By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – Ford has done really well with the redesigned Fusion since it was introduced last year. Much of its success goes to the pragmatic and very functional way the midsize sedan operates.
The company has assiduously improved every aspect of its products over the years. Take the seats in the Fusion. They were horizontally ribbed and they had plenty of back and lower lumbar support. Seat backs were tall, headrests were functional and the bladders, at least in the front seat, sort of caressed the occupant.
The back seats were not bad either. They had the structure and substance of a much more expensive car. There was plenty of head and hip room for two people. In other words, though the Fusion is billed as a five passenger sedan, like most mid-size sedans it can carry four people comfortably.
Ford was a pioneer in getting rid of buttons on the center control panel. The Fusion had two: one for volume control on the audio system and the other naturally, for channel selection. All the other controls could be found on the touch pad which doubled as the template for the center control area.
That was about the only place to quibble with this car. Yes, the leather wasn’t exactly leather but it was soft to the touch. However, the surface material on the control touch template seemed inexpensive. It didn’t look cheap but it was really bland; some sort of texture might have improved the look and the feel.
There was a 10-way power driver’s seat and a two-way power front passenger seat. Both were heated. Satellite radio, a single disc CD player and two USB jacks were part of the audio system. It was equipped with the Ford MyTouch and Sync systems, a rear-view camera, reverse sensing sensors and a navigation system.
Ford has gotten a lot of grief with its MyTouch Sync system. But the company keeps introducing new and easier to use versions of the system that it hopes will lessen or rid it completely of complaints.
Still, the 2013 Ford Fusion was an attractive and very functional car. The trunk was cavernous; it was 16 cubic feet. The Fusion looked good and sported the new face of Ford, a six point-grille that is making its way through the product line.
The test car was powered by a direct injected 1.6-liter four cylinder EcoBoost engine. EcoBoost is Ford-speak for turbocharged. The engine was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Ford’s EcoBoost engines conserve fuel and generate the same power as much larger powerplants.
The 1.6-liter made 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It had stop start technology. Come to a full stop and the engine shut off not to restart until brake pedal pressure was released. That undoubtedly aided an EPA rating of 24 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined.
Ride and handling were pretty good as well. Equipped with an independent MacPherson strut suspension in the front and an independent multilink suspension in the rear, the Fusion’s ride was surprisingly solid. It took bumps and depressions in the road with the air of a much bigger car, no shakes, no rattles and no ruckus.
The front-wheel-drive sedan cornered well, acceleration was adequate and the sight lines made it easy to see all round. The test vehicle was the mid-range SE trim line. The base price was $23,720. Add on $4,740 worth of options that included dual zone climate controls as well as shipping and the total was $29,255. That’s not bad for a top-flight, well equipped midsize sedan.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.