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Quick Takes - 2010 Ford Mustang & 2010 Ford Fusion

2010 Ford Mustang - More than a facelift, less than a complete re-do. 2010 Ford Fusion - Quieter and more capable.
2010 Ford Mustang
More than a facelift, less than a complete re-do. 
 
Despite having "Grande" and "Ghia" models in its past, the Mustang has never been noted for its refinement. Yet refine is exactly what Ford designers and engineers did to the car for 2010. They revised the styling without losing its connection to Mustangs past, and made detail changes that add finesse and fluidity that recognizes the Mustang has to hold its own against Camaro, Challenger, and strong foreign competition.
 
Exterior
The roof is the only carry-over exterior panel because Ford didn't want to develop a new panel for the all-glass roof model. It also accentuates the differences between old and new. These include a chamfered nose and tail, strong upper and lower character lines framing a "fade away" side scoop, "extruded" wheel arches that push out the fender forms, a rear fender "kick up" straight out of 1969, and shallower front openings that pull the front fender line down. Osram supplies the lighting, from the standard halogen headlights to the optional HID versions, as well as the LED taillights that blink sequentially. The GT's Cd is 7% lower, it has 23% less front lift, and a 50% improvement in front-rear aero balance.
 
Interior
Though the previous model captured the Mustang's familial traits, it was hurt by hard plastics, a multiplicity of seams, and a design more literal than interpretive. A one-piece, soft-touch thermoplastic olefin instrument panel stretches from door-to-door and from windshield-to-center console. It is supported by the addition of four attachment points, a structural defroster duct, and an aluminum finish panel. The center stack features a single-piece panel that fits over the audio and climate units, leaving only their controls to poke through. This helps reduce noise paths, as do the revised dash mat and more sound-absorbing carpet and headliner. Also, the controls feature Mustangs, not generic car silhouettes.
 
Chassis and Powertrain
It still has a live axle, but the springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars are retuned. The GT gets a strut brace that adds 175 lb-ft/degree of rigidity. V6 models finally get a rear anti-roll bar, and all models receive stiffer rear springs that improve the roll gradient 10%-20% while reducing both understeer and ride harshness. The Track Pack adds a 3.73:1 differential with limited slip and carbon fiber clutch plates; retuned dampers and struts; anti-roll bars and rear lower control arms from the GT500; 19-in. performance tires; and a retuned stability control unit with on, off, and sport modes. The 4.0-liter V6 produces 210 hp and 240 lb-ft, is mated to either a five-speed manual or automatic, and eventually will be replaced by Ford's 3.5-liter V6. The 4.6-liter V8 has 315 hp and 325 lb-ft on regular fuel, but its adaptive ECU can add 10 lb-ft from 1,000-3,000 rpm when using premium. Though quieter, an induction sound tube pumps selected frequencies into the cabin to accentuate the V8's rumble. It also mates to a pair of five-speeds, but by 2012 all Fords will have six-speed gearboxes.
 
2010 Ford Fusion
Quieter and more capable
 
Filling a mid-sized gap in Ford's sedan offerings, the original Fusion was a stop-gap that often felt it. The 2010 Fusion fills in the gaps. The adoption of soft-touch materials, chassis and powertrain refinements, and bolder styling, however, come without a concomitant price increase.
 
Exterior
The front fenders, hood, grille, headlamps, and fascia are new for 2010, and hint at the trapezoidal lower air intake of the similarly sized European Ford Mondeo. These cars converge in the next generation. The V6 Sport adds chrome highlights and separate brake ducts, sill extensions, and a rear spoiler. Integral rear quarter panels means the changes are limited to taillights, trim, and the bumper fascia. Tuning the leading edges of the hood and headlights, and adding new underbody shields helped lower the Fusion's Cd.
 
Interior
The hard-plastic dash is replaced by a thermoplastic olefin upper and midsection over a hard lower. The door caps and arm rests receive similar treatment. The seats have been redesigned for greater comfort via revised contouring, increased side support, a taller seatback, and upgraded coverings. An electroluminescent gauge cluster replaces the previous mechanical unit, and the Hybrid model gets a central speedometer flanked by twin reconfigurable 4.3-in. WVGA high-resolution LCD screens.
 
Chassis and Powertrain
Four-cylinder models get a mass damper in their engine mounts, V6 models use aluminum mounts. All but the V6 Sport is fitted with TRW's electric power steering. The rear suspension lower control arms were altered to lower the roll center and improve suspension kinematics. The front anti-roll bar has revised end links that work more efficiently, and improve the turning radius. Freer damper valving works with stiffer springs and revised bushings to improve both ride and handling. Acoustic improvements include a laminated windshield, thicker (4.7-mm) front side glass, an acoustic headliner, additional expanded stuffers in the fenders and pillars, a denser and thicker sound pack, revised door seals, and constrained-layer damping on the entire floor.
 
The inline fours are enlarged to 2.5 liters with the Hybrid using an Atkinson cycle version mated to a CVT transmission. It has a traction battery with 17% fewer cells that is 23% lighter and 20% more powerful than Ford's previous hybrid system, and is capable of twice the number of stop-starts and propelling the car at 47 mph on electric power alone. The I4 is mated to either a Mazda-sourced six-speed manual or Aisin six-speed automatic. Two V6s are offered, a 3.0 and a 3.5-liter, mated to an Aisin or Ford six-speed automatic, respectively.