‘LONGER, SLEEKER AND MORE FUEL EFFICIENT’
Not only is the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion sleeker and longer, it is the first sedan to offer gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, each with expected top fuel economy, underscoring Ford’s commitment to give customers the power of choice. I tested the Fusion hybrid SE model and enjoyed the ride and didn’t mind passing gas stations on long drives.
The front fascia reminds me of the new Mustang with the wide-mouth front grille that uses horizontal chrome bars giving it a luxury look, thin yet wide projector-beam headlamp clusters that give the front end a wider look, a lower front bumper with another air intake, and a lower splitter to enhance downforce and add to its stability at highway speeds. The sleek silhouette features steeply raked windshield ‘A’ pillars and thin roof pillars suggesting the car is nimble and light on its feet. A full-perimeter chrome strip wraps around the greenhouse giving the new Fusion an added luxury touch. All of these features further set it apart from the powertrain/cabin/trunk ‘three-box’ designs synonymous with other midsize sedans. Fusion demonstrates that a tasteful, well-executed design does not require add-ons or visual clutter. The rear mirrors the front with thin wraparound LED taillights, a lip spoiler and single polished chrome exhaust tip on the hybrid model that I tested. From any angle, the all-new 2013 Fusion looks new, fresh and contemporary. I liked the new look and so did other drivers that gave me the ‘thumbs-up’ when passing by and asking what model it was when parked.
Powering the all-new Fusion Hybrid is a combination of gasoline powered, all-new 2.0 liter, DOHC, all-aluminum Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine featuring intake variable camshaft timing that is significantly downsized from the previous 2.5 liter unit and 10% more efficient than a traditional four-cycle engine. It generates 141 hp at 6,000 rpm and 129 lb.ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The electric motor is a permanent magnet AC Synchronous motor that generates 117 lb.ft. of torque. It features all-new lithium-ion batteries that also save weight and generate more power than previous nickel-metal hydride batteries. These new batteries, besides saving weight, and generating more power than before, raises maximum speed under electric-only power from 47 mph to 62 mph. It is quite amazing to be riding at 60 mph on the highway with no vibration or noise coming from the gasoline engine. EPA fuel economy stats are 47 mpg/city and 44 mph/highway-best in-class.
Also more new and notable features in the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the 10% increase in body strength using more high-strength steel including Boron; active noise control using the audio system to cancel out unwanted powertrain noise plus acoustic underbody shields and weight-saving sound-absorption material that together minimize road noise and powertrain noise while boosting aerodynamic efficiency for better fuel economy; also new is adding a full-perimeter hood seal to be among the midsize sedan segment leaders in giving drivers a very quiet ride; class-exclusive Lane Keeping System that helps you maintain proper lane position, alerting you if it detects drowsiness or erratic lane-keeping; adaptive cruise control that maintains proper following distance when slower traffic is detected ahead, and sounds a collision warning if necessary, Active Park Assist can identify a suitable parallel parking space and steer the car into the spot with minimal driver input; and Blind Sport Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert that warns of traffic in a your blind spot, or oncoming traffic backing out of a parking space with obstructed views. This is part of the Technology Package and I highly recommend it to keep you and your passengers’ safe in all types of driving situations.
The gasoline/electric engine is mated to a new HF35 eCVT hyrid powersplit transaxle that puts the power down on the road. This continuously variable transmission is quiet and pulls the combined system power of 188 hp with power when needed to pass on the highway or around slower city traffic.
The all-new Fusion Hybrid is even more fun to drive with a specially tuned electric power-assisted rack & pinion steering system that has great feel for the road surface and quick feedback of your inputs. It really helps with the enjoyment of driving the new Fusion. Enjoyment is further enhanced with its fully independent suspension that gives the car a more dynamic character that will please any well-seasoned enthusiast while increasing the confidence level of less-experienced drivers. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with gas-pressurized gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The rear is a control link setup with gas-pressurized gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The ride is solid at cruising speeds and very nimble and light when maneuvering around slow city traffic.
Further increasing your confidence behind the wheel is the powerful, 4-wheel steel disc braking system with regenerative brakes that give back power to the batteries. Up front are 300 mm vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and the rear solid discs measure 302 mm and are clamped with single-piston calipers. You maintain control during severe braking times with standard ABS, Traction Control and AdvanceTrak stability control with roll-stability control. The brakes when pressed hard are very linear and have a very good feel for the amount of pressure you will apply when braking. The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE rides on 7.5 X 17 in. aluminum wheels wrapped with 235/50R17 in. low rolling resistance tires to enhance the mpg.
All four doors open wide to present you with a warm and inviting interior. It offers a sporty, driver-oriented environment with next-generation seating that brings expanded functionality. A higher center console supports the driver-centric theme and yields clever storage for items you want to keep handy. Additional passenger space was designed-in by moving the instrument panel toward the windshield, contributing to the cabin’s airy, open environment. Thinner, lighter frames support the comfortable next-generation seats trimmed with fabric using recycled sustainable yarns or soft leather in the SE and Titanium trim levels. Interior surfaces are softer to the touch and interior and exterior gaps are minimized, while extra care has been taken to upholster or cover each edge and every surface a custom can touch. When the trunk lid is opened, for example, a spring-loaded cover automatically conceals the trunk latch hardware. The new gauge cluster is called ‘SmartGauge with EcoGuide that is a unique instrument cluster that gives hybrid owners a more connected driving experience by coaching them to further maximize fuel efficiency. It features full-color, liquid crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of the analog speedometer that can be configured to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, average and instant miles per gallon, as well as growing leaves and vines that track and reward your driving efficiency.
Standard features in the SE grade Fusion Hybrid not mentioned above includes integrated spotted power-remote/heated/manual folding side mirrors, keyless entry keyboard, easy fuel capless fuel filler, heated/10-way power driver’s seat/2-way power front passenger seat, 60/40 split fold rear bench seat, A/C dual climate control, three power-points, power windows/door locks with front one-touch express up/down, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, center console with dual cupholders, stick shifter and storage bin with leather armrest, front/rear floor mats, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, rear heating ducts, rear window defroster, intermittent variable wipers/washers, AM-FM-CD-Sirius stereo radio with 6-speakers, message center with trip computer, MyKey, remote keyless entry, grab handles above each door, pull-down rear center armrest with dual cupholders, and thick-cut pile carpeting.
Options aboard my test Fusion SE hybrid not mentioned above included a great navigation system with GPS.
Standard safety systems include Securilock passage anti-theft, dual front airbags, dual side-impact upfront, driver knee airbags, side curtain airbags, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, tire pressure monitor, 3-point seatbelts including front pretensioners/load limiters, perimeter alarm, child rear door locks, and the LATCH system for child seats.
The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion SE hybrid is a great looking, great performing and is loaded with the latest high-tech goodies to keep you and your passenger safe and well connected. It is expected to deliver better fuel economy and efficiency than either the Toyota Camry hybrid or the Hyundai Sonata hybrid.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ