Ford Fusion Called Motor Trend Car of Year

The Ford Fusion is Motor Trend magazine's car of the year.

The 2010 Fusion beat out 22 competitors, including the redesigned Toyota Prius, the BMW 7-Series and the Chevrolet Camaro.

Motor Trend says the mid-size Fusion offers good performance, comfort and fuel-efficiency. It praised Ford Motor Co. for offering several versions of the Fusion, including a fuel-efficient hybrid and a sporty version with a V-6 engine.

The magazine chooses the car of the year after extensive road testing. To compete, cars had to be new or significantly upgraded for the 2010 model year, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, MotorTrend Magazine reports, there has never been a more turbulent backdrop to the Motor Trend Car of the Year in the 60-year history of the award. The economic meltdown precipitated by the egregious excesses of Wall Street and the banks has, with stunning speed, completely remade the global automotive-industry landscape. Within months of the 2009 COTY announcement, GM and Chrysler, once vibrant symbols of American capitalism, were bankrupt, and mighty Toyota had announced its first operating loss in 59 years. The old world order had crumbled. Just like that.

As automakers rushed to stem losses, new-model programs were canceled -- Honda's NSX successor and Cadillac's rear-drive flagship, to name just two -- and whole brands killed off -- Pontiac, Saturn. But the industry's inherent inertia -- it takes about three years to get a new vehicle from concept to showroom -- meant the flood of new and significantly improved vehicles launched on the U.S. market barely slowed, even as credit-strapped customers deserted new-car showrooms, MotorTrend Magazine reports.

It was also reported, the Fusion was chosen best of 23 new or significantly upgraded vehicles that were eligible for the award after a week of testing, Motor Trend said.

Motor Trend said the full range of Fusion models was impressive to the judges, from the four-cylinder entry level vehicles to the all-wheel drive sport and hybrid versions.

The Fusion, which has become one of the top 10 selling vehicles in the United States and was redesigned for 2010, exceeded its previous annual sales peak earlier in November. The car was launched initially by Ford in 2006.

Ford posted a nearly $1 billion third-quarter profit that surprised Wall Street analysts this month and is the only large U.S. automaker not to reorganize in bankruptcy with U.S. government support in 2009, Reuters reports.

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