Cars.comparison Pits Camry vs. Fusion vs. Optima


Joe Wiesenfelder and Mike Hanley just finished a three-way shootout between some of the most popular midsize sedans on the market. The two compared four-cylinder versions of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Kia Optima in a number of categories, including ride, handling and safety. For savvy readers, the winner won’t be much of a surprise, but seeing which vehicle fared best in each category makes for some intriguing reading.

Cars.comparison: Midsize Sedans

By David Thomas | October 25, 2006 | Comments (20)



Nice review, I have a few comments.
1. I wonder how the Mazda 6 would have fared? It's the basis for the Fusion, did Ford mess up a good thing?
2. Glad to see Kia (and Hyundai) continuing to make quantum leaps in design and quality. The more competition the better for consumers.
3. The ground effects look positively ridiculous on the Camry.


i dont know how you could say that the fusion doesnt even have acceptable quality i think the fusion equals the camry in quality, my dad just bought the new xle v6 camry and i spotted many panel gaps and also in many of the other camrys that i have sat in....i have rented a fusion base model and it was not bad at all the plastics were good and this is the first review that says the fusions interior is not up to par


Just about every reputable car magazine has panned the Fusion for it's ill fitting body panels. My Uncle is the Chief 'Tool & Die' maker for MB in Stuttgart. He graduated from the MIT equivalent of Germany and has been stating since the late 80's that no one assembles tighter fitting panels than the Japenese. He said from what he has observed Infiniti appears to be the best at it today. Ironically my sister purchased a 4cyl Fusion and really likes it, however my Dad thought the front hood was unlatched because there was such a large gap. Three trips to the dealer and it's appearance is much better, however now the hood is difficult to unlatch. Go figure.


I travel a lot and have rented my fair share of Fusions and Camry's. I can say that there is no comparison. The Fusion drives nice in both 4 and 6 cylinder form, however driving the Camry after having spent a week in a Fusion you feel like you've stepped up to a car costing $10,000 more. My wife really likes the look of the Fusion, however the 4 cylinder is too buzzy for our taste so we recently bought her an Accord instead. The Toyota dealers cannot match the Accord on value, I guess due to the Accord being an older platform.


Like some of the other posters I too have rented the Fusion and find it decent but not much else. The most unpleasant issue I have with it is the turning radius is closer to a large SUV then it is to a car.
I enjoyed the article and found it ironic that Ford offers the longest Road Side Assistance. Wonder if they are onto something...


So how come the Accord was not on the comparison?


As the owner of a 2006.5 Optima, I agree with the review although I didn't find the new car smell offensive :-) The transmission is slow to upshift, even under modest acceleration and does take some getting used to but, even with the 4 cylinder, I'm usually leading the pack when the light turns green.
The front seats do need work. Recently took a 3 hour drive and HAD to stop at the 1/2 way point, not for the potty but to stretch my back. NO complaints from the 3 kids in the back or about the trunk which is cavernous for a smaller car.

The Mazda6 would have been a compelling contender (as would the Accord) but we wanted to include new or recently redesigned models in this faceoff, and both the Mazda6 and Accord have been on sale in their current form for a few years now.

Johnny B.

Where was the new Saturn Aura? Seemed to fit the paramaters of this test, and quite a contender I hear.


Johnny B,
I too wondered where the new Aura is. My wife and I was thinking of buying one, however during the test drive the 4spd auto clearly was not a good match for the V6. Thinking that it was that particular car we test drove another. Same result. The 4spd trans is very sluggish. Oddly enough on the more upscale trim level they have a 6pd auto which works fine. When we priced out that model we were in Accord V6 territory. We went with the Accord as it was in our eyes the best all around value. The Mazda6 was a very close second. If not for the obnoxious Mazda dealer we would have bought.

Here's Mike's Aura review from a few week's back

The Aura comes standard with a V6 this comparison was for four-cylinders

Toyota Troll

Another victory for the Camry. Why do Ford and Kia even bother to try to sell vehicles in the same class? Toyota has created yet another perfect vehicle with the Camry. No other brand offers so much quality, value, and ecological soundness.


Ford and Kia attempt to match Toyota, but they always come out miles behind. Best buck for the car is going to be Toyota because their company leadership stresses quality and pride over mass production and company profit.


Those that think the Camry is better than the Fusion have swallowed the 15+ years of hype that the Japanese have shoved down our throats. After driving all of them and watching the fusion challenge online, I agree with a lot of what people are saying. The Fusion is miles ahead of the competition. It's just sad that the anti-American car sentiment is so strong. I laugh everytime I see someone driving a new Camry knowing that they got duped out of several thousand more bucks for a car that is cheaper than a grocery cart in quality.


Fusion is my top pick. With quality beign equal, better ride and handleing, more torqe, Sync, and a lower price tag why go with the Camry?


I decided to buy a fusion after looking at all of the different brands on the market. 0% interest and financed for 36 months and my payment is STILL under $540 a month! Toyota and Honda couldn't touch that. Sync in totally convenient. Had the car for almost a year now. Issues I've had since purchase... zero. My partner bought a Honda Accord after chiding me relentlessly about my decision. He's not laughing anymore... he's had it in the shop SIX times in four months. It's rattled since the day we brought it home and one week after purchase the front console panel came off... how does that even happen? One of the wheels had to be replaced... the WHOLE thing... started making this horrible noise. My neighbor bought a Camry (also poking fun at my decision) and has been driving a loaner for the past week... something wrong with the computer and they can't seem to find it... it just quit in the parking lot and had to be towed. While the "professionals" may say fusion just doesn't stack up, the consumers have a different story... check out consumer ratings before deciding to rule any car out... I'm glad I did! The downside... we've been on three road trips so far and I was "elected" to drive! Dependability has a downside! :)

And I bet your partner and neighbor still think their cars are superior, lol. I like all cars- regardless of where they are made, but I love hearing my friends who drive imports and think I am stupid for driving a ford complain about repairs. I just smile and tell them how much I have spent on repairs in the last three years- $25. 15 for a hose, and $10 to pay some guy in autozone's parking lot to put it on for me. :)



Thank you to everyone who has pointed out that we need to buy a superior, better designed, American-made car. I, too, am sick of the anti-American sentiment when it comes to the auto industry. By the way.... Toyota Camry: built in Kentucky, USA; Ford Fusion: built in Hermosillo, Mexico. Thank you again to everyone for giving us your well-informed opinions. I'll take a Lexus or a Toyota over any "American-made" vehicle any day.


Some extra reading for you:

"Mexico's Carmakers In A Ditch
Mexican auto plants are reeling from disastrous U.S. sales. Can they get rolling again?

Out in the middle of Mexico's searing Sonoran desert, Ford Motor Co.'s (F ) Hermosillo plant is humming. Clipboard-toting supervisors watch as assembly-line workers install final accessories on test-run production of the new Fusion model."

Full article at:


Well whats wrong with them being made in mexico. It would help if US workers would actually do quality work without having to be paid 10 times thier worth and have all thier demands met and rediculous health plans maybe companies could afford to build in the US. Some of the best cars come from Canada and Mexico. I belive some japanese manufactures have plants in these countries.....

The new Fusions are very nice, I have not been impressed by any of the japanese cars that have came out. I have been overly impressed by Ford latley even though i really hate fords.

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