Ford has made something of a comeback. The company has seen its sales improve dramatically, up 43 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2010, and the company's new focus on quality appears to be paying dividends. J.D. Power's 2010 Initial Quality Study ranked it fifth overall out of 33 brands.
Its reliability is part of what sets the Fusion apart as a bargain car. Keeping your car out of the mechanic's garage is a key way to save money on transportation, and that's one area where the Fusion excels. J.D. Power rates the current Fusion sedan 4.5 out of 5 in predicted reliability, and Consumer Reports predicts new Fusions will have "much better than average" reliability.
Frugal-minded consumers will also appreciate the relatively low asking price. In the base four-cylinder trim package with an automatic transmission, the 2010 Fusion starts at $20,570. While the base model won't have Ford's flashy SYNC in-car communications system at that price, it comes with a better set of standard features than most of its peers. Buyers get a CD stereo with an auxiliary jack, power windows and locks, cruise control and alloy wheels. And the standard four-cylinder engine provides an adequate 175 horsepower and and gets 23 city/34 highway mpg, excellent mileage for a sedan.