By on December 22, 2012

The 2013 Fusion is a critical car for Ford. Despite the rise of the Koreans, an Americanized Passat, refreshed GM and Chrysler products and a dip in Fusion sales between the 2012 and the all-new 2013 model, the Ford is still the fourth-best-selling mid-size sedan in America. Michael was invited to a regional Ford event in September where he revealed his opinions, but what most readers seem to recall is Derek’s proclamation that the 2013 Fusion is a “gamechanger.” To answer the question once and for all, Ford tosses us the keys to the volume-selling SE model with Ford’s recall-beleaguered 1.6L Ecoboost engine for a week.

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Exterior

No, this isn’t Aston Martin’s new mid-size four-door entry, although you could be forgiven for making the mistake. The new design is as shocking and striking as the old Fusion was bland and boring. Making your mass-market car over-styled is risky, but despite the Fusion’s rump being less daring than its schnoz, it manages to avoid looking cartoonish like the Sonata. The Aston mini-me styling is refreshing in a segment where “restrained” and “slab sided” are the mantra of the day. The new Accord is elegant for sure, but the large green house screams family sedan. The current Camry attempts to meld an edgy nose with refrigerator flat door panels. Even the stylish (in comparison) Altima looks far less exciting. Styling is subjective and I usually avoid commenting on design directly, but the 2013 Fusion is an exception. This Ford is quite simply the best looking sedan in America under $50,000.

Interior

What do the 2013 Fusion and the unloved 1995 Contour have in common? They are both Ford Mondeo world cars. (Thankfully that’s all they have in common.) After years of designing one sedan for America and one for the rest of the world, the company’s “One Ford” strategy put the Mondeo and Fusion back into the same breeding program. I’m not sure what Europe gets out of the cross-breed, but Americans will benefit from a level of refinement, parts quality and European design hitherto unknown to the Blue Oval on our shores. On the flip side this also means the Fusion’s interior is a study in black with most of the interior looking like it was carved out of a single piece of black plastic. Opting for the tan cloth or leather interior won’t avoid the black dashboard, but it does make the interior look warmer. Sadly this color option is limited to the Fusion S and SE only as the Titanium trim comes only in black.

Our Fusion tester impressed with buttons and parts-bin parts that felt more premium than the competition thanks especially to an all-new steering wheel. While the new tiller doesn’t get soft split-grain leather like the new Accord, Ford’s new button arrangements are easier to use, easier to reach and feel better built than the wheel in the C-MAX and Escape. Speaking of buttons and controls, our Fusion tester showed no signs of fine scratching on the control surfaces, a problem that the Altima, Accord and Camry all suffer from, despite having far more miles on the odometer than the Japanese trio we tested.

Front seat comfort is excellent although a step behind the 2013 Honda Accord which has the most comfortable seats in the segment. Unlike some of the competition, Ford’s tilt/telescoping steering wheel provides a large range of motion making it easy to accommodate drivers of different heights. The Fusion’s driver’s seat is 10-way powered in the SE and Titanium models and sports an optional three-position memory system (standard on Titanium) to speed driver swaps (or keep your better half from complaining). As you would expect, the passenger doesn’t get the same kind of seat-love with your choice of manual or 4-way power adjusting.

Rear seats are as low to the ground as any in this segment and far less bolstered than the front thrones. In a family sedan this is more a feature than a problem since it makes the middle seat a more pleasant place to spend your time. Despite the sloping profile I was able to fit my six-foot frame into the middle seat without issue, although the 2013 Accord offers noticeably more room in the rear. Because of the differing ways that manufacturers measure rear seat leg room, I recommend you take your whole family with you shopping, stuff them all in the car and see how comfortable everyone is at the same time. Want to know more about the seating and cargo room? Check out the video review.

Infotainment & Gadgets

All models come with the basic SYNC system which offers USB/iDevice and Bluetooth phone integration. As you would expect, power windows and door locks and a perimeter alarm are standard, but few will be buying the base S model since there are zero options. This makes the $23,700 SE model your real starting point with standard XM satellite ratio, six speakers, a power driver’s seat, auto headlamps, body-colored mirrors and the keyless entry keypad that’s been a Ford hallmark for ages.

We also need to talk about My Ford Touch, because if you want to check pretty much any other option box on the Fusion, MyFord Touch needs to be selected first. Want dual-zone climate control, a backup cam, blind spot monitoring, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a 120V outlet, cross traffic alert, etc? The $1,000 MFT option (standard on Titanium) includes the 8-inch control screen in the dash, two 4.2-inch LCDs in the gauge cluster, dual-zone climate control and the backup camera. When MFT landed in 2010, the software had more bugs than a bag of 5-year-old flour. Thankfully, this latest version of MFT is more responsive and less problem prone. The competition has caught up however, with the Altima, Toyota and Honda systems delivering excellent USB/iDevice integration and basic voice commands without the lag and occasional software hiccups. Despite the system’s still-present flaws, MFT is still the sexiest system in this segment and the only one that brings the partial LCD disco-dash to the table. If you want the best in factory entertainment, you should know the 12-speaker Sony branded audio system is only available in the more expensive Titanium.

Automotive gadget dissemination follows a predictable path. The snazziest gadgets, safety features and entertainment concepts are first released by the big players in the luxury segment like BMW, Audi and Mercedes in their most expensive models. The next stop on the technology train is inevitable the mass-market sedan. It therefore shouldn’t surprise you that the Fusion can be had with an impressive list of options from an automated-parking system to adaptive cruise control and an innovative lane departure prevention system. Unlike most of the LDP systems up to this point, the Ford system doesn’t apply the brakes to one side of the car to get you back on track – it simply turns the steering wheel. The system is both slightly creepy and very effective. With the ability to apply more force to keep you in the lane than competing systems, the steering input feels more like a hand on the wheel than a gentle suggestion. If safety is your shtick, it’s worth noting that the Fusion and Accord scored well in the new IIHS small-overlap test while the top-selling Camry and Prius V “are the worst performers of the midsize group.” according to the IIHS.

As options lists go, the Fusion has more gadgets on offer than any of the competition – but it comes at a cost. The Fusion tops out at a fully-loaded AWD price of $38,170, $4,760 more than the most expensive Camry, $3,693 more than the Accord, and $5,730 more than a top-level Altima. As you would expect in such a cut-throat segment, comparing apples-to-apple,s the Fusion is priced very close to its top three competitors.

Drivetrain

Compared to the competition, the Fusion has an oddly extensive powertrain lineup. There are four different engines, three transmissions, two hybrid variants and FWD or AWD to choose from. The base 2.5L four-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic are largely carried over from the previous Fusion and good for 175 horses and 175lb-ft of twist. This is the sole engine in the Fusion S and base engine in the Fusion SE. We’re told by Ford that most 2.5L Fusions will be headed to fleets.

Next up is the new to America (and thrice recalled) 1.6L turbo direct-injection Ecoboost engine available with or without start-stop technology and with your choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions. Proving yet again that turbos are the replacement for displacement, the 1.6L mill produces more power (178HP) and more torque (184lb-ft) at lower RPMs than the 2.5L while delivering 2 more MPGs in the city and 3 more on the highway.

The sporty option is the 2.0L direct injection turbo which takes the place of a V6 in the Fusion SE and Titanium. With 240HP and 270lb-ft of plateau-like forced-induction torque, you’ll never miss those two cylinders. Should AWD be on your must-have list, be ready to shell out $32,200 because it’s available only on the Titanium. Before you complain about the cost of admission, keep in mind your only other mass-market mid-sized AWD option would be a Subaru. Last up is Ford’s redesigned 188HP hybrid system sporting a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle engine, a Ford-designed hybrid CVT transaxle and your choice of regular hybrid or plug-in battery packs. With this much variety appealing to different shoppers, check back with us when we get our hands on the 2.0L Ecoboost and hybrid models.

Drive

The Fusion impressed during the photo shoot and looked unstoppable on the printed spec sheet but none of that would matter if it felt like a wet noodle out on the road. Despite having a decidedly American-sized 112.2-inch wheelbase, it’s obvious Ford’s European division took the lead when it came to the chassis. The result is a ride that is incredibly composed, tight in the corners and as communicative as anything with electric power steering. The surprises continue when you shift your right foot over to find linear brake feel, absolutely no Taurus-like brake fade and short stopping distances.

In an interesting twist, the 6-speed manual is available in the 1.6L Ecoboost equipped SE for the same price as the automatic. As you would expect, this is the same 6-speed transmission found in the Fusion’s Euro twin and has a distinctively German engagement and overall feel. Clutch feel is top-notch as well comparing with the liked of the VW Passat and Jetta. In addition, rowing your own doesn’t have a feature penalty allowing you to still check the self-parking and lane departure prevention option boxes. Don’t get too excited, you can’t get the stick with the 2.0L turbo and AWD and if you opt for MyFord Touch you get a tiny digital tach that’s practically useless. For shame.

The 1.6L Ecoboost engine is fairly smooth and quiet on the outside and, thanks to a dedication to sound proofing, almost unnoticeable on the inside. What you will notice however is the broad torque curve of the diminutive four-banger when passing or hill climbing. During a short drive with the 2.5L engine I was constantly annoyed by the transmission’s up-shift happy nature, but despite the 1.6L’s tranny being programmed the same way it didn’t bug me as much. Why? Because all 184lb-ft are available at 2,500RPM and, thanks to the hair-dryer, 90% of that twist is available from 1,500-5,700RPM. This broad torque curve makes the 1.6L Ecoboost Fusion feel faster than it is with our run to 60 completing in 7.9 seconds, about 9/10ths off my gut estimate. This is considerably faster than the Passat and Malibu but not as fast as the Accord and Altima with their efficient CVTs.

Our tester came with the optional ($295) start/stop system which Ford claims is good for a 10% improvement in city driving and results in a 1MPG improvement in the Fusion’s EPA scores bringing the 1.6L SE up to 24/37/28 MPG (City/Highway/Combined). Ford touts the system as smoother than BMW’s 328 start/stop system and they are right. Of course the reason has as much to do with the smaller displacement as the positioning of the engine (transverse vs longitudinal). The way a transverse engine and the vehicle’s suspension interact when cranking is just different. If you live in a particularly hot climate, don’t expect start/stop to save you much as the engine has to stay running to power the A/C. Unlike our stint in the C-MAX, our Fusion beat the EPA combined score by half an MPG over nearly a thousand miles of mixed driving. With excellent fuel economy, dashing good looks, a quiet cabin, good driving dynamics and the longest option list this side of luxury sedan, the Fusion is not just a viable alternative to the competition, it truly is a game changer. The only problem is the pesky (and seemingly frequent) 1.6L engine recalls. Is that enough for me to take the Fusion off my list? Probably not, but I’d buy the hybrid or the 2.0L Ecoboost model anyway.

Ford provided the vehicle, one tank of gas and insurance for this review

0-30: 2.6 Seconds

0-60: 7.9 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 16 Seconds @ 88.5 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 28.5MPG over 960 miles

 

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147 Comments on “Review: 2013 Ford Fusion SE 1.6L Ecoboost (Video)...”


  • avatar
    Brian E

    What was the sticker price on the car you drove?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      As tested: $30,975.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        There is a huge pricing gap between the SE and Titanium trim levels. I find it curious that Ford dropped the SEL trim for the new Fusion, while the new Escape still has it. I think they should add the SEL trim back, and also add a sportier trim level that they used to offer on the Focus, the SES trim. That would help fill that Grand Canyon sized price chasm between the SE and Titanium.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        mjz –

        The SE Appearance and Luxury packages fill the void between the base SE and the Titanium. The SE with Luxury Package is equivalent to last year’s SEL.

        The Escape will likely lose the SEL trim for the ’14 model year. Ford is trying to simplify the trims levels across all nameplates other than trucks right now. For ’13 both the Focus and the Fiesta lost the SEL trim option, but there are packages on the SE trim that give back most of the stuff if you don’t want to go full-bore to the Titanium.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Ford, please bring the wagon and hatchback versions to North America. It is not “One Ford” without them.

  • avatar

    After Casino Royale, I knew some level of Ford’s Mondeo was gonna make it to America. This car is beautiful and has very good interior space. I’m not a fan of the unresponsive touch panels – much preferring Chrysler’s Uconnect touch – but the rest of the car is a hit for me.

    $38,000 for a loaded AWD seems really, really high for what you get. My problem with Ford continues to be the high entry and loaded prices. Meanwhile Hyundai will sell you a loaded Azera at that point – Even a clearance Genesis.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’ve long been a Ford guy, but the way they do options and pricing drives me crazy. Try building and pricing one on their website. The Asian marques are much better in this regard.

      A Hyundai dealer near me currently has a 2012 Genesis sedan V6 with 12,000 miles on it for $27k. That’s a lot of car for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      A clearance Genesis? Not so. The Genesis 3.8 V6 sedan bases at $34,200 before any incentives or haggling. Hyundai has their Genesis options grouped into option packages, and the premium package (which includes a ton of stuff – leather dash and doors, Lexicon audio, moonroof, power folding mirrors, power sunshades, and a ton more) is $4300. With some haggling, or maybe on an actual leftover ’12 clearance special, a Genesis Premium could be bought cheaper than a loaded Fusion. Of course, the Fusion is a newer design and there are options available on it that aren’t available on the Genesis at any price.

      • 0 avatar

        Kalapana

        Have you ever bought a car from Hyundai. THEY WILL DO ANYTHING TO CLOSE A DEAL. And I do mean ANYTHING.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        I’ve owned a 2006 Sonata (bought used in late 2007 with 28k miles) and a brand new 2010 Kia Forte. Both had various awful problems and both were dumped in short order. Hopefully they’ve cleaned up their act RE: quality, but even then? The support just hasn’t been there from either company. If I were dropping mid 30′s on a car, you’d nearly have to put a gun to my head to get me to buy Korean. I considered a new Azera, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Face it, Ford it literally swinging for the fences on pricing.

        It’d be one thing if their product justified that price premium, but it doesn’t.

        Now, in addition to having the new Ford Edge absolutely ripped to shreds by Consumer Reports (terrible ride, fail transmission, “high price” – that’s according to CR), Ford’s cars have literally fallen to the bottom of CR’s reliability chart, saved from falling off by Land Rover.

        The Fusion looks okay, but the TTAC love fest with all things Ford continues in this review, with crazy statements such as the Fusion being the best looking car under $50,0000.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Now we’re entering fantasyland. I quote the Consumer Reports road test of the Edge:

        “You can expect a compliant ride on smooth roads, and the highway ride is fairly serene, but bumpy pavement creates pronounced jostling, especially at low speeds.”

        Not perfect but far, far from terrible.

        “The six-speed automatic transmission usually operates smoothly but sometimes shifts with a slight jolt and hesitates to downshift.”

        Again, not exactly amazing but if “usually operates smoothly” equates to “fail” in your book then you have absurdly high standards or an odd perception of the definition of “fail”.

        I also saw no mention of price in their review.

        There’s also the fact that the Edge is probably the weakest product Ford makes; the Escape and Focus have both been praised by Consumer Reports and apart from the EPA rating issue they’ve been very complimentary of the new Fusion as well.

        In fairness, reliability of many new models has been poor but I have no idea where you’re getting this other stuff from other than some distorted anti-Ford view of reality that seems to be pervasive around here. Seriously, I can’t think of another non-GM brand that engenders such hostility.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        So Ford is literally swinging for the fences on pricing, eh? This literal swinging at fences sounds interesting but there are many unanswered questions.

        How exactly does this work? Is it the line workers in the assembly facilities doing the swinging, is it the executives in Dearborn or is this something that happens at the dealer level? Is there just one fence in Michigan or are there fences all over the country? Does Ford get paid for knocking balls over the fence now? Are they doing this as a supplement to or instead of engineering, manufacturing and selling vehicles? If I hit a ball over this fence, will I get a discount on vehicle pricing? Is there even a ball involved or does Ford just wildly swing at a fence? What do they swing? A bat? A cat? A hat?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Regarding pricing – you must have missed the part where it’s stated that a lot of the price premium on a fully loaded model comes from options not available from the competition.

        Equivalently specced out most Ford models are very close to competing vehicles in terms of price. Ford is offering the opportunity for buyers to add a lot of high end options if they want them and are willing to pay for them, but there are plenty of vehicle packages that are more modestly optioned-out.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        @sv:

        Actually, I just brought out the CR, and here is what is written (this related to the NEW Ford Edge, and is the September, 2012 Edition of Consumer Reports, and is from an article titled “Five Popular Cars To Avoid,” page 47):

        “The stylish lines of this crossover SUV might catch your eye, but we suggest that you keep on looking. In our testing of the V6 all-wheel drive version, we found a jittery ride, pronounced road noise, and distracting controls, especially with the complicated and unintuitive MyFord Touch Infotainment system. And in our annual survey, it had much-worse-than-average reliability.”

        And in the December 2012 Consumer Reports, Ford’s reliability rankings were at an indexed -226%, as I mentioned, with ONLY Jaguar scoring worse.

        How ’bout them apples?

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @bigtruckseries

        While Hyundai dealerships may be willing to wheel and deal to a point (dealership allocation and supply is heavily determined by turnover rate of cars on the lot), Hyundai has kept a lid on incentive spending – which is why ALG rates Hyundai 2nd in residual value for 2013 after Honda and why Hyundai is expected to have the highest margins in the industry.

        _____

        And while prices on the Fusion on a bit on the higher end, remember that the Fusion is basically also a European model so supposedly has a nicer interior than the norm for an American sedan.

        While one can probably get a new, well-equipped 3.8 Genesis for around $38k, remember that it is an outgoing model (the next gen Genesis will start around $38k).

        But then again, the Kia Optima SXL starts at over $35k and it doesn’t have AWD like the top end Fusion – so it’s all relative (mainstream sedans nowadays can get extremely pricey will all the “goodies” they offer).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        A 38k MSRP Ford Fusion with a four banger is spoken of by Dykes in this review (I somehow missed that particular sentence).

        Ford has gone clinically insane.

        Audis are overpriced, but since the Fusion stray so close to A4 territory, I have zero doubt which vehicle I’d purchase as between the two, even if the A4 cost me more (especially since Audi’s reliability has improved markedly while Ford’s has cratered).

      • 0 avatar

        If this fusion had a Turbocharged four or a V6, then, maybe I could see the $38k pricetag.

        But, when I could walk over to Chrysler and buy a 300hp base Dodge Charger $25,995 or add nav, nicer wheels and a moonroof for just $5000 more…

        I’D END UP BUYING A DODGE CHARGER.

        Ford thinks they can justify this pricing just because it’s “european-like”???

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        @DeadWeight: That -226% figure is only for the worst vehicle in their ENTIRE lineup. That is NOT their average reliability ranking (which, while still not good, is nowhere near that poor). Goodness.

        I also directly quoted their FULL road test of the Edge, not the brief summary in their September issue. Yes there are issues with the ride and transmission tuning but they’re not “terrible” like you would argue. A more representative descriptor would be “mixed”.

        You’re picking the absolute worst examples of the entire brand and representing them like they’re the rule and not the exception. I don’t understand this misleading cherry-picking of facts; I may not like a certain type of car but I wouldn’t be deliberately deceptive just to badmouth it.

        @bigtruckseries: that $38k figure IS for the top engine option, the 2.0-liter Ecoboost. It is impossible to equip a 2.5 or 1.6L Fusion to that price; only the Hybrid or Titanium (which is 2.0 Turbo only) get that expensive. That’s also the absolute highest price a Fusion can have…and it’s not like every Fusion costs that much, the majority will go in the $25-30k range.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        sv, if you read the article, the analysis, and the accompanying chart, you’ll see that the -226% is actually the aggregate reliability average for all Ford vehicles.

        Ford has two vehicles that score average in reliability, and all of its others score worse than average (not a single Ford scores above average in terms of reliability).

        You must not have access to the article, because you’re too intelligent to make such an error otherwise.

        By the way, I need to make a correction to something stated earlier: Ford isn’t the 2nd worst in terms of reliability according to Consumer Reports, with Jaguar bring up the rear, but in fact, Ford is THE worst– worse even than Jaguar.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        The Explorer V6 scored 226% below average, not all of Ford.

        I’m a subscriber but I couldn’t find the graph on CR’s site. I did find it on Motor Trend.

        http://wot.motortrend.com/consumer-reports-dings-ford-and-chrysler-while-gm-and-audi-improve-282967.html/consumer-reports-predicted-reliability-by-brand-2013/#axzz2Fw3QF9Iu

        Ford’s total reliability is about 60% below average. Granted, still terrible, but not as bad as 226%.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Deadweight, if we are going to avoid cherry picking the data presented by the toaster testers, please note what CR said about Ford’s reliability slide. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially it stated that three of Fords most reliable vehicles (MKZ, Fusion< and Escape IIRC) were new for this year, so the new models are not included in the reliability study. As such, the overall average gets dragged down significantly. Is the reliability of the remaining models below average? Yes, they are. But really, how bad is average today? If you were trading in a much better than average vehicle built 10 years ago, the new vehicle will likely be just as reliable. I wish somebody would put together a study that graphed out the steady improvement in the average mark…CR is relative scale so those on the lower half really have their work cut out for them. Even if they matched the reliability of the top models, the relative average would also improve which waters down their accomplishment.

      • 0 avatar
        ohiodale

        Please do not quote consumer reports (CR). If you assess how they rate vehicles, it is compeltely unscientific. First of all, the review are by CR paying subscribers which is not a fair cross section of consumers. Many reviews are based on a handfull or less actual reviews. Say a company sells 200K of a product. Are 3 reviews a good representation of a product? The scientific answer is no. Also, people who pay for CR subscriptions are people who are very picky and many of them tend to have bought foreign cars over the last 10 -20 years. Now that american cars are equal or better than the foriegn competitors, the buyers of the japanese cars are still defending the cars they drive. Lets face it, we all defend our beloved cars. I have evaluated CR and found 2 identical cars, one american an brand and the other the exact same car with a foreign brand name. The american car was evaluated low in certian areas and the foriegn car evaluated high in the exact same areas. These engines, suspensions, and interiors were identical. Bottom line is, car reviews are 100% subjective, unscientific, biased (usually agaisnt american), and absolutely inaccurate. Most cars are not that different and have good and bad traits. No car is superior in every category and this is a fact.

  • avatar
    raph

    Come on SVT Fusion!

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    “No, this isn’t Aston Martin’s new mid-size four-door entry, although you could be forgiven for making the mistake.”

    This is an impossible mistake to make.

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    The reason this engine keeps getting recalled is because they can’t figure out what’s making them catch on fire. I have a friend that’s a tech at a local Ford dealer. He’s working Saturdays and Sundays performing the “recall” work which he showed me one afternoon is basically just a visual inspection for leaks and a pressure test of the cooling system. Ford still doesn’t know what lead to the dozen or so fires so they’re just grasping at straws. Expect at least one more recall once they do figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I read somewhere they figured it out – the ECU needs to be reflashed so the cooling system will work properly in all circumstances.

      My friend’s Fusion was recalled for this a week after she bought it ($27k).

      • 0 avatar
        beefmalone

        Yeah, I forgot they do reflash the computer too. However, they do not know WHY the cars are catching on fire when they overheat. Kinda scary actually.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        beefmalone, yes they do know why they catch fire when they overheat. The coolant exiting the expansion tank dumps onto the turbo and then catches fire. So I’m don’t consider the using software to fix the hardware issue a real fix. Yes turning on the fan sooner will keep a new car from overheating and dumping it’s coolant on the turbo but what about in 10 years when the coolant fan quits working?

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      In my opinion, we have 2 issues here:

      1) Engine overheats.
      2) Engine goes up in flames under an overheat event.

      Trying to stop overheating conditions does not address the problem of fires when overheating occurs.

      This is a very dangerous problem. Would you want your kids strapped in their car seats when the flames hit just because the engine overheated? It is possible the fire would be fed with high pressure fuel. But, NHTSA is so politically motivated that they will let you drive your family around in a UAW vehicle with this risk. Something is wrong in this country.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        “Would you want your kids strapped in their car seats when the flames hit just because the engine overheated?”

        Good point. If coolant leaks and a fire begins in the engine compartment, you’ve got about 5 seconds before the entire passenger compartment is completely engulfed in huge flames and everyone aboard dies instantly. Also, after being on fire for only 20 seconds, the car explodes like its loaded with a brick of C4, just like in the movies.

        Did you know the body is made of metal? Metal attracts lightning. You are as good as dead. It could happen and its just a matter of time.

        Scare mongering! Scare mongering! Everyone react!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Some will claim what I’m about to state is “trollish,” but I guess that’d make Ford a troll, because Ford itself has admitted it still not only can’t repair the 1.6 liter motors catching on fire in the Escape and Fusion, but it hasn’t even been able to diagnose the cause of this problem yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        DeadWeight, Yes Ford has figured out why they catch on fire and they do have a “fix” and are currently fixing and returning the affected units to service. Not that I think the fix is the right fix, but the exact cause of the issue has been determined.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        @scoutdude:

        When I searched the matterthe last go-round, Ford was publicly announcing they did not know what the source of the engine fire catalyst was, and they therefore did not have any “fix” in hand.

        I now see that they claim to know the/a possible catalyst for these fires as of December 10th.

        Count me skeptical, as the “cooling system software failing to properly manage engine temperatures” is now the third explanation for the engine fires (the other two explanations were faulty fuel lines thought to be the issue in July, and leaking coolant which was the issue in September).

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The scored hoses and improperly affixed freeze plugs are only tangentially related to the current recall.

        All effect the same engine, and all could theoretically lead to a fire, but all are separate issues.

        The latest update says that the issue can only occur if a specific series of events unfold – the cooling system has to lose pressure, which can then trigger the system to restrict coolant flow to avoid a complete loss of coolant in the event of a leak, the restricted flow in combination with a loss of coolant pressure can result in an extreme engine overheating event, which can then lead to further fluid leaks that could conceivably result in a fire if flammable fluids come into contact with hot exhaust components.

        From the way I’m reading it, it looks like a potential fire can only occur if the cooling system experiences a major malfunction to begin with, like a fluid leak or a pump failure. If that happens the old software would try to reduce flow to conserve some form of engine cooling, but the reduced coolant flow might not be enough which could result in the leaks that could cause a fire.

        It’s not like the engines were just spontaneously combusting – as long as no loss of coolant pressure occurs the entire chain of events that could lead to a fire could never play out.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Nullo, my concern is what happens when the car ages and the second owner does not know to replace all the hoses and belts as PM as any high-miler knows to do. Will this result in 12 year old Fusions being a statistically higher fire risk? A vehicle must be able to deal with what is a likely scenario for a fairly large percentage of cars during their lifetime. I don’t get the Ford hate – my 18 year old Probe and 20 year old Sable have been reliable, but then again I never overheated either of them or any of our other cars for that matter. But if this is the extent of Ford’s solution, I feel that they are just kicking the can down the road….

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        g2h,

        Do people objectively believe that Ford truly knows what is causing the engine fire issues with respect to the 1.6 ecoboost, and/or that they’ve really implemented a real and permanent fix for it with the latest, 3rd time is a charm, software reflash of the cooling system functioning?

        First, Ford claimed faulty fuel lines were the problem, and they “fixed” that…more fires ensued.

        Next, Ford claimed that leaking coolant was the problem, and Ford “fixed” that…more fires ensured.

        Now, Ford is apparently claiming that their reprogramming of the functioning of the coolant system will remedy the problem.

        It was tresmono who stated in the comments section under another TTAC article that he had heard (via Ford or OEM insiders) the 1.6 liter ecoboost would be dumped by Ford after the 2013 model year, because of some inherent (I’d argue that he implied “un-fixable”) problem.

        I do not know if this is or is not true, but as I remarked then, if that happened, it would be a clear admission that there’s a design defect, and not a manufacturing defect, regarding the 1.6 ecoboost.

        The worst part about engine fires is that they’re incredible insidious, as they can start well after you’ve parked your car in the garage and shut it down, and the next thing you know, your house is on fire.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Dw:
        You are misquoting me. The 1.6 drop would be due to taxes and regulations on mid sized cars.

        You are trolling hard. Now you’re making stuff up to come off as knowledgeable. I thought better of you than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I still say that a 1.6 engine for a car this size is simply too small, it needs a 2 litre and better yet a 2 litre that hasn’t been de-tuned.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        Hey DeadWeight, admitted it where? Is this like your incorrect use of the word “literally” above? Perhaps you literally don’t know the meaning of the word “admit” either?

        Did Ford make this admission while literally swinging for the fences on pricing? That must have been an interesting event.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I just posted the actual language, whereby Consumer Reports declared the Ford Edge as one of the “Five Popular Cars To Avoid,” page number and all, above, in response to sv’s response.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    the radio/cd player and hvac run off knobs and switches and don’t require 38 commands on an infotainment gadget? That might be a selling/buying point all by itself.

    • 0 avatar
      Omnifan

      I’ve driven a Focus with the MFT as a rental car. You can keep that MFT crap. I’ll take a simpler radio with controls you can understand and use.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        I’m rather surprised a rental fleet would have had a loaded Focus on hand.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Hertz at least does not really buy strippers anymore. Once you get to Fusion/Altima/Camry/Passat size you are going to get at least mid-upper trim level, and a fair number of them are fully loaded. Though you probably need to be a frequent renter (or lucky) to get one of the really loaded cars.

        I just had two Passat SELs in a row this week – loved them, probably my new favorite rental car.

        I can’t wait to try the new Fusion, never cared for the old one.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        A friend of mine is shopping for new cars. He rented a Ford with the MFT, and he has now said he will never own a Ford. My response to him was that Ford builds great cars, but their user interfaces are complete crap.

        There is no way I would ever buy a car with these “buttonless” touch-sensitive controls. Cars are a terrible application of that tech. I also hate touchscreens. Now, I don’t mean “hate” as in “I hate asparagus because it tastes icky and makes my burps foul-smelling.” I mean “hate” as in “Find the person who is responsible, fire him, then drag him behind a woodshed & beat him within an inch of his life, then set him on fire, and shoot him in the face.”

        Of course that’s just me, but like how internet fanbois wish manuals were offered, I wish every car had an option for a regular stereo. I would pay extra for it, even if it has to be a dealer add-on.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        I’ve had a number of the MyTouch units on rental cars as well. They are better now, but the control layout and feedback are still not well done. The GM and Hyundai units, for example, are much easier to use. Separate buttons help, but only to a point, if the overall user interface doesn’t make sense to the user.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        MFT isn’t great for rentals. If you own a car with it, and get a thorough demonstration/walkthrough when you purchase it, the design decisions make a lot of sense. IF you just jump in and try to figure it out, it’s not the most intuitive system on the market.

        I find myself using the voice commands the majority of the time. They’re quicker than trying to use the touch screen for most common functions, and once you learn the syntax and how to speak to the system, the voice recognition is nearly perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        MFT isn’t great for rentals, but it’s better for non-rentals?

        I realize you’ve never criticized anything Ford related and never will, but can you at least acknowledge that you’re apparently powerless to do so?

        You’ve even gone to the ridiculous measure of trying to claim that Lincolns are inherently and significantly different than their Ford cousins, somehow justifying the Lincoln price premium (over an already expensive Ford product).

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Yes, the use case for a rental is very different from a long term daily driver.

        A rental car is temporary transportation. Someone renting a car shouldn’t expect to have to devote much time to learning the basic interface and how things work, won’t have someone to teach them how things work when they pick it up, and might not even have access to a manual.

        When you purchase or lease a car you are making a commitment for at least a couple years in most cases, so spending a few hours over the course of the initial ownership period learning how things work to take full advantage of the capabilities of the vehicle is worthwhile. Plus, when you buy a new or CPO vehicle you have the benefit of the salesperson to walk you through how everything works before you drive off on your own for the first time.

        MFT has more features and more capability than competing systems on the market, but that does come at the cost of a steeper learning curve. If you’re only going to be in the car for a day or two it might not be worth it to learn the ins and outs, but if you’ll have it for years, the time spent will pay dividends in the features and capability you’ll have access to that users of other systems won’t.

        When it comes to Lincoln the justification for the price premium will have to be left to the individual buyer. I feel it’s worth it. The interior of a vehicle is the most important feature to me, and Lincolns are more nicely appointed than the Ford models they share platforms with. Some of the Lincoln exclusive technology like the adaptive suspension and active noise cancellation makes a difference as well, but to me which axle the power goes to or whether or not the powertrain is exclusive to the model isn’t as important as how nice the leather is, if there’s real wood trim, how many surfaces are covered in leather, or how nice the stereo sounds.

        I’ve mentioned criticisms of Ford products before, and if there is something I believe is a mistake, I’ll speak up about it. MFT needed some more time in development before it was released into the wild, and I’m not at all a fan of the dead pedal placement on several of the D3/D4 platform vehicles. On the other hand I don’t agree with the criticism over the PowerShift transmission, I’ve had customers get the advertised mileage on the C-Max, and from the driver’s seat the EB 1.6 engine is so much better than any naturally aspirated 4 cylinder that I’d have been happy to choose it even if I’d had to go through every recall so far. If I see someone stating something as fact that I know to be false, I’ll speak up, and if it’s a matter of opinions I have no problem adding mine to the mix.

        My issues with CR go back well before my time selling Ford products. When I had my first sales job in electronics CR would routinely publish baffling recommendations that anyone with any experience with the products knew were way off.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …….My issues with CR go back well before my time selling Ford products. When I had my first sales job in electronics CR would routinely publish baffling recommendations that anyone with any experience with the products knew were way off……

        That horrible audio advice is what turned me off from CR in the first place…

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    “Michael was invited to a regional Ford event in September where he revealed his , but what most readers seem to recall is Derek’s proclamation…”

    Revealed his what?? Were the police called?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “This Ford is quite simply the best looking sedan in America under $50,000.”

    I think the Kia Optima and Rio sedan are better-looking.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I disagree with this. However, I would say it is the best looking sedan under $30,000.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      The front of the Fusion is fine but the rear leaves me a bit cold. I can tell you for 50 large there are definitely better looking sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I personally think the new Mazda6 looks better, but it doesn’t go on sale until next month.

    • 0 avatar
      McGilligan

      When I read that line my initial reaction was “is the Optima no longer for sale?” The list of better looking cars under $50,000 is not a short one. Although styling is subjective, I think the rear of the car is the better half. To my eye, the front is cartoonish, to borrow Alex’ adjective.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The Optima is attractive but there is something about the front 1/4 view that is off and Michael in his review a while back put his finger on it – the overhang is too much. I think the Fusion is more attractive than the Optima as there is not a glaring design issue like too long overhangs. But the Mazda 6 coming next year looks good so Ford may have a short lived reign.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    “it manages to avoid looking cartoonish like the Sonata”

    No. No it doesn’t. This car is a caricature.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    The 1.6L having recalls is enough to keep the car off my list, along with what looks like a confusing center stack. Ford needs to get its center stack design and reliability issues under control because otherwise the Fusion looks like a competitive sedan.

  • avatar
    tonykaz

    I’m a GM guy , retired .

    After reading Car Glossy Mags since the 1960s I feel compelled to comment that Mr.Dykes is the finest

    Car Writer I’ve ever read , anywhere , he’s seems to be the Hemingway of Automotive Journalism .

    JB is no slouch either .

    I may still read the Ad’s in Car & Driver at the Barber Shop or not , maybe Handyman instead , TTAC has

    pretty much replaced the Car Glossys for me .

    Thanks for being there TTAC ,

    and to Mr. Dykes : even Stephen King uses an Editorial service , You are still the Bomb , I love your work .

    Anthony Kazmierski Sr.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I hope it comes with a standard fire extinguisher.

  • avatar
    nicko

    Those shoes just aren’t doing it for me with that shirt and jacket. Nice review.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Kudos to Ford, sounds like they did a heck of a job with the new Fusion. I look forward to reading the review of the plug-in model.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    A car that’s been on sale for only a couple months and has already had TWO recalls and features the terrible MyFord Touchy is a game changer???

    My the bar must be set very low…

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      To show they had more sense than cats: you can use the radio and hvac with knobs and buttons. Not F-150 you can wear gloves and tune the radio useful. It’s a small victory for a luddite like me.

  • avatar
    nicko

    Maybe I’m a little biased, but for 38 grand, that’s pushing fully loaded Charger r/t AWD money or a nicely equipped 300. The avenger has never been competitive in this segment, but the new pricing schemes from several of the midsizers seems to compete with the full sized and IMHO much better LX twins.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “The new Accord is elegant for sure, but the large green house screams family sedan.”

    I don’t understand whats wrong with a family sedan looking like a family sedan, thats like saying “This new HD TV is elegant for sure, but the large power button screams family entertainment system”.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree. I feel like the other sedans are trying too hard. And you can’t neglect the large number of customers who are alienated by the current trend of sedans. The Accord impresses not with swoopy and edgy styling, but by doing things right. Having sat in the new one, I can say that it has excellent ergonomics and is the perfect car for most families. The other midsizer that seems to be comfortable in its own skin is the Malibu, but the powers-that-be at GM rendered it relatively uncompetitive…

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I don’t care what a car “looks like” with respect to greenhouse size. I care about being able to see out in any direction within a fraction of a second, which is sometimes (where I live, often) required while driving.

  • avatar

    The security hazard with this vehicle is extreme. Remember those 2009 and 2010 papers that used Bluetooth to hack into CD player and CD player to hack into the “priority” bus, allowing to disable brakes? Now we have steering too.

  • avatar
    graham

    You review lost all credibility when I read “the large green house screams family sedan” in reference to the Accord. What a large green house projects is a well-designed exterior that blends driver visibility with harmonic exterior styling. The Fusion, along with nearly every other family sedan, has horrid overwrought exterior detailing that manages to look dated before it’s even a year old.

    • 0 avatar

      Such is the danger of this new trend: the looks don’t always age well. Already I’m tired of seeing the Sonata and would never consider purchasing one at this point. I realize now that in a few years, the Accord, Legacy and Malibu will still look quite fresh when everything else has gone stale…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Similarly, I found the Fusion too busy when I saw it in person versus the photos. The one I saw was the hybrid model and there was just way too much going on at the peripheral bits (lower front bumper, grille surround, lower rear bumper). I was walking into the movie theater when I saw it. Overwrought was exactly the word I used when I mentioned it to my wife. I thought the previous gen Fusion, particularly the facelifted version, had a subtle handsomeness with a very cohesive design.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Too busy??? This is one of Ford’s simpler recent designs if anything. Compare this to the Focus, where there are 3 character lines linking the head- and tail-lamps.

        There are perhaps a few more creases and lines up front than on the Accord, but I for one am thankful that we have the option of sensible, clean and basic cars as well as more stylish ones. I guess you just can’t please everyone.

        And for what it’s worth the current Subaru Legacy is the absolute worst piece of automotive design inflicted upon humanity since the Aztek. A pity since it’s still well-engineered.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        I don’t agree with the Fusion’s design being too busy, honestly I rather like it myself. Had this come out sooner, this might be what I’d have now, maybe… as I really do like my ’12 4Runner SR5… but then again I was happy with my Mustang GT also. The rear end treatment is the only somewhat weak point on this car, but it’s not enough to be off putting. I actually have the same critique about my 4Runner, kind of a ‘meh’ rear on an otherwise beefy and rugged SUV.

        The other point, I’ve logged plenty of miles on my mom’s ’06 Fusion SEL V6 and I liked using it. Nice, comfortable, felt well built and it handled pretty decently too. The only things that did detract from it is the somewhat underpowered 220hp 3.0L V6, it’s good enough for the commute but it’s the reason why Ford later added the 3.5 to the options list. I’m sure my 270hp 4Runner would outrun it. Also the brakes felt ‘OK’, they stop the car, but I appreciate total confidence inspiring brakes, such as in my ’06 Mustang GT, my ’02 Maxima SE 6 speed stick and my ’88 Maxima GXE (that little SOB absolutely has the best brakes I’ve ever used, even without ABS!)

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Otoh, the Accord is trying to hard to look like a BMW (Hofmeister kinked greenhouse) from the side and the Genesis from the year.

      The design of the Accord is one of those where there is nothing really wrong with it, but there’s nothing really exciting about it either.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        For my money, the whole body style still looks way too similar to the model that preceeded it. Then again, Toyota’s been doing this with the Camry for what seems like decades now.

  • avatar
    carguy

    An undeniably distinct looking car with a high quality interior and good road manners. However, Ford’s launches lately have been plagued by technical problems and I would advise anyone to wait until some real world reliability numbers are available before handing over nearly $30K. Good looking is nice but unreliable is unacceptable in my book.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    “Should AWD be on your must-have list, be ready to shell out $32,200 because it’s available only on the Titanium. Before you complain about the cost of admission, keep in mind your only other mass-market mid-sized AWD option would be a Subaru.”

    A Legacy sedan can be purchased for a great deal less than $32K – although if I were in the market for an AWD sedan, I’d wait for the next generation. Which had better still offer a stick shift, dammit.

    • 0 avatar
      vanwestcoaster

      Americans could head north and save a few bucks; to give our sled dogs a rest, Ford Canada is offering an SE AWD version (includes 18″ wheels and 2.0 Litre EB – and no MyFord Touch :) for $27,049 Cdn, in addition to the pricier Titanium model. Just remember your speed will be the smaller digits on the speedometer…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      @gottacook:

      You can get an AWD Legacy sedan (they’re all AWD, after all) for as low as a shade above $20,000 including destination if you don’t mind a manual, and for about $800 if you opt for the CVT.

      It won’t be loaded, but it won’t be a stripper, either (there aren’t really any main stream stripper sedans anymore).

      Ford dealers probably won’t stock any Fusions that MSRP for less than 25k, and they’ll continue onward and upward well past 30k, which means Passats, Accords, Camrys, Mazda6s, Altimas, etc. will all be available as far more reliable, rationally priced alternatives for the rational buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        A Legacy 3.6 Limited optioned out as close to a Fusion Titanium AWD comes in at $30,680 vs $32,995 on the Fusion. The Fusion Titanium comes with some options not available on the Legacy which would make up for the difference.

        Yes, you can get an AWD Legacy with far fewer options than a Titanium Fusion for a lot less money.

        You can also get an Altima, Camry, Passat, etc, for less than a fully optioned Fusion, but if you option out a Fusion similarly to any of those vehicles, the prices are very similar. Comparing mid-range or base trim vehicles of one brand to fully loaded versions of another to try to prove some problem with pricing is just dishonest. Compare apples to apples and you’ll see the Fusion doesn’t carry much of a price premium over most competing vehicles.

        As far as reliability goes, there’s no reason to assume it won’t be very good on the Fusion. So far the two recalls (one for a headlamp issue only effecting a small number of vehicles, and the only effecting the 1.6L) are safety issues, not reliability issues. I could see a point in saying that an engine possibly overheating could be a reliability problem, but now that there is a ECM reflash to eliminate the overheating problem, there will be no reliability issue there.

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        “Ford dealers probably won’t stock any Fusions that MSRP for less than 25k, and they’ll continue onward and upward well past 30k, which means Passats, Accords, Camrys, Mazda6s, Altimas, etc. will all be available as far more reliable, rationally priced alternatives for the rational buyer.”

        My local dealer has 8 in stock. Lowest price is $22,400 2nd highest is $26,975, Most expensive 30,695.

        Over half (5/8) are under 25k and only 1 over 30k.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        For the past few weeks my local dealer has advertised new 2013 Fusions starting at just below $19k. Granted that’s most likely the base 2.5 4cyl/6-spd auto version, but I suspect it still feels sportier than anything else in the mid-size class, especially at the price point. I have never considered purchasing anything from the family sedan segment, but this new Fusion might just get my vote when it’s time for me to trade up.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        DeadWeight – I get it, you don’t like this vehicle, but have you been trolling car lots as much as you’ve been on this website? I’ve been looking at hybrid sedans. The Fusion is very competitively priced along the Camry, Sonata and Accord. Less than $1000 delta for similar eqipped at my 3 local dealers.

        Dealers for Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissian, et. al. don’t fill lots with $20k strippers either. New sedans in this segment go for $25-30k and people know that. The $38k Fusion is one that has literally every option checked. Few will sell for that too, but I did see a Camry on the showroom floor with a sticker over $35k.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Finally, the Fusion gets a respectable speedometer!

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez

    “This Ford is quite simply the best looking sedan in America under $50,000.”
    Huh? Really? Am I the only one who finds this statement HIGHLY arguable, at best? While styling opinions are highly subjective, you could easily make the case that any number of sedans at the lofty 50k price point look better than the fusion. Does this really look better than the ENTIRE sedan lineup from Cadillac? What about the Chrysler 300? I’m graciously interpreting the above quote as dismissing European and Japanese entries, because then it just becomes absurd.
    Good review, ludicrous statement.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      The Fusion, CTS/ATS and 300 take very different approaches to styling. I think the Fusion will turn off far fewer people, though I personally like all of them.

      Of course styling is always subjective, so yes it’s arguable. Personally, I might put the Jaguar XF or Audi A6 slightly above the Fusion in the looks category, but it’s hard to think of anything else under $50k that comes close. It helps that BMW and Mercedes have both dropped the ball lately design-wise (and Lexus, Acura and Infiniti never really picked up the ball in the first place).

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “you could easily make the case that any number of sedans at the lofty 50k price point look better than the fusion.”

      Yet despite the fact that it is apparently easy to do so, you did not make that case, you just asked a couple of rhetorical questions.

      • 0 avatar
        Dingleberrypiez

        Dear Silvy_nonsense, my point was that you can make the case that any of the cars I mentioned are more attractive than the Fusion, among other vehicles. Sorry if this was lost on you. Obviously several other commenters agree with me and have shared the vehicles they find more attractive. Some even prefer the 300. Shocking, isn’t it?
        Let me put this as straightforward as possible so you’ll be able to understand. Style wise, compared to the Fusion, I DO prefer the entire Cadillac lineup, and the 300. Including non-American brands, I prefer the latest Passat and the 3-series. Although I’m not sure of their base cost, I also prefer the Infiniti M, the 5-series, and the latest Lexus GS. You may not agree, and styling is obviously subjective, so I tried to keep my personal preferences out of my original comment.
        I’m glad that my comment is so important that you’d offer up your critique, so I though you deserved a reply. Maybe in the future when you share an opinion of value related to the article’s topic, I can return the favor. Merry Christmas!

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      Sorry, but everything looks better than the 300. It looked great for about a year, and now the design is beyond long-in-the-tooth. The recent “refresh” (different headlights, grille, and silly chromed taillights) was a joke. I would be embarrassed to drive one because of the ghetto/gangsta connotation.

      • 0 avatar
        vanwestcoaster

        Agreed. It looks like a cartoonish tank.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’d take a 300 with the Pentastar V6 over the Fusion all day long.

        It is quieter, has a luxury car ride, the interior is two cuts above the Fusion, and according to Consumer Reports, it’s bound to be far more reliable as an added bonus.

        It doesn’t hurt at all that the 300 with the V6 can probably be had for LESS money than a comparably equipped Fusion when it comes to negotiating a real price at the dealer level.

      • 0 avatar
        daviel

        I have to agree with DeadWeight. In every respect the 300 V6 has the Fusion beat.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        These are assumptions until you’ve actually driven a Fusion and can compare it to the Chrysler. Even Consumer Reports hasn’t fully tested the Fusion yet. That being said, while the 300 is PROBABLY quieter and has a somewhat nicer interior, the Fusion almost undoubtedly handles better and (to many people, myself included) looks better. The Fusion’s reliability won’t be reported for another year or so either so there are NO comparisons that can be made yet (while Ford’s recent record has been poor, they may have gotten their act together with this one; there’s no way to know yet).

        Also, while a Fusion CAN cost as much as a 300, it usually will cost much less. I’d personally rather have a Fusion SE 6-speed for $25k than a 300 for $30-35k.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Just drove a 300 (refreshed version) as a rental. The styling of these cars is a matter of taste: you either like it or you don’t. The refresh tones down some of the styling elements of the original. The big change is inside, where the new interior is not a farrago of different colored plastic, as the old was. The new V-6/8-speed engine/drivetrain combination is every bit as good as has been reviewed, although the gap between 7th and 6th gears seems a little wide. I noticed while driving on the freeway around San Jose that the car shifted easily out of top gear to manage any acceleration at 65-70, and even shifting to 7th did not generate very much acceleration (engine rpm still under 2000). The next downshift (whatever it was) spun the engine up to around 3500 rpm, at which point there was plenty of acceleration, but also noise. It seemed like there should have been a gear that put the engine speed at 2500 rpm at around 60-65 mph, which would have produced less noise and less, but still adequate, acceleration. In any event, the car did not feel underpowered, nor would I call the transmission sluggish.

        Much better than the 3.5 liter/4 speed model I last drove, a couple of years ago.

        However, unlike the previous model, this one did not feel as buttoned down. In particular, there was inadequate rebound damping in the suspension, which really bothered me. The older model drove better (apart from the inferior engine/drivetrain). Maybe there’s a suspension upgrade available (other than the SRT hot rod) that will feature more rebound damping.

        This is a considerably bulkier car than the Fusion, with all of the good and bad that entails (the good: a really comfortable car for 4 people. the bad: just a bigger vehicle outside and probably significantly worse in-town fuel economy.

        I could certainly see shopping these two cars against each other, even though they are “apples and oranges” to some degree.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      “This Ford is quite simply the best looking sedan in America under $50,000.”

      – Even among the mainstream family sedans, the Kia Optima in SX trim is better (having won just about every major auto design award).

      The Optima has the better shaped greenhouse and rear.

      • 0 avatar
        foryou2nv

        Only if them Kias didn’t smash the valves into the pistons when the timing belt breaks or other belt related parts let go. . More engineering marvelous.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “Only if them Kias didn’t smash the valves into the pistons when the timing belt breaks or other belt related parts let go. . More engineering marvelous.”

        Except every new KIA in the showroom uses a timing CHAIN, not a belt.

        The last timing BELT engine they had went out with the last Rio and pre re-fresh Soul 2.0L. The Nu 2.0 in the Soul uses a CHAIN, the Nu 1.6 uses a CHAIN.

        Try again on your trolling.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I think the 300 looks good, but its overall design looks very dated.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Another good review. Particularly noteworthy was the general recommendation that choosing between a new Fusion, Accord, or Altima is primarily one of personal preference. The Fusion would probably appeal to those a bit more daring due to Ford’s typical new model glitches, but it will surely cost less than the other two with the inevitable rebates and incentives. Each sounds like a decent entry in a highly competitive field.

    The ‘biggest loser’ in this category would now seem to be the Camry.

    • 0 avatar

      Definitely. It’s like Toyota just phoned it in with the new Camry. I drove a rental ’12 Camry LE (with that touch-screen interface) that had just come off of the lot, and I’d sooner buy a used Accord, Fusion or Malibu than that jalopy…

  • avatar
    th009

    There is no doubt that Ford has done well. Based on the review, it has excellent fuel economy (similar to the new Mazda6, though that’s only with the 1.6T engine), dashing good looks (yes, much improved, but subjective), a quiet cabin (albeit one smaller than the Accord and the Passat) and good driving dynamics (the review was a bit short on detail here). Possibly it would even qualify as “class-leading.”

    But a “game-changer” implies that the existing competitors, the Accord, Camry, Malibu, Passat, Altima, Mazda6 and others are no longer competitive, and need to go back to the drawing board. I didn’t read that from the review — did I miss it, was it really THAT good?

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I want to wish every editor and poster on TTAC a merry Christmas. I wish all of you and your families “all the best”.

  • avatar

    Did anyone even drove this new car? I see a lot of opinions not based on facts but on someones wild fantasies. I sat in the car in SF auto show and interior felt luxurious. After that Accord seems like just another family sedan. Who wants to own family sedan? I am not. I find nothing desirable in owning appliance like Accord or Camry – to the point that they stopped selling both of them in Europe – in Europe it is called executive class to which neither Camry or TSX belong.

    Fusion is a premium alternative to family sedans – not everyone wants to buy overprices luxury sedans.

    Many try to compare it to Accord – but did you really drove both Accord and Fusion to compare? Otherwise what is point of comparing. I did not care about American Accord but I drove original Acura TSX and new TSX and my observation is that original TSX felt light and fun to drive even though you can hardly call it a “luxury” car since it felt tinny and unsubstantial compared to e.g. Audi A4 – bench mark for FWD premium cars. But new TSX is complete ripoff – wouldn’t pay a dime for it. It is numb, wallowy and boring to drive. I do not expect American Accord to be better than TSX. And TSX competed directly with Mondeo. What I read from comparisons in German media TSX was far behind Passat, A4 and Mondeo and no wonder it is discontinued (expect it be discontinued in US also).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Have you even driven the 2013 Honda Accord, since your claiming (or at least insinuating) that it’s somehow inferior to the 2013 Fusion?

      • 0 avatar
        Shawnski

        Have you ever driven the 2013 Fusion, to know that the 300 is better? Your really no no better than your accused Ford sycophants, since it sounds like your on the Fiat payroll.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Have you ever driven the 2013 Ford Fusion, since your [sic] claiming (or at least insinuating) that it’s somehow inferior to every car ever made?

      • 0 avatar

        Do you mean American Accord? No. Do you imply it is superior to so called Acura TSX a.k.a. European Accord? Did you ever think why TSX was discontinued and Mondeo not? Japanese make boring cars and Americans love driving boring cars a.k.a. family sedans in US. Japan Inc makes money and American populace spends money – Japanese happy, Americans happy, there is no war, economy slugs along. I got it, no need to explain this fact in every post.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        I have driven hybrid variants of the ’13 Fusion and a std 4 cyl ’13 Accord. Both are fine vehicles but they aren’t an “apples to apples” comparison. The most they have in common is they are 4 door 5 passenger sedans. I like the Fusion more as it does have a more sporty ride and feel ~ more like my ’99 Accord that I drive today. The ’13 Accord felt comfortable and plenty adequate but not fun. The Honda is transportation while the Ford felt more substantial as a “drivers” vehicle.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I’m happy for Ford. It is nice that domestic cars are so competitive with import brands that it can boil down to brand loyalty and aesthetics. Thirty years ago, I was happy that Pontiac’s STE was being compared to Audi 5000. Audi got better, Pontiac got a grill light bar. And 35 years ago, Ford’s Granada had an ad campaign saying it ‘looked’ like a Mercedes.
    It is a game-changer when a 5 passenger can look like this, hit 0-60 in 7.9 secs, weigh 3400 lbs, get great mileage and run on a tiny 1.6L engine. I’d take one with the manual.
    Hope Ford gets the engine fires put out before the media stops pointing at Toyota’s poor ratings on the new crash testing technique.

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    The car looks nice, but the dimensions are way too big for the size of the interior. As I posted a couple days ago, the distance from where you sit in the drivers seat across the acres of dashboard, and long hood are immense.

    I’m not singling out Ford here, because it seems a lot of manufacturers are following this trend.

    And what is even more troubling about this is you can’t really tell where the hood ends. It just sort of falls off the face of the earth.

    I’ve had some big cars in my life. A Chevelle, a (ghasp) 73 monte carlo, and a 72 riviera. The chevelle not so much, but the other two had super long hoods. But surprisingly, the visibility was superior.

    I noticed this same thing with the Focus I test drove a few weeks ago. Super deep dashboard, and hood disappearing off into the yonder.

    What is driving this trend? Is it aerodynamics? It can’t be because the 1988 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the Pontiac Grand Prix had a CD of .29. Are the new Fusion and Focus significantly better than that?

    I really hope when I’m in the market for a new car years from now, the downsizing will have already commenced and cars are back to the sizes they were in the 90s.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Is there any correlation between having to learn a new OS/input system to view one’s heat gauge, and the overheating/fire issue?

    Is Ford causing casual users to have scorched sedans by burying the warning beneath a mileage computer/album art screen that everyone except worryworts will view, instead?

    I dig the fancy screens, but someone’s got to make one available with the 4 required gauges before I’m ready to bite. Yes, I understand my engine temperature gauge is computer-controlled/dampened– but the fact that so many cars are dropping them entirely reminds me of the time my Mother’s x-car was fried before the light came on.

    My parents still check that a car has a needle before they even consider purchasing, and I’m certain a fair number of the ‘bad car in the 1980s’ stories could have been remedied with just a dang temperature gauge.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Whhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa! It’s to expensive.

    Ya, the Fiesta is too expensive. The Focus is too expensive. The Cruze is too expensive. The Sonic is too expensive. The Sienna minivan is too expensive. No one will buy the redesigned Jetta with its primitive suspension and cheap interior. The Camry SE is a sponge on wheels.

    The B&B gets a lot wrong.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So has anyone tested the top motor yet? I haven’t seen a published test with the 2.0 DI unit yet.

    I will say though at least this car gets a conventional 6-speed automatic and no powershift.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    That trunk opening looks cartoonish. It’s wide and narrow and terrible goose-neck hinges eating into a cargo space too. This car should have being a lift-back, like last generation of Mazda 6.

    I hope that wagon that Ronnie seen on the road will come to North America, but I wont hold my breath. Funny that Canadians are always more open to purchasing hatchbacks and wagons, yet Acura does not offer TSX wagon in Canada.

    In Canada you could get SE AWD if you don’t want to pay for Titanium AWD. And Ford is offering $1,750 discount already on 2013 Fusion, yet no cash on hood even for 2012 Mustangs in Ontario.

    • 0 avatar
      hifi

      “This car should have being a lift-back, like last generation of Mazda 6.”

      Like the Mazda 6 hatchback that didn’t sell? The one that they no longer offer? Yeah, that would be a good business case. Thankfully Ford has more sense. I do hope that Ford decides to offer the wagon. The Jetta wagon seems to sell well. And the Fusion is much better looking as a wagon compared to the Jetta.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder why hatchbacks do not sell in America. Can anyone explain what is wrong with hatchbacks? I recall Ford Scorpio hatchback – it was very practical and handsome looking car, had all advantages of both Scorpio Estate and Sedan. There is nothing more practical that hatchback. Crossovers are not an answer – they look clumsy and handle badly. For small cars like Focus I wouldn’t even consider sedan – it does not look right and is not practical.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        For the most part it can be summed up as hatchback = econobox, they car you buy because you can’t afford the one you want.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        For any given level of engineering sophistication and mass, hatchbacks are less rigid, noisier, more prone to rattles, and provide less security for luggage than sedans. While I have valuables locked securely in the trunk of my car about half the time, I drive winding roads or tracks where the superior handling of a sedan is appreciated fairly often. Offsetting this, I borrow a friend’s pickup truck to move something that might have fit in a hatchback about once every three years. No way I’m putting up with the compromises of a hatchback for that.

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      I keep forgetting that it is not a hatchback. I guess Ford didn’t want it as sexy as Audi’s A7.

  • avatar
    lahru

    Hey Ford, build all Escapes with 2.0.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    I rented a last-generation Mondeo in Romania about two years ago. 2.0TDI six-speed. Was very impressed with how the car handled driving through the mountain roads of Transylvania and the torque-monster diesel delivered excellent grunt through the twisties. At the time my partner and I wondered why the hell Ford refused to sell this car in the US, but now it’s here. Too bad there’s no TDI option, and this generation isn’t as sharp-looking as the last, but I would still consider this Fusion if I was in the market.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: This is considerably faster than the Passat and Malibu but not as fast as the Accord and Altima with their efficient CVTs.

    Maybe a 2012 Malibu but not the 2013. The 2LT 2013 Malibu with the base 197 HP 191 torque 2.5 Ecotec was an easy 7.7 second to 60 car with the week long rental I had while mine was having body work completed from a recent accident. I even got it down to 7.6 seconds a few times after several days of break in driving. That new engine gave instant torque off the line, was impressively smooth and quiet, even in full throttle, and idled like it stalled. The Passat’s 2.5 170 HP 5 cylinder isn’t even in the same ball park.

  • avatar

    After reading review I finally decided to go to local Ford dealership and test drive new Fusion. I am looking for the new car and test drove number of cars like Acura TSX, Infinity G25, BMW 3 series, Buick Regal Turbo, Maxima and Cadillac CTS 3.0 to make list of candidates for my next new car. I drove 3 series just for comparison purpose (as a benchmark) since it is too small for my needs. Acura TSX had numb steering and wallowy ride so I dropped it from my list immediately during test drive. Infinity had kind of cheaply executed interior and was not very comfortable for premium car, but I liked how it drives and the steering feel. Maxima is too big, unwieldy, ugly looking and had cheap interior so I excluded it (I also drove loaded one as rental recently and did not like it at all) . CTS is very nice car but there is something about Cadillac I do not like, cannot explain it so I dropped it too. Buick is solid attractive car but steering felt kind of too light and interior does not look cool enough for me (stodgy like typical Opel to be exact). So after test drives I had only Infinity and Buick left in my list.

    Now Fusion. I admire Aston Martin but of course it is not practical for my needs and most importantly I cannot afford it. So I was fascinated how Fusion looks. Of course they should designed it in more subdued way but still it looks much more attractive than any other midsize car. I am interested only in loaded Fusion Platinum and that was the car I test drove. I was impressed how good steering felt – precise and nicely weighted. Engine was very good too – it felt better that V6 to tell the truth. I actually liked MFT. Touch screen reacts slower than say in Android phone but I was able to adapt quickly how to press virtual buttons on screen. I liked dash mounted touch buttons and find them as useful as ordinary buttons in other cars – have no issues there. But I am in high tech business and have advanced skills and experience with developing Android SW among other things. So I can adapt to new tech faster than typical person – take it into account. I was thrilled how high tech Fusion Titanium feels. My only wish would be to make tachometer larger – it is tiny and difficult to see – it is not difficult to do – it is just software – just give me source code and SDK – I can do it myself.

    Fusion has premium feel in how interior executed and how it drives. It easily beats Acura TSX – it is simply ridiculous to state otherwise. My only concern with Fusion is that it is FWD and no matter how well it is executed you still feel it when drive and brake. As FWD car it also does not look as sleeks as say Infinity G, CTS or 5-series. Reliability as a first production year may also be concern – but it is not like completely new model – it updated version of European Ford Mondeo. But still car is too attractive to ignore – it goes up in my short list ahead of Regal and Infinity.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      If you don’t need a ton of backseat room I, test an Audi. An A4 is right there with a top end Fusion – and has a better AWD system. (An actual rear bias a 40/60 split) and its better tuned for sporty handling..

      Not sure if I believe it but CR has Audi’s as fairly reliable. The Audi is also impossibly fast as compared to its spec sheet. People feel that they undersold their 2.0T engine such that it wouldn’t scare people away from the now discontinued 3.2 V6.

      As another poster pointed out – Ford prices are so high they are dipping into the not only the loaded 300/Charger catergory but the entry level lux category. The german luxury cars really do have a better balance between sporty and luxiourious for the most part. It’s cliche but its true.

  • avatar
    JPNev1

    I drove this new Fusion back-to-back with the Camry, Sonata, Accord, and Altima. Before driving them, I was sure the Altima would be my favorite, and I expected a lot from this new Ford. None of them were bad cars by any means, but to my surprise the Sonata delighted me the most with its driving dynamics and the Camry was confident and predictable, which was a nice change over our 2007 Camry.

    The Fusion was a good drive except for the underpowered engines (2.5 and 1.6 Ecoboost both felt weak-kneed to me). The handling of even the most basic Fusion was excellent and the car felt very solid throughout. However, what would keep me from buying a Fusion is the price and the business-as-usual weirdness with Ford engines. They always feel underpowered to me and there is way too much cluttered plumbing and wiring under the hood (I keep cars for the long haul and like to be able to access things like spark plugs without having to dismantle the world).

    If I were buying a brand-new car (I buy used German cars for less money instead) I would buy a Sonata, Optima, or even a Camry all day long. There is simply too much going on with regard to distracting gadgets and strange geared-for-fuel-economy mechanical features in the Fusion, Accord, and Altima (the CVTs in the latter two almost turn them into appliances). Of course, this is a family sedan, and most customers will buy it based on styling and gadgets, so Ford has done a great job with ensuring good sales there.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Ford like the Mercedes C250 pushes the whole low displacement but with turbo thing too far. You want some displacement for that 800-1500 rpm valley..

    They should just stick with the 2.0L i don’t see why the 1.6L would actually be cheaper to make..

  • avatar
    hania529

    I keep looking for these on the road and I haven’t seen ANY. Not ONE. Anyone know why?


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