I’d been looking forward to driving the new Ford Fusion since attending its global launch event in Detroit at the 2012 Auto Show there. Ford was taking a huge leap of faith in completely making over a vehicle that was already well received and fairly popular with consumers.
Enter the 2013 Ford Fusion and its myriad powertrain offerings and modern styling, not to mention sales figures, and it is clear the gamble is paying off.
Earlier this year I got the chance to test the new AWD Sport variant of the Fusion and recently a Hybrid model graced our test driveway and in each model we were not disappointed. Driving the Sport version around Ford’s test track was a great experience with the Fusion offering nimble handling and a connected driving experience. Clearly it can hold its own in the modern, crowded midsize sedan segment.
As for hybrid midsize sedans, the field clears out a bit as many automakers have yet to embrace alternative powertrains for their most popular models. Ford has taken a unique approach by offering the “normal” gasoline/electric Fusion Hybrid and the plugin gasoline/electric Fusion Energi.
Our Fusion Hybrid tester features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine mated to an 88kW permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor that work together to generate a total system power of 188hp. Ford’s HF35 eCVT hybrid powersplit transmission sends all power to Fusion’s front wheels.
The new gasoline engine is downsized from the previous hybrid powertrain, yet it maintains performance characteristics while boosting fuel efficiency to 47 mpg across the board. Another change for 2013 is the choice of Lithium-ion for the battery pack over the last-gen nickel-metal hydride technology, a move that not only saves weight but offers more power as well.
The new Fusion offers a host of new technologies including lane-keeping assistance to help drivers maintain proper lane position, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and BLIS blind spot information system with rear cross traffic alert. There is also a new active noise control that uses the audio system to cancel out unwanted powertrain noise.
Driving the Fusion Hybrid is a breeze as the vehicle operates nearly “normal” with little to remind occupants of the car’s green character. While barely sipping fuel under normal conditions, acceleration is boosted greatly thanks to the electric motor component of the hybrid powertrain.
Fusion is very smooth and quiet on the road and is a great choice for trips around town or across country. It offers all of the latest creature comforts as well as safety and infotainment technologies and it is a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.
Pricing for the Fusion Hybrid begins at $27,200. Our loaded tester arrived with a final sticker of just over 35 grand thanks to technology, luxury and driver assist packages. Its SE trim package has leather seating and interior along with fog lamps, halogen headlamps, body color body side moldings and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
About the only downside of the new Fusion Hybrid is the loss of some cargo space in the trunk to accommodate the Li-Ion battery pack.
The 2013 Ford Fusion offers some of the best of everything with its attractive styling, state-of-the-art technology, and the widest powertrain choice in a midsize sedan and backs it all up with a very pleasurable driving experience.