2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Ford Fusion

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Ford Fusion doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Fusion doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System that uses a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Fusion doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Fusion doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Fusion only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A4 and the Fusion have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Ford Fusion:

 

A4

Fusion

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

236

400

Neck Injury Risk

25%

65%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

230 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Ford Fusion:

 

A4

Fusion

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

269 G’s

Hip Force

308 lbs.

338 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

327

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

805 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

721 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fusion was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The A4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Fusion’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Fusion’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Fusion’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl., 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. and 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A4’s reliability 20 points higher than the Fusion.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 11 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The A4 has more powerful engines than the Fusion:

 

Horsepower

Torque

A4 40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

188 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

A4 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Fusion 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

175 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Fusion SE/SEL 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

181 HP

185 lbs.-ft.

Fusion 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Ford Fusion:

 

A4

Fusion SE/SEL

Fusion 2.0

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.2 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

9.2 sec

7.4 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.1 sec

6.1 sec

4.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

17 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

84.5 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the Fusion:

 

 

A4

Fusion

 

FWD

 

n/a

21 city/31 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

 

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

23 city/34 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

 

n/a

21 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

 

n/a

17 city/26 hwy

2.7 turbo V6/Auto Sport

Regardless of its engine, the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Ford only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Fusion 1.5 ECOBoost.

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Fusion.

The A4 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Fusion doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Fusion doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Fusion:

 

A4

A4 Quattro

Fusion

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.9 inches

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Fusion are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the Fusion:

 

A4

Fusion

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the Fusion (225/50R17 vs. 215/60R16). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fusion (245/40R18 vs. 235/50R17).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fusion S’ standard 60 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Fusion Titanium/Sport’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A4 has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Fusion S.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Fusion SE pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Fusion SE (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 5.7 inches shorter than the Fusion, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Fusion’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A4 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Fusion doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The A4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Fusion. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

The A4 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Fusion doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Fusion doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A4’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Fusion’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Fusion doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Fusion doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Fusion SEL/Titanium/Sport.

The A4 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Fusion SEL/Titanium/Sport. The A4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Fusion.

The A4 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Fusion.

Both the A4 and the Fusion offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Fusion doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A4 will retain 46.36% to 48.7% of its original price after five years, while the Fusion only retains 41.66% to 42.58%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Fusion because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Fusion, including $37 less for front brake pads and $330 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Fusion isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Fusion isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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