2013 Ford Fusion SE EcoBoost Review

fusion-review-8I was in attendance for the debut of the 2013 Fusion at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January.  I’ve waited over a year to drive this car and it was definitely worth the wait. Let’s start with the part where you’ll spend the most time.

Interior:

The driver’s area is surrounded by technology.  Lots of HD displays and electronic touch sensitive areas on the center console.  I like the look, but I’ll tell you about the functionality of the buttons in the Tech section

DSCN1098The space in the back seat is acceptable.  The rear legroom is listed at 38.3 inches.  This isn’t the most in the segment but it is acceptable.  The amount of legroom in the Fusion is two inches more than the Malibu and five inches more than the Accord.  The space in the back made sure that my youngest son wasn’t able to kick the back of my seat.  I know eventually he will outgrow the space and I’ll be doomed, but I’m still thankful for the space now.

The children LATCH system was set further back into the seat.  It frustrated me at first, but I (eventually) found out that it is one of the easiest setups I’ve used when it comes to getting the kids’ car seats in and out.  The ability to latch the hook and the ease I was able to depress the latch to get it back out was quite easy.  Normally I end up with at least one banged knuckle and three to five curse words.  None of that took place in the Fusion.

The trunk is huge.  The single stroller fit with ease.  The double stroller was a little awkward through the opening, but once it was in, there was more than enough room.

Exterior:

IMAG1429The old Fusion was a good looking car, but today’s Fusion sets a new standard for mid-size sedan styling.  It isn’t “Angelina Jolie,” but more of an “Eva Mendes;” curves in all the right places.

The front end is all you need to see of the Fusion.  This car shares some design language with recent Aston Martins.  If the two were put side by side, there would be no comparison.  The Astons are ridiculously gorgeous, and as such the more-pedestrian Fusion is very good looking.

For a mid-size sedan, the 2013 Ford Fusion is difficult to ignore. Ford hit a home run with styling.

Tech:

Rant first: Please do not take away the analog buttons from the center stack of controls; the media and climate control.  I get that My Ford Touch is touch screen and there has been enough negative things said.  I can adjust to My Ford Touch, but making all of the analog buttons into touch sensitive areas on the dashboard is infuriating.  I would have to press everything, except the power button on the radio (an actual button), multiple times.

There were times when I had to press a button three to five times to get it to finally work.  The whole time glancing up and down to make sure I didn’t plow through a turkey (the turkey population is way up this year out here…).  Technology for the sake of technology is not progress.  Please leave some analog buttons.

IMAG1405That said, some of the technology was awesome though.  All four windows were one touch Auto up/down.  I love that.  It is a simple feature and adds value to the car for me.  I get frustrated when a car has auto down, but not auto up windows.  The Fusion has all four auto up/down and it was great!

There is the Active Park Assist (Automatic Parallel Parking), the rearview camera, and the parking sensors, which tell you when you’re about to hit something or if there is a car coming as you back out.  All of it was very helpful.  I liked all of this.  I think that in the next five years, the car will not need me at all to park.  Just select the parking space on the monitor and the car will do the rest.  You won’t even get to shift or use the accelerator.

My Ford Touch is the same.  I used the navigation which was pretty straight forward and easy to use.  The phone syncing is very simple.  Both of my boys (4 and almost 2 years old) loved being a part of all my phone calls.

There were times when the My Ford Touch got confused while playing songs from my iPod.  The 12 year old in me thought it was hilarious.  The adult was underwhelmed.  This happened a couple times with different songs and podcasts.  It is something that I would expect from any other form of technology and disconnecting the iPod and plugging it back in helped.  “Have you turned if off and on again?”  Always the first question asked when getting technology help!

Performance:

IMAG1393The SE model had the optional 1.6L 4 cylinder EcoBoost engine.  This engine makes 174 horsepower and 184 ft. lbs. of torque at 2,500 rpms.  This is why the Fusion felt the most athletic around 3,000 rpms.

There is a trick to getting the best performance out of this car.  You had to find the sweet spot for acceleration.  If you accelerated the Fusion too quickly or not enough, then the transmission would feel confused and unwilling.  If you got it just right, then the Fusion would feel athletic, light, and ready for anything.  It’s all about balance.

The mpg numbers have me a little worried.  The 1.6L 4 cylinder should be getting some pretty good numbers.  The weather was fairly warm and the humidity levels were down, so I thought I’d get some great mileage from this car.  I averaged 25.5 mpg over the whole week.  That includes city, highway, idle, and the Auto Start-Stop.  Ford lists the 1.6L at, using the Auto Start-Stop, 24 city, 37 highway, and 28 combined.  Most days I would be around 27 for the morning commute and then back down to 25 for the trip home.  I think over 30 is achievable on the highway, but I didn’t take any trips far enough away on the highway to see if that was true. Never the less, I was disappointed with the fuel economy, and frankly I expected better.

Engine aside, the chassis and suspension make the Fusion feel “grounded to the ground” to steal a line from a Camry commercial.  I took the Fusion up my favorite curvy road and really gave it the business.  The Fusion responded well.  The torque coming in at 2,500 rpms means that the car is ready to jump with one down shift.  This was my favorite time with this car.

The torque from the 1.6L engine measures  at 184 ft. lb. of torque at 2,500 rpms.  The torque really helps the Fusion want to go, and there is no hint of it being sluggish.  When you get higher up the tachometer then the 1.6L gets airy, light, and a little gutless.  When you’re whipping the Fusion the transmission shifts around 4,000 rpms, keeping you in the high area of the torque curve.  If you put it in S mode the transmissions holds the gears longer, which make the car feel less athletic.

Overall, I was impressed with the look and feel of the 2013 Ford Fusion with the 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine, but disappointed in the fuel economy and frustrated by the technology.  But give the new Fusion a few more years to mature, and this could soon become the best-selling sedan in America. Bold words, but once you drive one, you’ll see what I mean.

Base Price: $23,830

As Driven: $30,975

Engine: 1.6L 4 Cylinder EcoBoost (turbo-charged), 174 hp

Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic with Auto Start-Stop

Curb Weight: 3,427 lbs.

Wheelbase: 112.2 inches

MPG Rating: 23 city/ 36 highway/28 combined

Observed MPG: 25.5 MPG combined

Check out Christopher’s website, Every Man’s Auto, for regular reviews on your favorite rides.

 

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