2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2020 Chevrolet Impala

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 Impala doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

Both the Fusion and the Impala 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available 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 Chevrolet Impala:

Fusion

Impala

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

30 lbs.

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

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 Impala:

Fusion

Impala

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

86

89

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.63/.41

.68/.32

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 Impala:

Fusion

Impala

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.3 inches

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

805 lbs.

855 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

258

315

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

The Ford Fusion has a better fatality history. The Fusion was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 33% lower per vehicle registered than the Impala, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty

The Fusion’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Impala’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 Impala 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 Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 264) than the Impala’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Fusion

FWD

1.5 Turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl

20 city/29 hwy

Impala

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Fusion ECOBoost FWD’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 Impala doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Impala 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 Impala (3 to 7). This means the Fusion produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impala every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Fusion stops shorter than the Impala:

Fusion

Impala

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Fusion’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Impala’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The Ford Fusion may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Chevrolet Impala.

The Fusion is 9.5 inches shorter than the Impala, making the Fusion easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Impala doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Fusion has .1 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more rear headroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Impala.

Cargo Capacity

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 Impala’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Chevrolet Impala is limited to 1000 pounds. The Fusion offers up to a 2000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Fusion’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Impala’s passenger windows don’t close 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 Impala 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 Impala 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 Impala 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 Impala 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 Impala’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Fusion detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Impala is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Impala because it costs $573 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the Impala, including $320 less for a water pump, $56 less for a muffler, $123 less for a starter, $128 less for fuel injection, $250 less for a fuel pump, $92 less for front struts and $125 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 $1713 to $3533 less than for the Chevrolet Impala.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Chevrolet Impala by over three to one during 2018.

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

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