The Ford Fusion was introduced for the 2006 model year as an attempt to stem the tied of mid-size stalwarts Camry and Accord. It did a reasonable job, although mostly when deep discounts were applied. Well for 2013 Ford has readied a second gen Fusion and this one is no bargain hunter’s delight. It's a “synthesis” of high style, high tech, and highly fuel efficient performance. So let’s see if the new Fusion generates a winning “blend”!
From first sight you know that the styling of the 2013 Ford Fusion is a winner. It’s striking, creating an aura much like the Hyundai Sonata did when it first appeared. Most of the automotive press, including us, have been salivating over the Aston Martin inspired design since it debuted in Detroit last January. And, while such fame can be fleeting, after spending some quality drive time with Fusion, we’re still just as enamored.
The new Fusion has grown, although by less than appearances suggest. Wheelbase is up by almost 5 inches to 112.2, but overall length grows just over an inch to 191.7. But that length is put to good use with a long hood and four-door-coupish body-sides that are sleek, and much more intense.
The rear deck sports additional creasing, and split LED tail lights book end a deck-lid cutout that mimics the grille for a very substantial look at the rear.
Inside, everything is well done with good materials throughout, if a little mono-tone looking. This Hybrid example sports SE trim with both SYNC and MyFord communications, with optional MyFord Touch, navigation, and back-up camera. Gauges follow other recent Fords with a large center speedometer with message centers on either side, each controlled with steering wheel mounted 5-way switches. Energy readouts with driver coaching are included for the Hybrid. We found that the seats are not as comfortable as some in this segment, though room is decent both up front and in back.
A big part of the 2013 Ford Fusion blend is fuel economy with performance. Like Sonata and Malibu, all engines are four-cylinder. At the top of the food chain for now is a new Fusion Hybrid. It’s downsized 2.0-liter-4 combines with an 88kW electric motor for a system output of 188-horsepower. Combined with a new CVT transmission, it can cruise under electric power only up to 62 miles-per-hour. Batteries are upgraded to lithium-ion, and as before, they are located in the trunk, decreasing storage space from 16.0 cubic-ft. to a still acceptable 12.0, and seat backs still fold 60/40.
Our first gasoline-electric driving opportunity came in Southern California, and while cruising around downtown Santa Monica the hybrid system worked seamlessly, though the engine does tend to get noisy when making fast getaways. When it came time to get out of town and hit the canyons, we ditched the Hybrid for a Fusion packing the 1.6-liter EcoBoost I4, which comes with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, and found it a real joy.
Through corners both tight and wide, the Fusion’s electric steering, combined with a strut front and multi-link rear suspension, delivered eager response. Front and rear stabilizer bars help keep things relatively flat, making the Fusion easily among the top in its segment for driver enjoyment. The 6-speed manual shifts smoothly and the 1.6-liter provides more than adequate power, much more than 178-horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque would indicate.
A 6-speed automatic is available, and it’s standard on both on the carryover, base 175-horsepower 2.5-liter normally aspirated I4, and with manual shift mode, on the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter Ecoboost turbo-4 that also can be ordered with all-wheel drive.
We spent some time in the 2.0 Ecoboost as well, and it is definitely a little smoother and quieter, plus peppiest of the group. Still, we’d love to drive the 1.6 manual everyday.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings span from 22-City, 33-Highway and 26-Combined in the 2.0 Turbo, to a Camry beating 47 straight across for the Hybrid. Which naturally has the best Energy Impact Score at 7.0-barrels of oil consumed annually with CO2 emissions of 3.1-tons.
The intense competition in mid-size sedans has kept base prices low, as the Fusion starts at just $22,495, and tops out at $30,995 for the Platinum trim. The Hybrid stickers for $27,995 with a plug-in Energi model due next year.
The Fusion’s blend of beauty and brains certainly won us over. On top of its great face, loads of features, and leading fuel economy, it also is one of the best handling family four-doors ever. The 2013 Ford Fusion is yet another signal that Detroit is back, once again building great cars you’ll want to own.
Engine: 1.6-liter EcoBoost I4
Torque: 184 lb-ft.
EPA: 22 City/ 33 Highway
Energy Impact: 7.0-barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 3.1 tons/yr