"Like its siblings, the Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ, the Fusion is based on the old Mazda6. It combines a firm and controlled ride with responsive handling. AWD is available, and ESC is optional for 2009. An updated 2010 model goes on sale this spring with a more powerful four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic, an optional 3.5-liter V6 in the Sport version, and standard ESC. Our initial impressions are that engine noise is reduced, and interior fit and finish is better. A new hybrid version uses an updated version of the Escape hybrid's powertrain. Crash-test results and reliability are both impressive."
The Malibu is very competitive in its class. Two engines are offered: a 169-hp four-cylinder and a 252-hp V6. A mild-hybrid version of the four-cylinder engine is also available, but gets only 27 mpg. The car is quiet, rides well, and has responsive and secure handling. The LTZ is tauter, but that doesn't result in compromised ride comfort. The V6 is quick and refined. With the optional six-speed automatic, the four-cylinder gets 25 mpg. ESC is now standard across the line. The interior is roomy and mostly well put together. IIHS crash-test results are good. First year reliability of the 4-cylinder has been above average and the V6 average.
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