Auto Review: Fusion boots your Eco

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Wed., Dec. 26, 2012
- Contributed Photo

When it comes to mid-sized sedans, Ford has undergone an interesting name change in recent years. The car in question used to be the Taurus, but it’s left the class and grown into Ford’s full-size sedan. Since 2006, the Fusion has been the standard bearer for Ford’s mid-size effort, and for 2013 this successful car has undergone a complete overhaul that essentially makes it a completely new model. Ford has pulled out all the stops in terms of making a bold statement with every aspect of the car. There are no fewer than three engine choices (plus a gas/electric hybrid version), and dependent on the engine selected, either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. But before you dig into the mechanicals, you have to be attracted to the car to begin with, and it’s here where Ford has made the Fusion downright striking.

As this is an incredibly competitive segment, with excellent competition such as the Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord, the aggressive, attractive lines of the new Fusion insure it gets noticed, and a drive shows that, in this case, beauty is far from skin deep.

The drivetrain variations mentioned above include front-drive versions with either a 2.5-liter Inline Four with 175 horsepower or a Turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost Inline Four with 178 horsepower. Also available is a Turbocharged 2-liter EcoBoost Inline Four with 240 horsepower, and this model can be had with all-wheel drive if you desire. We tested an SE Fusion with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost and six-speed automatic transmission, which is designed to strike a balance between performance and fuel efficiency. Our car also had the Engine Start/Stop feature, which shuts down the engine at stops to save fuel and then fires it up immediately when you release the brakes. The engine is deceptive in that there’s no obvious turbo lag, even though the engine size is quite small, but there’s not an abundance of low RPM torque, either. Still, acceleration is quick, with 60 mph arriving in an average of 8.1 seconds. The Fusion’s all-new chassis is a study in balance; both in weight distribution and suspension compliance, as it absorbs road irregularities well while delivering sharp handling and firm control. Braking performance is likewise excellent, with repeated stops from 60 mph in an average of 112 feet.

The interior of the new Fusion is very familiar if you’re well-versed on the latest Ford offerings, with clear analog instrumentation flanked by the latest graphic displays that can relay all kinds of information. Our SE’s optional Technology Package included lane departure and blind spot warning systems, and, of course, MyFord Touch, which is a trendy touch-screen interface that blends touch and voice commands to operate numerous electronic functions. Seat comfort and access is excellent front and rear, even while not necessarily offering the most space in the class.

The 2013 Ford Fusion SE 1.6-liter EcoBoost is EPA-rated 23 MPG city/36 highway and has a base price of $23,700. With options, our sticker came to $30,975.

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