By Matt Degen - Updated Date: 10/3/2012
The 2013 Fusion marks the second generation of Ford's mid-size family sedan. What was a good-looking car to begin with has become a dazzling one now with fresh sheet metal and slightly larger dimensions. At first glance, you might think it's an Aston Martin. The Ford Fusion's positive traits are more than skin-deep. Under its sleek hood, Ford has replaced the past V6 engine options with a choice of two small-but-powerful and fuel-efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplants. Those seeking the greatest fuel-economy will be drawn to the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid. With great looks, solid driving dynamics and a wide variety of features at competitive prices, the 2013 Fusion can more than hold its own against rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you want a midsize sedan that's value-oriented, engaging to drive, or boasts the highest fuel economy in its class, there is probably a version of the 2013 Fusion that fits your requirements.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you must have a V6 engine, the Fusion isn't for you. And if you want a coupe version, like what Honda offers in its Accord, you're out of luck there as well. Those seeking the lowest price in the segment, meanwhile, may be attracted to a Hyundai Sonata or Subaru Legacy.What's New for 2013
The Ford Fusion has been revamped for 2013 with a new design and high-tech safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Two different turbocharged 4-cylinder engines replace the V6 choices in previous models, and a plug-in hybrid called the Fusion Energi joins the regular Hybrid model, which is now rated at 47 mpg.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2013 Ford Fusion stands out in the mid-size sedan segment with its athletic driving character. While the base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is adequate, the sedan really shines with the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or the even more potent 2.0-liter turbo that boasts 240 horsepower. A smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission is standard except in the hybrids, which use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and the 1.6 turbo which offers a sterling 6-speed manual as a no-cost option. An optional fuel-saving start/stop system on the 1.6-liter model takes getting used to and can decrease the efficiency of the climate-control system at idle. All-wheel drive, available with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, offers extra grip. The Fusion Hybrid, meanwhile, is among the best we've driven. The system's transition between the gasoline engine and electric motor is nearly seamless, and the car can travel up to 62 mph on electric power alone. The Energi plug-in hybrid's electric-only top speed is 85 mph, and the car is rated to travel up to 21 miles on electricity alone and up to 620 miles total.Favorite Features
Perhaps the best thing about the hybrid version of the Fusion is that you may not know it is one until you realize how little fuel you're using. The Fusion Hybrid yields an EPA-estimated 47 mpg combined, and is a smooth operator while earning that lofty figure.
1.6-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
As with its use in the 2013 Ford Escape, this small-yet-mighty powerplant feels like the Goldilocks of the Fusion's gasoline engine choices. Connected to either the easy-to-use 6-speed manual transmission or the 6-speed automatic with auto start/stop, this engine returns up to 37 mpg.
The 2013 Fusion's cabin is comfortable but feels slightly narrow, despite interior space growing compared with the last model. Four adults can sit comfortably in the Fusion, or three kids can squeeze in the back seat. At 16 cubic feet, the new Fusion's trunk is a tad smaller than its predecessor. In hybrid models, some space is eaten up by under-floor batteries. Still, even hybrid models allow the rear seats to fold for added cargo room. The cloth seats and foam inserts in Fusion Hybrid models are made from recyclable or renewable materials. Supple leather seating and an audio/climate-control system with touch controls can be had in higher trims.Exterior
Ford has taken the Fusion's outer styling to a new level for this 2nd-generation, 2013 model. The car looks like a design from Aston Martin – which Ford previously owned – rather than your average 5-passenger family sedan. Bland this is not. 2013 Fusions are distinguished by a large trapezoidal grille up front. The EasyFuel capless gas filler system means you'll never again have to wrestle to open a fuel cap or wait for it to "click" into place. Energi versions have what looks like an additional fuel door on the front driver's side that covers the port for the charging cable. An innovative light ring indicates the level of charge, with a full circle equating a full charge.Notable Standard Equipment
The new Fusion debuts in four trims: S, SE, SE Hybrid, and Titanium. The Fusion Energi is set to arrive in early 2013. Base S models include manual climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input, 16-inch wheels, and Ford's SYNC wireless communication system with voice control. SE models add 10-way power driver's seat, rear air vents, a 6-speaker audio system, and 17-inch wheels. Moving up to the Titanium model nets the powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 12-speaker Sony premium audio system with HD and satellite radio, dual-zone auto climate control, a rearview camera, leather seating, and 18-inch wheels.
In addition to more powerful turbocharged engines, features available on the 2013 Ford Fusion emphasize technology for making the car safer and commutes more comfortable. Among the offerings are a reverse-sensing system, Active Park Assist to help with parallel parking, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, and a blind-spot monitoring system. One particularly interesting and potentially life-saving feature is the Lane Keeping System. Using a windshield-mounted camera, the car keeps a digital eye on road markings to detect if the car drifts into another lane. If that happens, the system alerts the driver by sounding a warning, vibrating the steering wheel and, ultimately, applying steering torque to get the car back into the lane.
The base engine in the 2013 Ford Fusion is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder carried over from the previous generation that makes 175 horsepower. Better engine options are the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost or the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which make 178 horsepower and 240 horsepower, respectively. Both turbo engines can run on regular unleaded gasoline. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive limited to the 2.0-liter engine. The new Fusion is offered in two hybrid versions. The regular hybrid uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor to achieve 47 mpg and a total output of 188 horsepower. A plug-in version called the Energi uses the same engine and motor setup but offers a larger lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged via an AC outlet. The Energi is estimated to travel up to 21 miles in EV mode, and up to 620 miles total before having to recharge the battery or fill up the gasoline tank. Recharge time for the battery is projected at 7 hours on a standard 120-volt outlet, or 2.5 hours on a 240-volt outlet.
175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual), 23/36 mpg (automatic), 24/37 (automatic with engine start/stop)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg (front-wheel drive), 22/31 mpg (all-wheel drive)
2.0-liter inline-4 and permanent magnet AC synchronous motor (hybrid)
188 horsepower (total)
129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 47/47 mpg
2.0-liter inline-4 and permanent magnet AC synchronous motor (plug-in hybrid)
195 horsepower (total, with full battery charge)
129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 108/92 mpg equivalent
A base 2013 Ford Fusion S has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $22,495. On the other end of the spectrum, a loaded Titanium model with all-wheel drive can reach over $38,000. Regular Hybrid models start just under $28,000, while the Energi plug-in hybrid starts at $39,495. At its starting price, the 2013 Fusion is in line with segment leader Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Chevy Malibu. The VW Passat, Hyundai Sonata, and Subaru Legacy undercut the Fusion's starting price. Hybrid models of the Fusion are priced higher than hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price before buying to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2013 Fusion. Looking ahead, we predict the Fusion's resale value to be near the top of this class, close to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.