Just because the new 2013 Ford Fusion is being touted as a genuine "world car" doesn't mean much here in America. It's doubtful many people in the U.S. know what a "world car" is anyway, let alone care if they're driving one.
So the fact that this new Fusion midsize sedan will be sold in Europe as the Mondeo, and in other parts of the world under yet even more exotic names, doesn't matter much. What does matter is that Ford thinks this Fusion is so good that you'll like driving it no matter what part of the world you're from, and that's no easy task.
To achieve this mighty goal, Ford has redesigned the Fusion from its grille to its tailpipe. Let's go for a ride and see if Mulally and Co. pulled it off.
Plenty To Choose From There may be only one Ford Fusion, but it will come in several different flavors to broaden its appeal when it hits dealers this fall. Like most sedans in this class, the Fusion will no longer offer a V6 engine. Instead, there's not one but three different four-cylinder options to choose from, depending on how much power and efficiency you're looking for.
If you want to keep the buy-in price low, there's a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder. If efficiency is your main priority, a new turbocharged 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivers maximum mileage. For maximum power, the V6 has been effectively replaced by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower that still delivers a respectable 33 mpg on the highway. All three engines drive the front wheels in standard trim, with all-wheel drive available as an option with the 2.0-liter. Two hybrid drivetrains (standard and plug-in) will be available later on as well.
We'll cover each of those Fusion iterations as they become available. For this first drive, we spent most of our time driving the most fuel-efficient, and dare we say, the most rewarding-to-drive version, the 2013 Ford Fusion SE equipped with the optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and a six-speed manual transmission.
More Stylish, but Not Smaller Few will argue that this Fusion is more handsome than before, but it's not obvious at first glance how much bigger this car is than its predecessor. The overall length has grown by just over an inch but the wheelbase by 4.8 inches. This means overall interior volume, where people will notice, has ballooned by two cubic feet while the trunk shrunk by 0.5 cubic feet. With the exception of rear headroom which remains the same, every passenger measurement also has increased significantly. Does this expansion make the Fusion any less fun to drive?
Not from our perspective. Through canyon roads the Fusion SE proved it is not only a well-engineered driver's car, but also a competent cruiser. With ample torque (184 pound-feet at 2,500 rpm), excellent throttle response and precise electric-assist steering, if felt perfectly competent even as we threw more at it than any family sedan should be expected to take.
Guardrails, rocks in the road and cliffs passed us by in a blur without a worry or even a hint of stability system intervention. Steering weight was moderate and the overall feel was precise. It's easily one of the sportier midsize sedans in the class, even with the smallest of the three engines.
Speaking of which, the 1.6-liter engine finally fulfills that decade-old promise of V6 power with four-cylinder efficiency. Although it's rated by the EPA to deliver 25 city/37 highway mpg and 29 mpg combined, we found ourselves rarely needing any gear other than 2nd to either pull ourselves from a hairpin or sprint to the next one. The engine feels underrated, and we'd guess this 3,333-pound Fusion SE will sprint to 60 mph in about 7 seconds.
Quick and Quiet Despite all the tossing and turning, the 2013 Ford Fusion demonstrated uncommon quiet, poise and compliance. We noticed and appreciated the Fusion's noise-abatement measures like its slippery shape, acoustic undercarriage shields and perimeter hood seal. It's remarkably quiet. And unless you're an audiophile, the base audio system with standard Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and iPod integration via USB will prove entirely sufficient.
The SE's driving position is highly adjustable, with a well-contoured 10-way power-adjustable sport seat and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. Even the visibility is good thanks to relatively slender A-pillars and a small triangular pane of glass at the bottom edge of each front side window.
The dashboard and center stack are fairly uncluttered and tastefully designed, without looking trendy or awkward with pitifully rendered faux wood. The passenger seat is quite supportive, but adjusted manually. The 60/40-split folding rear seats are well contoured, and despite the fashionable coupelike roof line, it's not hard to get in and out without bumping your head.
Competitively Priced When ordered with the base 2.5-liter 175-hp engine, the Fusion SE's base price is $24,495, but ours was equipped with seductively named Equipment Group 204A. For an extra $1,510 it adds 18-inch aluminum sport wheels, a rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, foglamps, EcoCloth interior and red stitching on the armrest, center console and seats. Upgrading to the 1.6-liter direct-injected turbo engine added another $795 to the bottom line, while rear parking sonar added an additional $295. All in, it was a $27,095 Fusion.
If you have a little more to spend there's plenty on the options list. Everything from blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, an automated parking system, lane-keeping assist to alert you if you're drifting and adaptive cruise control with collision warning.
Will the World Like It? So that leaves the question hanging, yet again: Is it enough? Will people be drawn to a Ford showroom by the attractive new styling, the vastly improved fuel economy and the wide range of options and features?
There's no reason to think otherwise. This Fusion delivers all the things sedan buyers are looking for in this category, along with a few pleasant extras, like cutting-edge style and sharp handling. Competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry still wear the mainstream looks that have served them well for decades, while this Fusion has taken a chance on a look that sets it apart from the crowd.
Get behind the wheel, however, and there's nothing daring about the 2013 Ford Fusion. It goes about its business the way a family sedan should. It's quiet, efficient and pleasantly enjoyable to drive. There's plenty of room, too, and an endless array of technology if you're into that sort of thing. We're not sure if it's enough to keep the whole world interested, but here in America, this Fusion is as worldly as it needs to be.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Is the 2013 Ford Fusion a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2013 Ford Fusion and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2013 Fusion featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2013 Ford Fusion? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2013 Ford Fusion and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2013 Fusion 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2013 Fusion.
Review The Fusion has a smooth ride and a supremely quiet cabin. I am getting 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg mixed driving with the 2.0L Ecoboost. The leather seats in SE trim are styled differently than those in the Titanium; but they are every bit as comfortable. I don't get the complaints about My Ford Touch -- it is logical enough and the Bluetooth works flawlessly. Overall, the 2.0 litre Fusion SE has been a very satisfying, fun car to drive. My last three cars were a Volvo S80, Volvo 960 and Porsche 911SC.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2013 Ford Fusion safe? The 2013 Ford Fusion earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2013 Ford Fusion?
Available Ford Fusion 2013 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hybrid
Available Trims: SE, S, Titanium w/EcoBoost, Titanium, SEL, Sport w/EcoBoost, SE w/EcoBoost, SPORT, Hybrid
Exterior Colors: Ingot Silver Metallic, Shadow Black, Magnetic Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Oxford White Clearcoat, Tuxedo Black Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Sterling Gray Metallic, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Lightning Blue, White Gold, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Deep Impact Blue, Guard Metallic, Black, Blue Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Dark Side, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, White Suede, Sunset Metallic, White Gold Metallic, Oxford White, Tectonic Metallic, Tuxedo Black Clearcoat Metallic, Bordeaux Reserve Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Sterling Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Redfire Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Blue Flame Metallic, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, Smokestone Clearcoat Metallic, Dune Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Vapor Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Alloy Clearcoat Metallic, Cinnamon Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Ink Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Atlantis Green Clearcoat Metallic, Charcoal Beige Metallic, Merlot Clearcoat Metallic, Moss Green Clearcoat Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Light Sage Clearcoat Metallic, Silver Frost Clearcoat Metallic, Titanium Green Clearcoat Metallic, Tungsten Silver Clearcoat Metallic, White Platinum Tri-Coat Clearcoat
Interior Colors: Charcoal Black cloth, Ebony leather, Charcoal Black leather, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Light Stone leather, Dark Earth Gray leather/suede, Medium Soft Ceramic leather, Dune cloth, Earth cloth, Ebony cloth, Ebony premium leather, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Dune leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Charcoal Black w/Black Inserts leather, Camel cloth, Camel leather, Ginger premium leather, Brick Red premium leather, Charcoal Black w/Sport Blue Inserts leather, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black w/Alcantara Blue Suede Seat Inserts and Stitching leather/sueded microfiber
Popular Features: Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Rear Bench Seats, Trip Computer, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Alarm, Aux Audio Inputs, Tire Pressure Warning, Stability Control, Power Driver Seat, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Heated seats, Parking sensors, Leather Seats, Remote Start, Navigation, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Sunroof/Moonroof, AWD/4WD, Upgraded Engine, Upgraded Stereo, Mobile Internet, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Cooled Seats, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system