In and around Toronto with Ford Fusion
The market share of midsize sedans in Canada is 20 %, vs. 25% in the USA. In either country, a product in this segment plays a crucial role in the overall success of the brand in question. Ford was the leader with its Taurus in this category in the Nineties. Currently, Japanese players are leading the game: The Camry of Toyota, The Accord from Honda and the Nissan Altima share the top three position in this highly competitive category. And The Fusion is the biggest (non-Japanese) challenger on the market. The current Taurus is positioned higher than its predecessor competing against Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima and Chrysler 300.
The Ford Fusion launched last year in Detroit is almost identical (except the powertrains) with the European Mondeo. This is the outcome of the global One Ford Strategy. In North America, Ford still does not offer a diesel version whereas two hybrid engines are available in this continent.
In the last five years, the blue oval brand made a huge progress in terms of small, economical and yet still powerful engines usually known as “ecoboost”.
Recently, four cylinder engines practically become the new “six” and gained a large market acceptance. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat surprising that the model with small, 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder ecoboost engine is the best selling Ford Fusion.
As we conducted our test drives, Ford’s sales in the USA were up 18% as of April and compared to the previous year.
In January of last year during the launch of Ford Fusion, I had conducted an interview with Jay Mays, Ford’s Global Design Chief and the focus was the new Ford Fusion.
The blue oval brand from Detroit once owned a number of premium brands like; Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. When you look at Fusion’s face, it is almost impossible not to detect a connection to this rich heritage. The front grill of the Ford Fusion reveals a resemblance to Aston Martin. From the rear of the Ford Fusion, you find design elements from Jaguar. Even inside, the floating middle console may emotionally connect you with Volvo.
I drove two versions of Ford Fusion for a total of more than thousand kilometers in two weeks.
After the double test drive I will admit that my favourite model was (and is) the 1.6 litre turbo-charged ecoboost engine with 175 HP. This engine of the Ford Fusion delivers its maximum torque at 2500 rpm and mated to a six-speed auto. I never had a feeling of underpowered with this powertrain combination. Nevertheless, the average consumption was not very impressive with 10.4 liter per 100 kilometers. (Mixed use of total 578 kilometers)
The 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder hybrid engine with Atkinson cycle is provocative with its instrument panel and green leafs and makes you a bit obsessive to save fuel. The switch between gasoline and electric power is seamless. The regenerative braking charges the battery. A softer touch on the brake pedal improves your performance and at the end of your trip, you may read a congratulations message in your dashboard. The average consumption with the hybrid model as 8, 5 liters. Not bad for a hybrid vehicle even if the theoretical value is significantly lower. It is a bit problematic to apply the theoretical consumption values to real life and it is wise to use those for comparison purposes only.
The design of the Ford Fusion is simply outstanding and impressive. The high beltline, a well-thought design element gives the car a strong coupe character. The interior of the Ford Fusion is well-crafted and nothing seems boring.
And the contemporary midsize sedan from Ford is simply fun to drive. No coincidence that it is the biggest threat to the Japanese trio.
It is worth remembering that Ford started perfecting chassis and suspension tuning with the past generation of the Focus in the late Nineties. The smooth drive on the highway and rougher surfaces is the work of several years not only in North America but also across the Ocean.
The MSRP for 1.6 litre ecoboost Ford Fusion starts at 24,500, for the 2.0 liter hybrid at 35,800 (CAD)
In and Around Queen’s Park
During our double test drive, I stayed relatively close to Toronto.
The Provincial Parliament (Legislative Building) was one of my photo shooting destinations.
I also navigated the Saint George Campus of the University of Toronto (U of T).
U of T is a public research university and consistently ranks among the most prestigious universities worldwide. Situated on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by the royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada. (To be named Ontario afterwards). Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed the present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution. As a collegiate university, it comprises twelve colleges that differ in character and history, each retaining substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs.
The University of Toronto has educated two Governors General and four Prime Ministers of Canada, four foreign leaders, fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court, and has been affiliated with ten Nobel laureates. The university ranks 21st in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 27th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 19th in the QS World University Rankings.
Very few people know that the Provincial Parliament Building, is part of the university campus and was rented out to the Province for 999 years.
Designed by Richard A. Waite, the Provincial Parliament Building is an asymmetrical, five storey structure built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with a load-bearing iron frame. This is clad inside and out in Canadian materials where possible; the 10.5 million bricks bear the blood and tears of the inmates of the Central Prison who built it, and the Ontario sandstone—with a pink-hue that has earned the building the colloquial name of The Pink Palace—comes from the Credit River valley and Orangeville, Ontario, and was given a rustic finish for most of the exterior, but dressed for trim around windows and other edges. The edifice has a multitude of stone carvings, including gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes. The exterior is punctuated with uncharacteristically large windows, allowed by the nature of the iron structure. Heating costs for this building must be quite high in such a cold country like Canada.
You as readers will decide if the contemporary metal sculpture of the Ford Fusion and the timeless architectural beauty of the campus buildings and the Parliament Building look good in the same picture frame.
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Varol Karslioglu is a Certified Travel Manager licensed by TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario). He is a partner and Marketing Director of ATS Academy Travel Services Inc., in Toronto, a TICO-registered travel company.
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