For 2013 the Ford Fusion got a substantial redesign, along with a full treatment of all Ford’s latest technologies from powertrains to driver assistance systems. It’s safe to say that no other Ford before it has been so packed with technology.
So this week we took the keys to this new 2013 Ford Fusion SE to see how well it backs up its drop dead sexy looks with fuel economy, performance, and ease of use.
At first glance, the new Fusion really impresses. Its styling is reminiscent of an Aston Martin Rapide, a car that costs well into the six figures. It looks long and low, its lines sophisticated and chrome trims give an air of upscale appeal.
Inside, the cabin design is clean and crisp with a flowing center console that sweeps forward giving a substantial sense of space. The materials have a high quality feel and touch, the switchgear is identical to that found in Ford’s European cars.
Our Fusion had the luxury package which gave us heated leather seats which were comfortable and supportive. The myriad of driver assistance features like blind spot warning and lane keeping assistance were well done without being overly sensitive.
While we liked the overall design of the interior, it did seem a bit stark and lacking warmth. And, our tester also had a number of fit and finish boo boos inside which are less than you’d expect from competitors like Honda or Toyota.
My main gripe however is the My Ford Touch interface. It’s distracting from the road at best, and frustrating to anger at worst. The touchscreen is difficult to use as the screen itself does not react well to your touch. Secondly, the menu structure is not intuitive at all, leaving you to hunt and peck to find the most common controls for HVAC and the radio.
Worse, the center stack forces you to go back and forth between the hard controls and the touchscreen for HVAC settings among other things. For instance if you want to set the defroster or send air to the floor you must skip the hard controls and delve into the touchscreen menus while driving.
Making matters more complicated, many of the car’s settings like those for lane keeping and start/stop feature are located in a yet third separate place, the instrument cluster. It’s just downright confusing to have three separate places to have to search for things. A good interface would put all things in one place, or at least give you redundancies so you could choose one to use all the time.
Our Ford Fusion SE was equipped with the 1.6 liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated up to a six-speed automatic transmission. It produces a healthy 178 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft of torque which is more than adequate for this size of car.
The engine is smooth and refined with little or no turbo lag. It’s EPA rated at 24 mpg city and 37 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined which sounds good, but unfortunately we never got close to these claims in our testing.
We achieved a 23 mpg combined average in our week with the Fusion. This is a full 5 mpg less than its combined rating and less that its city rating of 24 mpg. Even on a static highway stint, the best we could muster with hyper-miling techniques was 33 mpg, which is 4 mpg less than advertised.
In fairness, we did have the air-conditioning on at all times, but we do this with all cars we test and most still meet or exceed EPA estimates.
On the road the chassis is well damped and steering feels of precision. Brake and handling response are above its peers like the Camry and Accord in sporting feel, with a more Germanic character. Road noise however was higher than we expected on the freeway.
Up in the twisty mountain roads we found the Fusion well able to offer up some enthusiastic tossing around, however the made for mpg tires outfitted were less than interested in providing grip. Still, the Fusion gives you plenty of predictable feel that gives the enthusiast a smile when pushing it harder.
For a full review and photo galleries, see our writeup at www.GasMiler.com