2012 Detroit Auto Show
What is it?
2013 Ford Fusion
What's special about it?
This is the midsize family sedan that Ford thinks can win back the hearts of American car buyers the same way the Taurus did years ago. The 2013 Ford Fusion not only has dramatic new styling, it has a wide-ranging lineup that now includes three different gas engines, a gas-electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid.
For starters, there's the same 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder used in the current Fusion. No big news there, but then it gets interesting. There's a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that Ford says will make the Fusion the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid sedan in its class. It will deliver around 179 hp and 26 city/37 highway mpg, or at least that's what Ford says.
Then there's the new 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, which will be the "performance" option. It's expected to deliver 237 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. Not bad, especially when you consider that it will come with a standard six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic along with optional 19-inch wheels and tires and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.
For the eco-minded, Ford is doubling down on not one, but two hybrids. The standard Fusion Hybrid will pair a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with an electric motor powered by a new lithium-ion battery pack. Ford says the combination will result in EPA numbers of 47 city and 44 highway mpg, both of which top the latest Camry Hybrid.
If that's not enough, there's the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Ford says the Fusion Energi will deliver more than 100 MPGe, an efficiency standard applied specifically for electric vehicles. For comparison, the Chevrolet Volt is rated at 92 MPGe, while the Prius plug-in hybrid is expected to arrive with a rating of 87 MPGe according to Ford.
All Fusions will ride on a new front-wheel-drive platform that uses a MacPherson strut front suspension and an independent multilink rear. Electric steering will come standard on all models, while the hybrid Fusions will also get acoustic underbody panels to reduce road noise and improve efficiency. The overall size is up slightly over the current Fusion, as the new version is an inch longer overall, has a nearly 5-inch-longer wheelbase and is slightly wider.
In terms of technology, the Fusion will introduce a new Lane Keeping system that does the pesky work of keeping the car going straight. A combination of an audible warning and even a slight nudge of the steering wheel will tell drivers when they're slacking in the steering department. The new system will be paired with adaptive cruise control, parking assist and blind spot detection to effectively make the Fusion almost idiot-proof. Almost.
Expect to see the full lineup of Ford Fusions in dealers by the end of the year.
Edmunds.com says: This is the kind of all-out blitz Ford needed in order to seriously take on the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. If it delivers on the mileage and power numbers, this Fusion could quickly become a best-seller. — Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com