway Due To Detached Shift Cable, Charge Cord May Overheat Causing Fire, Unintentional Rollaway Due To Detached Shift Cable, Steering Wheel May Detach, Front Seat Belts May Not Restrain Occupants, Loss Of Power Steering Assist From Salt Corrosion, Key Removal When Not In Park/FMVSS 114

Complaints: 528

2010-2014 Fusion Investigations and Class Action Lawsuit

We’ve combined these model years, because they are all part of a class action lawsuit over defective steering systems and components. The electric power assisted steering system in these cars, as well as the Ford Focus, caused them to sometimes feel out of control. Ford allegedly knew about the issue for some time and had received hundreds of complaints over the steering system. The lawsuit was allowed to be certified as a class action in 2017 after a judge ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove that all Fusion (and Focus owners) were harmed by the issue.

Beyond this, the NHTSA has recorded 4,551 complaints against the 2010 Fusion alone, and the 2010 model year cars also have a dozen recalls relating to airbags, fuel tank cracking, floor mats trapping the pedals, and other components.

For the record, the 2011 Fusion has eight recalls and 2,266 complaints, the 2012 Fusion had five recalls and 1,975 complaints, the 2013 Fusion has 17 recalls and 1,508 complaints, and the 2014 Fusion had 16 recalls and 879 complaints.

Takata Air Bag Issues

Over the years, tens of millions of vehicles have been recalled due to problems with the airbags, which were manufactured by Takata and known to expel metal debris when deployed. The Ford Fusion was impacted by the massive recall efforts as well, with the 2006-2012 model years seeing multiple airbag-related complaints and recalls.

Common Ford Fusion Problems and Repair Costs

As with other car brands, not all Ford models are built to the same exacting standards as the reliable vehicles mentioned above. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic Ford offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

Power Steering Not Working Properly

Repair Costs: $1,610 average, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Ford Motor Company has a serious issue with the power steering unit. It's a total defect that has affected many many cars and it’s still under investigation. Ford denies this defect and acts like they have not had complaints with the Fusion 2010 when you speak to them on the phone. I will be taking this to the courthouse if they do not fix my car at no charge. 

We as customers should never have to pay for a problem that they created, especially after its been proven as a defect. Ford is responsible for fixing my car as it will be cheaper for them to do so then to lose in court after I sue them and win.”

“Power steering went out in my Ford Fusion today. Took it to the shop and they said they can fix for $2400. They said they have to replace the rack and pinion. Barely made it to the shop, the car was so hard to steer. Definitely should recall. I give up”

Transmission Failure

Repair Costs: $1,690 average, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Very upset that a car with 61000 miles needed a new transmission! The money came out of my pocket since I didn't renew my warranty. I was considering selling it.”

“Transmission started slipping on some small hills, RPM up to 6000 at times. Managed to make it home (200KM from when problem started ) There was no warning before it started to slip. If I knew Ford was having problems with this transmission I would have bought a different vehicle.”

Transmission Half Shaft Leak

Repair Costs: $700, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“I have noticed a leak under my car at around 45,000 miles. I made a mistake in never pointing it out to my dealership... for that, I feel really bad. Or course I heard what was wrong with the car... after it passed the 60,000 mark for powertrain warranty.... during my first oil change after that mark.

Symptoms I can now relate to this issue are: transmission would slip and hard knock when accelerating from near zero while making a turn to the right (e.g. stop and go at red lights). 

Estimated cost is $700.

Web searches show this is a very common issue and many are calling for a recall on the transmission.”

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

2020: 81/100

2019: 82/100

2018: 81/100

2017: 81/100

2016: 80/100

2015: 79/100

2014: 80/100

2013: 76/100

2012: 79/100

FAQs About the Ford Fusion

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: Is The Ford Fusion really That Reliable?

A: You’ll hear people absolutely frothing at the mouth over Ford and its perceived lack of reliability, but that’s not the whole story. Despite several issues in older model years, the data reveal that the Fusion, especially in its later years, can be quite reliable. Very few complaints overall and few to zero recalls is a good indicator that the Fusion became a more reliable vehicle near the end of its run on the market, but it may still be too soon to make a definitive call because of how early we still are the model’s lifespan.

Q: Is The Ford Fusion More Reliable Than A Toyota Camry?

A: Long story short, no. The Fusion, though shown to be quite reliable in its later years, is not as reliable as a Toyota Camry. The 2010-2014 Fusions are known to experience serious issues with power steering, and the 2010 model year alone has thousands of complaints that have been logged against it with the NHTSA. 

Q: How Long Do Ford Engines Last?

A: Ford engines, like any other engines, last as long as they are maintained and treated well. It’s true that older Fusion models are known to exhibit serious and expensive maintenance issues related to their engines, but a well-maintained Fusion should last well into six-figure mileage numbers.

Q: Is The Ford Fusion overrated?

A: Get past rental-spec cars and there’s plenty to like about the Fusion. Ford offered several powertrains in the Fusion over the years, some of which delivered plenty of power and made the Fusion a reasonably quick car. That said, older model-year Fusions are known to experience serious problems that can be expensive to fix, so it’s more likely that these cars could be considered overrated.

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Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

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CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

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