All photos by Ford
January 25, 2013
Ford has to be thrilled with the sales numbers of their midsize Fusion over the past five years or so, and now they want to build on that momentum with the 2013 Ford Fusion SE. Ford's all-new Fusion brings alive the next generation of more expressive vehicles from Ford, and is the first sedan to offer gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions delivering top fuel economy and an engaging driving experience. We spent a week driving the new Fusion trying to determine if Ford’s all-new sedan is the real deal in today’s market.
Ford really wanted the 2013 Fusion to stand out, and with the Fusion's sleek profile, it stands apart from the powertrain/cabin/trunk "three-box" designs synonymous with midsize sedans. Although, I will say that at certain angles you can’t help but feel like it’s a smaller version of the Taurus. There is no doubt the car is smooth-looking with character lines sweeping to the rear and thin roof pillars suggesting the car is nimble and light on its feet. Our test model in sterling gray metallic sported manifold dual power heated mirrors with approach lamp, halogen headlamps, chrome exhaust tips, integrated spotter mirrors, auto headlamps, keyless entry keypad and body color side moldings. This wasn’t the flashiest model of the new Fusion, but the design is certainly fresh and new. The 18-inch premium painted sport wheels looked good and fit well with the trim level we tested. The overall new-look exterior is somewhat similar to other sedans on the road, but the Fusion demonstrates that a tasteful, well-executed design does not require add-ons or visual clutter.
For all the buzz the new Fusion design is receiving, we saw the biggest improvement in the cabin, as this is where Ford really delivers for their customers. Inside, the new Fusion 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 a driver wants 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 comfortable next-generation seats trimmed with fabric using recycled sustainable yarns. 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 customer can touch. When the trunk lid is opened, for example, a spring-loaded cover automatically conceals the trunk latch hardware. The fit and finish of the materials certainly are as good as or better than some luxury sedans we’ve tested. The dashboard is truly genius, seating is very comfortable with much more cabin space than one would expect.
I have to admit that when we heard there was not going to be any V6 option in the 2013 Ford Fusion there was some disappointment, as the more powerful Fusions could move. Our loaner had a 1.6 liter Ecoboost with a 6-speed manual transmission which was peppy and responsive. Careful tuning by Ford's vehicle handling and ride team has yielded a Fusion with a dynamic character that will please a well-seasoned enthusiast while increasing the confidence level of less-experienced drivers. If one strictly compares the 1.6 liter to its peers, it does well, and if you need more power, then look to the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Handling was top-notch and the suspension in the new Fusion absorbs the road and delivers a solid driving experience.
The 2013 Ford Fusion SE has a lot going for it with a brand new design both in and out that will grab your attention. The most significant improvement we experienced was the sharp and quiet interior, and Ford went all out to deliver there. Fusion interior quiet reaches a new level with acoustic underbody shields and weight-saving sound-absorption material both minimize road and powertrain noise while boosting aerodynamic efficiency to help save fuel. The all-new model adds content such as a full-perimeter hood seal to be among the midsize sedan segment leaders in giving drivers a quiet ride. Also upgraded for 2013 was SYNC, with the all-new Fusion offering the latest iteration of Ford's award-winning, industry-exclusive SYNC communications and entertainment system, which enables voice-activated communication through a driver's mobile phone and interaction with the car's audio system. The 2013 Fusion also offers the latest version of MyFord Touch, allowing a driver to interact with vehicle systems through voice control, a touch screen tap or a conventional button.
The 2013 Ford Fusion SE we drove for a week came in with a sticker price of $26,040, which is about where you would think a new car with the options available would be priced. Sometimes looks can be deceiving, and as good as the new Fusion looks, the driving experience is even better!
Click the thumbnails below to see full versions of each photo.