2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2020 Acura TLX

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 Acura TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 TLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Fusion and the TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Ford Fusion is safer than the TLX:

Fusion

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

86

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

18 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.4/.3 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.63/.41

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

1/1.2 kN

4.4/5 kN

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, results indicate that the Ford Fusion is safer than the Acura TLX:

Fusion

TLX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

121

187

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

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 TLX was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

There are over 11 times as many Ford dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The TLX 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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

The Fusion Titanium’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 267) than the TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6.

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

Fusion

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.6 MPH

91.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Fusion

FWD

1.5 Turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

TLX

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Fusion stops shorter than the TLX:

Fusion

TLX

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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 TLX 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 TLX (112.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Fusion’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The Fusion’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (37.5 feet vs. 39.5 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 TLX 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 TLX is rated a Compact.

The Fusion has 9.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the TLX (102.8 vs. 93.3).

The Fusion has 2 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 3.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

The Fusion has a much larger trunk than the TLX (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 TLX’s liftover is 27.5 inches.

Towing

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

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Fusion and the TLX 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 TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 TLX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink 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 TLX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fusion owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Fusion with a number “1” insurance rate while the TLX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the TLX because it costs $254 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the TLX, including $132 less for a water pump, $147 less for a muffler, $575 less for a starter, $339 less for fuel injection, $239 less for a fuel pump, $222 less for front struts and $532 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Fusion will be $5521 to $6297 less than for the Acura TLX.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Acura TLX by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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