In a battle of economy sedans, we’ve taken the 2010-2011 Ford Fusion and matched it up against the 2010-2011 Toyota Camry. The Camry has been around for decades, its first production

year being 1980. The Fusion is much newer, being in only its second generation of production and first being introduced in 2005. We’ve taken the research of Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Motor Trend to see if the technology of the newer Fusion can stand up to the long-practiced experience of the Camry.

Powertrain: Two cars, five engine choices. Not bad for the mid-size class. Both models offer a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with the Ford engine barely edging the Toyota in power. The Camry offers one V6 option, the 3.5L, which is actually slightly more powerful than either of the available Ford V6s. Fuel economy is fairly even, as is transmission choice and performance. The edge may be decided by the available AWD from Ford. It is optional on the Sport, but mandatory on the V6-powered SEL.

Winner: Ford Fusion

Braking/Safety/Handling: Both vehicles performed well in frontal crash tests, earning a perfect five stars. The Toyota, however, did do slightly better in the side impact rear test, earning five stars to the Fusion’s four. Both models have standard antilock brakes, stability control, and front and side-curtain airbags. The Camry does seem to perform better in corners where the Fusion’s handling is rather numb and unresponsive.

Winner: Toyota Camry

Cargo/Hauling: Trunk capacity for all models of the Camry is 15 cubic feet. That’s just a shade under what Ford offers at 16.5 cubes, one of the largest in this class. The split-folding rear seat is a handy feature for the Fusion, allowing for larger items to be stored in the vehicle. Interior storage space is also extremely adequate on the Ford. Towing capacity, should you wish to attach a small trailer, is nearly dead even at 1,000 lbs.

Winner: Ford Fusion

Comfort/Interior: This is the hardest category to judge on these two models as both offer a very comfortable interior with several highlights on ergonomics and functionality. The Fusion abounds with soft-touch materials and plenty of room for all four passengers. The Camry’s design is much more straight-forward, utilizing wide seating and wood accents. The reclining rear seats may give it the slight edge as this is a feature not normally seen in this class.

Winner: Toyota Camry

Amenities/Options: The Camry offers a bevy of options that could actually classify it as an entry-level luxury vehicle. Bluetooth, a JBL surround-sound system with in-dash CD changer and satellite radio, dual-zone climate control, moonroof, keyless ignition, a navigation system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather seating are all available. As good as that sounds, Ford not only matches it, they beat it. Couple all the above options with a rearview camera, blind-spot warning sensor, and a 12-speaker Sony sound system that is very hard to rival.

Winner: Ford Fusion

Value for the $: MSRP on both of these animals is nearly as dead even as the rest of the categories. The Fusion starts off at $19,695 and climbs to $28,355 fully loaded. The Camry begins at $19,395 and moves up to $29,045 for the fully-loaded XLE.

Winner: Despite the similarity in prices, the Ford actually offers more as the price climbs. Going above the $25K mark will earn you the AWD option on the Fusion, something lacking with the Camry. This added amenity, coupled with the luxurious options and added space, make the Fusion the overall winner by a nose.

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