Fusion continues to blend substance with style
"It was particularly successful in Canada, where the Ford Fusion has been a top seller over the last three years."
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - When the Ford Fusion arrived in North America back in 2007, it was supported by the kind of social media campaigning few models had enjoyed before. It was particularly successful in Canada, where Fusion has been a top seller over the last three years.
The 2013 Ford Fusion is one attractive makeover in many ways — not the least being the sculpted exterior. With well raked windshield, large alloy wheels (the selections start from a base 17-inch rim) and a well proportioned greenhouse, the new Fusion is sleek enough to look entirely modern (it’s 10% better in the wind tunnel than the 2012 Fusion), yet different enough to avoid confusion with competitors. North American styling is out, global is in.
Inside, the 2013 Fusion features a more upright dash set closer to the windshield, with fewer buttons set low on the centre stack. It’s hard not to think of Volvo when noting the floating centre stack treatment.
Soft-touch surfaces abound, and while the seats themselves are comfortable, the sheen of the material might drive some buyers to more upscale trims.
And Fusion will be available in a wide variety of configurations, with four different engine choices and three distinct levels of equipment. The only drivetrain holdover is the normally aspirated 2.5-litre inline four that was formally the smaller option for Fusion buyers. Now, it’s the biggest displacement, and at 175 hp, the least powerful. A 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine offers 178 hp and 184 lb.-ft. for front-wheel drive buyers, and those who opt for the 2.0-litre EcoBoost can route 240 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque either to the front only or through an all-wheel drive system.
All three engines come with six-speed automatics, although the 1.6 EcoBoost can also be ordered with a delightful six-speed manual that driving enthusiasts are sure to appreciate.
A short ride in a Fusion hybrid makes the choice even tougher. The combination of 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder, electric motor and a CVT transaxle is expected to consume as little as four litres of fuel over 100 km of driving, with a virtually even split between highway and city figures. A plug-in hybrid will be released in the near future, according to Ford. Particularly impressive in the hybrid is Ford’s use of active noise cancelling technology: you’d expect a hybrid to be quiet, especially when the car is able to cruise in all-electric mode at near-highway speeds, but this hybrid could rival top-end luxury cars for tomb-like silence.
More tech savvy in the hybrid provides an almost dizzying selection of display modes that coach drivers towards ever lower fuel consumption numbers. You can grow a virtual vine while saving fossil fuels and keeping water bottles out of landfills!
Yes, the blue oval is continuing to package technology and fuel efficiency, and with engineers throwing in features like available start-stop technology in some trim levels, you now can’t get a Fusion rated for anything over 10.0 L/100km. You’re also going to have to stretch to spend $40,000 on one. Even the Titanium AWD Fusion starts at under $34,000 (plus destination charge), and you can get started for about $22,500 for a 2.5 S. The mid-range SE may be the volume seller starting $2,000 up the scale, because you can get the high output 2.0 at the level, along with all-wheel drive and a number of additional options.
The latest version of MyFord Touch allows for driver customization on virtually every car control parameter, and Ford is also offering gadgets like a lane-keeping system (less intrusive than most units I’ve tested) active park assist, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control, not to mention traction control with roll stability control.
Despite the new bodywork and an impressive array of new drivetrain and equipment options, the new Fusion remains true to its, name — bringing together the best of what Ford can offer to the mid-size sedan driver.
2013 Ford Fusion
Available trims: S; SE; Titanium; Hybrid
MSRP range: $22,499 - $33,999
Notable Options: Navigation, lane-keeping system, active park assist, blind spot information system, cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control
Configuration: front engine/ front- or all-wheel drive
Available engines: 2.5L 4-cyl. (175 hp/175 lb.-ft.); 1.6L turbo 4-cyl. (178/184); 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. (240/270), 2.0L 4-cyl. with electric assist (Net 188/129).
Available transmissions: 6-spd. Manual; 6-spd. Automatic; continuously variable
Fuel economy ratings (L/100km): 9.2 city/ 5.8 hwy (2.5 auto), 8.0/5.3 (1.6 man.), 8.7/5.5 (1.6 auto), 9.2/5.9 (2.0 FWD), 9.5/6.3 (2.0 AWD); 4.0/4.1 (Hybrid)
Competitors: Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry
Strengths: price; styling; range of options; fuel economy
Weaknesses: some interior materials