2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Fusion 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 Chevrolet Cruze doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Fusion are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Cruze doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking optional in the Fusion as “Superior.” The Cruze scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

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

The Fusion’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cruze doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Fusion and the Cruze have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The Ford Fusion weighs 483 to 986 pounds more than the Chevrolet Cruze. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 Chevrolet Cruze:

Fusion

Cruze

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Stress

234 lbs.

259 lbs.

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

47 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 Chevrolet Cruze:

Fusion

Cruze

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

121

245

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.2 inches

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

327

497

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

63 G’s

Hip Force

805 lbs.

937 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

258

331

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, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Fusion the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cruze has not been fully tested, yet, but doesn’t qualify for 2017 “Top Pick.”

Warranty

The Fusion’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Cruze’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Cruze isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 5 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The Fusion S’ standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (175 vs. 153) than the Cruze’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Fusion SE/SEL’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (181 vs. 153) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (185 vs. 177) than the Cruze’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Fusion Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 92 more horsepower (245 vs. 153) and 98 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 177) than the Cruze’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Fusion Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Cruze:

Fusion

Cruze

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.6 MPH

82.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Fusion FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cruze Diesel’s standard fuel tank (16.5 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Fusion AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cruze’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 13.7 gallons).

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 Cruze 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 Chevrolet Cruze (3 to 6). This means the Fusion produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cruze every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Fusion

Cruze

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Fusion has larger standard tires than the Cruze (215/60R16 vs. 195/65R15). The Fusion SE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cruze (235/50R17 vs. 225/45R17).

The Fusion S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cruze L/LS’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Fusion S has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cruze L/LS. The Fusion Titanium’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Cruze Premier RS.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Fusion has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Cruze has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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

The Fusion has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Fusion flat and controlled during cornering. The Cruze’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Fusion has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Cruze doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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 Cruze doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Cruze (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Fusion is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Cruze.

For better maneuverability, the Fusion’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Cruze’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.7 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 Cruze doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Fusion a Mid-size car, while the Cruze is rated a Compact.

The Fusion has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cruze (102.8 vs. 94).

The Fusion has .3 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear hip room and 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cruze Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Fusion has a much larger trunk than the Cruze Sedan (16 vs. 14.8 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 Cruze’s liftover is 27.4 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Fusion’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Cruze’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge (except wagon).

The Fusion’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Cruze L/LS’ standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Fusion. The Cruze doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Fusion SEL/Titanium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Cruze doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Fusion SEL/Titanium’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Cruze doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Fusion’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Cruze’s parking brake has to released manually.

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 Cruze’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Fusion the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Cruze can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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’s exterior PIN entry system. The Cruze doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

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’s exterior PIN entry system. The Cruze doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Fusion has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Cruze doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Cruze’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Fusion has standard extendable sun visors. The Cruze doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Fusion’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cruze doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Fusion Titanium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Cruze doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Fusion’s optional 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. The Cruze doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Fusion offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Cruze doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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 Cruze doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Cruze because it costs $282 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the Cruze, including $493 less for a water pump, $48 less for a muffler, $203 less for a starter, $135 less for a fuel pump and $71 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Chevrolet Cruze by 22% during 2018.

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

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