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Ford Fusion v. Lincoln Zephyr: Worth the Premium?

Not too many people compare models from the same manufacturer, it is simply something that just isnít done. Still, when the models are similar enough in development, yet very different in price, the question to be asked about the more expensive car is this: is it worth the premium? Both the Ford Fusion and Lincoln Zephyr share the same platform along with the Mercury Milan. The base price differential for the two models is nearly ten thousand dollars, quite a big difference for the two cars. Is the Zephyr overpriced? Or, is the Fusion that much more of a better buy? Or, perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between. Letís check out the two cars and see how they compare. The Ford Fusion is a welcome addition to the Ford line up as the venerable but aging Taurus leaves the fleet.

Along with the full size Five Hundred sedan and the Freestyle crossover vehicle, these new models are part of the overhaul changes put in place by Ford to get the brand moving again. Ford tapped its relationship with Mazda to build the Fusion. Borrowing the well regarded Mazda 6 platform, the Fusion, Zephyr, and Milan all share the same platform and many of the components. As mentioned earlier, the Lincoln Zephyr is priced nearly ten thousand dollars more than the Fusion. So, what are the differences between the Fusion and Zephyr? Unfortunately, not that much.

Both cars come equipped with a 3.0L Duratec V6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. In each model the engine produces the same 221 h. and the same performance results are achieved. This isnít bad, but it is disappointing that Ford engineers did not tweak the Zephyr enough to distinguish it from its more pedestrian sibling. While under the hood differences are not present, there are some differences in the ride. As typical with all Lincoln products, the Zephyrís suspension system is tuned for a gentler, more luxurious feel. According to Lincoln, the steering has also been modified to give it a above average assist. Next, the interior has been upgraded to include real walnut trim, a modified dashboard with sport display, and plush front bucket seats.

The exterior possesses the ubiquitous big Lincoln grille as well as larger than life tail lights and keyless entry. The Zephyr also offers a broader standard equipment list than the Ford, including a premium sound system, power heated front seats, and traction control. Still, a the top of the line Fusion SEL offers similar equipment options for a much lower price. Ultimately, what it comes down to for potential buyers is this: would you be satisfied with a fully loaded Fusion SEL or are you willing to pay a premium for the Lincoln with a more luxurious trim level and a softer ride? A judgment call that only you can make despite the huge price differences between models that vary little from each other.


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