Build quality is excellent as you would expect - the boat is born of both Pyranha ww and P&H seakayaking design.The HTPE plastic is lighter than rotomould, boat shoulders easily, but takes a knocking. It has never flexed or deformed on a rack or on the water. Seat position is adjustable on the fly thanks to ratchets. I like the performance seating as it's firmer and all of it stays under the coaming unlike some competitors.
The stern hatch is solidly watertight. I had no trouble opening and sealing the hatch cover. For some reason the stern hatch on the S is smaller than the one on the regular (now M) version so take that into account w. your gear. I also deducted a point for the skeg system since the pull cord looks a little light for a lot of use, and it is a little too far back for my liking.
The optional 1L pod is brilliant. Handy space for small stuff (not 100% waterproof tho). Detaches in seconds and goes on land w. you. Innovative and useful - again a perk over pure ww boats.
The Fusions as noted are narrower in beam that their XP cousins and felt quicker and a little more agile. The FusionS was a much better fit for me (5'3" 125 lbs, 30" inseam) and could easily fit a lean someone up to 5'9" and 175 lbs.
This boat is pretty swift on the flats w. the skeg down. I was easily keeping up w. rec boats 10-12 feet, and not even beginning to work hard. Skeg up and it's a pivoting joy to maneuver in Class 1-3 (can do higher, but I can't) Slips over obstacles nicely due to hull config. Very responsive, quick and easy to enter and exit cockpit. Rolls well.
This is a crossover to look at among the few good ones out there. As for me, it's looking like the final answer anytime I want a versatile boat for the river.
The Connect 30 seating system is outstanding, people that are not used to a back band may take a while getting used to it but it is a great intro into back band seating. I am 5'11" 175 lbs so I am at the high end of the boats rec. usage but I found the cockpit to be very comfortable and needed very little padding to get the fit snug.
For a boat that is designed to track well on flat water it does turn even with the skeg down. After a little getting used to it the skeg may not need to be used at all. With the skeg up it does turn on a dime nearly as quickly as a pure WW or play boat. The high rounded nose does not want to dig into waves, it rides up and over most everything I have gone into so far. It has good primary stability, secondary stability is a little non predicable, as I cannot feel the "edge" when the tipping point is reached. The boat rolls easily and the large large cockpit makes wet re-entry very easy.
When alone on flat water the boat seems fast as it does create a lot of wake and bow waves, but if you are with anybody in a 12' boat the illusion is gone. For a boat this short it is fast for a WW boat.
The light weight, and versatile nature of the Fusion make it a great boat for general use or a quick paddle. It is a lot of fun, and will see a lot of use in my "fleet".