2019 Ford Fusion vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The rear seatbelts of the Fusion Titanium inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Maxima doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Fusion offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Fusion and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, driver alert monitors and available front and rear parking sensors.

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

 

Fusion

Maxima

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

32%

38%

Neck Stress

234 lbs.

328 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 Ford Fusion is safer than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Fusion

Maxima

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

121

295

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

327

391

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

16 inches

16 inches

HIC

258

300

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

721 lbs.

997 lbs.

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

Warranty

There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Fusion’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Fusion Sport’s standard 2.7 turbo V6 produces 25 more horsepower (325 vs. 300) and 119 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Fusion Sport is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Fusion

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.3 sec

14.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.8 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.4 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Fusion

 

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

Maxima

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/30 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Fusion 1.5 ECOBoost’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Fusion uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The Maxima requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Fusion has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Maxima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Ford Fusion higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the Fusion produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Fusion stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

Fusion

Maxima

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Fusion has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Fusion offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Fusion’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Maxima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Maxima (112.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The Fusion SE handles at .85 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Fusion’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Maxima’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The front grille of the Fusion uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Maxima doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Fusion has 4.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (102.8 vs. 98.5).

The Fusion has .8 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 4.1 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

The Fusion has a much larger trunk than the Maxima (16 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Fusion easier. The Fusion’s trunk lift-over height is 24.4 inches, while the Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

Towing

The Fusion has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Maxima has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Fusion has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Maxima doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Fusion and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Fusion is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Fusion’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium/Sport’s exterior keypad. The Maxima doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Fusion’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Fusion (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Maxima doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Fusion (except S)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fusion owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Fusion will cost $400 to $5445 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

The Fusion will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Fusion will retain 41.66% to 42.58% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because it costs $144 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the Maxima, including $226 less for a water pump, $92 less for a muffler, $140 less for a starter, $105 less for fuel injection, $196 less for a fuel pump, $121 less for front struts and $247 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Fusion will be $8305 to $15417 less than for the Nissan Maxima.

Recommendations

The Fusion Hybrid was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2010. The Maxima has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Fusion as their 2010 Car of the Year. The Maxima has never been chosen.

The Fusion Hybrid was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2010. The Maxima has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Fusion Hybrid as the 2010 North American Car of the Year. The Maxima has never been chosen.

The Ford Fusion outsold the Nissan Maxima by over four to one during 2018.

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

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