By on March 11, 2013

Want a fuel-sipping, tree-hugging sedan with stunning good looks? Ford thinks they have the answer in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Can jamming a gasoline/electric drivetrain behind Ford’s sexy grille continue the love affair the press has had with Ford’s world-car? More importantly, can this Ford hybrid live up to its EPA numbers? Let’s find out.

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Exterior

The new Fusion is as striking as the old one was bland. Up front we have an Aston-Martin inspired grille, angry headlamps and a tastefully reserved quantity of chrome. Out back we have a less daring rear end that some of my friends thought looked “unfinished”  as if Ford just cut the sausage to the desired length. The stubby tail makes parallel parking a bit easier since it’s easy to know where your Fusion ends but I suspect rear-end repairs will be more costly than sedans with a more traditional bumper protrusion. The aggressive looks from the Optima and Fusion are refreshing in a segment full of humdrum slab sides and unrestrained chrome bling. I find the new Accord elegant in a 1990s Lexus sort of way, but the large green house screams family sedan. Toyota seems to have mated an edgy nose with refrigerator flat door panels to create a Camry that’s far from ugly but also far from sexy. Meanwhile VW’s Passat TDI strikes a very conservative pose with a large horizontal grille and segment-standard slab sides.

Interior

The new Fusion’s cabin has a level of refinement normally associated with European brands, and that makes sense since our Fusion is their Mondeo. The fit and finish in our tester was excellent with perfect seams and substantial feeling controls. 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. Like other Fusion models, most Hybrids sitting on the lot will look as if they were carved out of a single piece of black plastic. Selecting the tan cloth or the [seemingly] rare tan leather interior helps the interior feel warmer but there’s no way to avoid the large expanse of black that is the dashboard, carpet and large portion of the doors. If you love tan, keep in mind the Titanium comes only in black.

Front seat comfort is excellent although a step behind the Honda Accord which has the most comfortable seats in the segment. The Camry’s thrones are more “American-sized” but they aren’t as bolstered as those in the Fusion. Since seat preferences are as unique as people, spend some time behind the wheel before you buy. 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. Hybrid Fusions get standard10-way powered seats with an optional three-position memory system (standard on Titanium). 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 those in the front. Thanks to the sexy side-profile getting in and out of the rear seat required ducking more than in the competition and it cuts down on head room. If you find yourself needing to carry passengers in the rear that are over 6’1”, get the Camry, Passat or wait for the Accord. As always, I recommend you take your whole family with you shopping, stuff them all in the car and see how comfortable everyone is. Want to know more about the seating and cargo room? Check out the video review.

In an effort to increase useable cargo capacity (and improve mileage) Ford shifted from nickel based batteries to trendy and energy dense lithium-ion cells. The battery now sits on the floor of the trunk behind the rear seats and thanks to its reduced size, the rear seats are able to fold, something not possible with last year’s model. The folding rear seats are a novelty in this phone-booth sized segment with the Optima and Sonata ditching theirs entirely and the Camry offering a letter-box sized ski pass-through behind the passenger seat preventing long items from being inserted. When it comes to final capacity the Fusion lands in the middle with 12-cubes of cargo room compared to the Camry’s 13.1 and the Korean’s 9.9. If you click on the gallery at the bottom of this review you’ll see that the Fusion’s trunk is shaped so that it is possible to put roller bags on top of the battery making the trunk a bit more useful than the slightly larger Camry’s cargo hold.

Infotainment & Gadgets

All SE models start with a basic radio featuring six speakers, USB/iDevice control, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth phone integration and SYNC voice commands. If you don’t want your Fusion to be possessed by Ford’s touchscreen daemons, this is your only choice but at least it is an easy one to live with. Even the base SE model comes with power windows and door locks, a perimeter alarm, power driver’s seat, auto headlamps, body-colored mirrors and the keyless entry keypad that’s been a Ford hallmark for ages.

Most shoppers will need to get used to Ford’s temperamental touchscreen.  If you want to check pretty much any option box on the Fusion, MFT either needs to be selected first or it is included in the bundle. Want dual-zone climate control, a backup cam, blind spot monitoring, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a 120V outlet, cross traffic alert, etc? Better like MFT as well.

The $895 MFT option (standard on Titanium) consists of an 8-inch LCD in the dash, twin 4.2-inch LCDs in the gauge cluster, improved voice commands which now include climate control and touch-sensitive buttons for your HVAC system. Also bundled with the system is a backup camera and a 110V outlet in the center console. Thankfully, the latest version of Ford’s software seems to have resolved the frequent software crashes that plagues the system when it launched but the responsiveness issues persist. Perhaps worse for Ford than the slow graphics is that the competition has caught up and now offers similar levels of voice control and media device integration. MFT may still be one of the best looking systems on the market and it does bring a partial LCD dash to the party, but with viable options from the competition it has lost some of its shine.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Ford’s touch controls, they did prove more dependable than Cadillac’s new touch button setup and we noticed none of the fine scratched I have noticed on the Accord and Camry’s infotainment controls. 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.

The SE and Titanium trims can both 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 tied with the Prius V for the worst of the group according to the IIHS.

Drivetrain

Under the hood you’ll find Ford’s completely redesigned hybrid system with a downsized 2.0L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine good for 141HP and 129lb-ft of twist. This is down slightly from the old 155HP 2.5L engine but Ford makes up for that with the hefty 118HP motor/generator inside their all-new HF34 hybrid transaxle. The combined system is good for 188HP and a TTAC estimated 200-220lb-ft of torque.

Rather than offering different hybrid systems for different vehicles like Toyota does, Ford uses the same system across their line up from the C-MAX to the Lincoln MKZ. While the heart of the system may be the new engine, the soul is the new 1.4kWh battery which is not only smaller and more energy dense than the old nickel pack, it can charge and discharge more rapidly as well. This improved battery “bandwidth” coupled to the stronger motors in their in-house hybrid transaxle allow the new Fusion Hybrid to motor down the highway on electrons alone up to 62MPH. It’s also the reason Ford claims the Fusion gets 47MPG City, 47MPG Highway and 47MPG on the combined cycle.

Oh that fuel economy

Fuel economy is a tricky business because your driving style, topography and curb weight are huge factors. I would caution readers to never compare our numbers with other publications because the driving conditions and styles are different. Still, nobody seems to be getting the vaulted 47MPGs in the latest Ford hybrid vehicles, TTAC included. Over a week and 568 miles our Fusion averaged 41MPG in mixed driving and my mountain commute, about 5/10ths lower than the C-MAX Hybrid I had two months earlier. Despite the fact that both the C-MAX and the Fusion Hybrid weight about the same (3,600lbs), the C-MAX was never able to get more than 45MPG no matter what I did.

The Fusion on the other hand managed 49MPG on a 36 mile level drive in moderate traffic and 46MPG on a level highway at 68MPH. While I wouldn’t say the Fusion meets expectations when it comes to fuel economy, it is better than the Kia’s 35.6MPG on the same course and a hair better than the Camry’s 40.5MPG. While I’m disappointed Ford’s new hybrid system hasn’t lived up to its advertising, the Fusion Hybrid is still the most efficient mid-sized sedan and it beats Ford’s 1.6L Ecoboost model by 12.5MPG in my tests.

I’ve included the Passat TDI here because I know a large segment of our readers would complain if it was missing. Still, I have trouble believing that many gasoline/electric hybrid shoppers would seriously cross shop the TDI. Should they? That depends. When we last had the Passat TDI we averaged 37MPG in mixed driving, 44 on the highway and around 29 in the city. If you commute in traffic, most of the hybrid options would deliver better mileage. Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of diesel in America, out here on the left-coast the cheapest diesel around according to GasBuddy.com was $4.09, a $0.25 premium over regular unleaded. This translated into $400 more in fuel costs per year over the MPGs we averaged in the Fusion Hybrid.

Drive

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. Of course this is the hybrid model so there is still a transition point where the car adds friction braking in addition to the regenerative braking as you stop so things aren’t as smooth as with the “regular” Fusion. However, Ford’s new HF35 hybrid transaxle is quite simply the smoothest hybrid system this side of the Lexus LS 600hL easily besting the Camry and Lexus ES 300h in terms of hybrid system polish.

The Fusion provides, hands down, the best driving experience in this segment. Our tester ran to 60 in 7.31 seconds, only a hair behind the Camry, 1 second faster than the Optima and 2 seconds ahead of the Passat TDI, but it’s not straight line performance that I’m talking about. Thanks to wide 225-width rubber the Fusion is the first hybrid sedan I can describe as “fun” on mountain roads. I wouldn’t call it a corner carver, but it doesn’t immediately head for the bushes like an out of control land-yacht either. Sadly my theory for why the Fusion fails to live up to its 47MPG highway ratings is inexorably linked to its fun quotient. The larger your contact patch with the road, the more resistance you get and the lower your fuel economy will be. Still, looks sell (just ask Victoria’s  Secret) and the Fusion’s combination of dashing good looks, excellent (but well below claimed) fuel economy and the best hybrid driving dynamics the Fusion is quite simply the best fuel-sipping mid-sized sedan for 2013.

Hit it

  • Best pre-collision system in the segment, if you can afford it.
  • Sportiest hybrid sedan on the market.
  • Aston Martin’s mini-me.

Quit it

  • Rear seats are cramped for adult passengers.
  • Fuel economy doesn’t live up to the lofty claims unless you’re driving 55 on a flat highway.
  • MyFord Touch now has some serious competition.

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

0-30: 3.15 Seconds

0-60: 7.31 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.86 Seconds @ 90.4 MPH

Average Fuel Economy:41MPG over 568 Miles

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110 Comments on “Review: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid (Video)...”


  • avatar
    kvndoom

    “Fuel economy doesn’t live up to the lofty claims unless you’re driving 55 on a flat highway.”

    Isn’t that true of almost all cars these days? I think the Monroney should have “Interstate” mileage listed as well, which shows the fuel economy at 70 or 75 miles per hour, what people really drive these days.

    cause… I can’t drive 55!

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      No. Some are close to their EPA estimates some are not.

      Best example here look at the Camry Hybrid rated at 40/38, note Alex getting 40MPG in that model.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        You are talking about the Camry Hybrid XLE. The Camry Hybrid LE is rated higher ( 43/39 ). I have one, and I have averaged 41.5 since I drove it off the lot 1 year ago.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Isn’t that true of almost all cars these days?”
      - Absolutely not.

      Check out Car and Driver’s article called “Fun at 40 MPG.” They checked hwy mileage when driving at 73 mph and checked the maximum speed that each car could still deliver 40 mpg. IMO, that type of info is much more useful than the EPA’s hwy figure. (What I really want is a plot showing mpg as a function of steady-state speed.)

      Most cars (not hybrids) will dramatically outperform–not merely meet–their hwy mpg at a steady 50-55 mph. Hybrids with their smaller ICE engines have peak mpg at lower speeds, thus the EPA hwy figure is closer to their actual peak.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        Geez let’s get one thing straight. When it comes to practical concerns such as fuel economy, there’s absolutely zero useful info to be found in rags like Car & Idiot.

        Also, I think part of the problem in comparing the Fusion vs. Camry Hybrids is that the Fusion will either meet or exceed the Camry’s numbers when driven like a Toyota. That’s pretty much where the comparison ends since the Camry can’t be driven like it’s a Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          “That’s pretty much where the comparison ends since the Camry can’t be driven like it’s a Fusion.”

          You have that one right. You see, the Fusion needs to stay in the right lane at all times in order to let the faster Camry Hybrid get by. According to Car and Driver, the Camry Hybrid is nearly 2 seconds faster in the 0-60 times. TTAC seems to have a special Fusion that is faster than every other Fusion Hybrid ever built. A Fusion Hybrid with a 0-60 times north of 9 seconds is a performance JOKE.

          caranddriver.com/reviews/
          2013-ford-fusion-hybrid-road-test-review

          • 0 avatar
            CelticPete

            Alex Dykes seems to have the fastest times for all the cars he tests. Car and Driver has REALLY fast times for its cars IMHO. Somehow Dykes has been blowing them away..

            We have been through this before in another of his tests.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            Well then, the solution is clear. We need to get a couple of V6 Mustangs (worth 10 million internet points) and do an Alex vs. C&D drag race.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Who cares about time unless your heading for the grave first. Fuzion Hybrid zaps 22% of 35 and under crowd compared old man’s Camry Hybrid 13%.

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082010_ford-fusion-hybrid-buyers-are-younger-than-toyotas

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Autoblog just tested the Fusion hybrid and got only 36 mpg in real world driving, just like CR.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      My 12 VW Sportwagon TDI gets 40 mpg cruising at 75. If I were to go 55 it would get 50+ but I cant do that…lol

    • 0 avatar
      fynack

      This car cant do 47mpg if a grandma drove it. I dont know how hes testing but I had the 2013 fusion hybrid and got 37mpg on 47mpg rated car. I now have a Lexus es300h and am getting 45mpg on 40mpg rated car. What is the protocol or guideline for your “real world” test?

  • avatar
    mike978

    From what I have seen the fuel economy others gets is around the 40mpg mark. If Ford had just stated 40-42mpg combined then nobody would have complained and they would have still had official one of the most economic midsize sedans. By quoting 47 (which no doubt it meets in EPA tests otherwise they open themselves up to huge problems) they set false expectations.

    With regards the exterior, you forgot the new Mazda 6, which trumps all comers in this class. When do you get to test that?

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    In my opinion, these are not good looking cars at all. They’re an awful Jaguar knockoff that brings to mind those 2000′s Kia and Hyundai phony luxury cars (XG350L I think it was called). I much prefer the old Fusion, they look like a proudly American midsize sedan, like the old Taurus did.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, this beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      There was a time when a Euro-designed and engineered platform was much, much better than an American platform. But since 2009, that has changed, especially at Ford, with Alan Mulally in charge.

      Our Fusion is their Mondeo. Well, I can see where building a global platform can save Ford beaucoup money, but American tastes in style and design often do not mesh with those of the people on the other continents. Plenty of examples over the past 5-10 years.

      But it seems to be the trend these days. Ditto with Cadillac bringing Euro-design Opels to North America to compete head-on with BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I actually like the Fusion, because the midsize sedan market has been missing a vehicle with a truly good chassis for some time (I don’t consider the VW Passat to rate any more), but its weak link is the 1.6 ecoboost Ford is now using (apparently, they’re moving to the 2.0 liter in 2014, according to some sources?).

      I also don’t like the fact that the styling compromises the ingress and egress or overall room of and into the rear seat, which is much bigger problem than most people who haven’t experienced this probably realize. My 2006 VW Passat 2.0T had this issue, and many people would literally hit their head when attempting to get into the back seat, and then be stuck with a lack of head room while sitting back there (if they were 6 feet tall or more).

      The other problems with the Fusion are the shoddy fit and finish, which Consumer Reports actually took time to write a special blurb about in its latest edition, remarking that they couldn’t recall a car with worse interior fitment and assembly quality than the Fusion Titanium they reviewed (that’s hefty damnation right there), and the exorbitant price once even a modest amount of options are tacked on.

      Ford continues to enter premium pricing territory while Honda, VW and Toyota all are holding the line on price, and it’s pretty obvious that without a relatively massive % of sales of near base model Fusions to rental agencies and fleets, Fusion sales would trail the Camry & Accord by a very large margin.

      But over the long term, all of these issues will be moot if the trend in poor reliability relating to Ford’s newest vehicles, including the Fusion, Escape & Explorer, as indicated by a growing stack of black and half black CR circles, goes unaddressed.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        The Fusion is already available with the Ecoboost 2.0; the 1.6 is the base engine.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          These are genuine question (I have to preface many Ford product related questions because some accuse me of reflexive anti-all thing Ford bias when it’s reflective criticism of some things Ford they must be taking issue with):

          Is the 1.6 “base” motor non-aspirated or the ecoboost version (although I believe it’s not turbocharged, the rumors of motor changes, deletions and additions have been flying hot and heavy regarding the 1.6 liter)?

          Some B&B have mentioned the 1.6 liter ecoboost is being eliminated from the Fusion & Escape for model year 2014 forward; is this correct?

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            the actual “base” engine in the S is the normally-aspirated 2.5 liter. But I doubt Ford wants to sell a lot of S trim cars to people not named “Enterprise” or “Hertz.”

            The 1.6 is EcoBoost in the Fusion. IIRC all 1.6 Fords are EB except for the one in the Fiesta.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Is the same motor, essentially, as the 2.5 liter that Mazda uses?

            If so, it’s a very reliable motor, and I’d choose it over any ecoboost motor any day of the week and twice at that.

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            @Deadweight. The 2.5 in the base model is similiar to the Mazda 2.5, but the problem is the power characteristics of that engine and the 6 speed automatic trans aren’t well matched. The 1.6 EB and the trans work very nicely with each other and the power is decent for most buyers. I just prefer more power than most and would go for the 2.0 EB. The models i test drove last month had fantastic fit and finish so i don’t know what CR was complaining about. I loved the handling, and probably would buy one, but i often carry bulky items and, like most cars with a fast roofline, the trunk opening is too small.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        CR’s major complaints were with both Eco Boost engine’s poor fuel economy (for the class), and the visibility and rear-seat headroom (due to the styling).
        The SE Hybrid was rated 87 by CR, due to its stellar 39MPG overall, refined powertrain, quiet ride, secure handling and the LACK of MFT.

        So, if they work the bugs out of the assembly fit and finish, and reliability, (which I think that are related to the PowerShift and MFT in other models) the SE Hybrid looks like a solid value.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          As I said, I like the Fusion overall (genuinely).

          But it hits a solid triple or maybe inside the ballpark homerun on one of my 2 most important criteria (chassis and ride quality), but there’s a big unknown on the 2nd of those most important criteria, being reliability.

          The new Honda Accord is off to a pretty damn good start in this segment. The CVT in it puts me off, even though many have claimed Honda finally nailed the CVT, but the saving grace is that Honda has not (and hopefully NEVER WILL) stopped offering the manual gearbox on the Accord.

          • 0 avatar
            otaku

            As far as I know, Ford offers a six speed manual on the Fusion, but I think it’s only available with the 1.6 Ecoboost engine. That’s a shame, since I’ve heard good reviews of that transmission. Maybe Ford will eventually decide to also offer the manual on the base model with the 2.5 Mazda engine, like they did on the previous generation.

          • 0 avatar
            Mrb00st

            Ford offers an “Afterthought” six speed with the 1.6EB. You can tell it was an afterthought because there are four pedals.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          I really question CR’s results on things like this. They claimed the previous Escape hybrid only got them 29 mpg, while I could consistently turn 36-38 in the one we had at my last job. CR is also the group of schmucks who claimed they could only get 11mpg in the old Jeep Liberty CRD.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      I call it “Generic Car Shape,” formed by turning a parenthesis on its side and laying it on top of a wedge. In addition to the issue already noted, that actual people no longer fit in back, the Fusion looks like a slightly larger Focus. So much so that I have to pay close attention to know which car I am looking at. The styling references to the smaller car make the Fusion look even smaller than it is.

  • avatar

    If you’re paying these prices for a car arguing over FUEL ECONOMY within 5-8 mpg is asinine. If paying for gas is that difficult, GET A SMALLER CAR. I rarely pay any attention to MPG.

    The car’s looks are awesome and the 2.0-Ecoboost engine is decent enough for this car and the MKZ 2013. I personally think they’d have done better not having the plasti-touch panels and I also feel the interiors of this car feel cheaper than their prices would suggest.

    BTW – is it possible TTAC could post a simple breakdown of the base and “as tested” price at the BEGINNING of the review? Maybe even a simple 0-60 time and 1/4 mile time underneath?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “I rarely pay any attention to MPG.”

      You don’t, but I do. As you frequently point out, you can just buy power — and sometimes for surprisingly little money. That’s all well and good, but getting good MPGs is much harder, because you run in to the limits of what’s feasible much faster. I like the engineering challenge of improving MPGs much better.

      Also we’re likely close the worldwide 1/2 oil tank, the world may change while you’re not looking, should you choose to ignore this part of the equation. No skin off of my back if that happens, but I do feel obligated to mention it.

      I do get the fun that comes with big engines and RWD. Sure it’s fun, but it’s well understood in engineering terms, and other engineering problems are a lot harder. I dig difficult engineering!

      • 0 avatar

        Luke42

        The Earth has more oil and natural gas than mankind can possibly consume. Keep in mind that carbon dioxide gets trapped by plants and the soil and ends up changing into various types of usable fuel. The only people who want you to believe we are “running out” of petroleum are LIBERALS who are pushing Electric vehicles and “green” agendas.

        And if we ran out of gas, I’d just go down to Tesla and pick up a Model S. It’s really that simple.

        • 0 avatar
          Adamatari

          Bigtrucks:

          The world may have more oil and gas than we can consume, but much of that is locked up in source rocks in such a way that we can never access or produce it! One example is the green river formation, which is often claimed to contain “oil” but actually contains kerogen (a precursor to oil). So far, making oil out of that takes more energy than you get in the oil you make, so basically you lose. On a larger scale, every oil field has a limited amount of recoverable oil.

          The process by which plankton and algae turn into oil and gas takes literally millions of years as well, something of which you seem not to realize.

          No matter how disappointing it may be to you, there is a finite amount of recoverable oil and gas. Simple as that. We use the most easy to extract and refine resources first, then move to harder ones – which is what we are doing now with deepwater oil and oil sands. In return, we pay more. That’s just how it works.

          I suggest you take your head out of the (oil) sand and take a look at what you pay for gas. That price is a product of real physical constraints, combined with a growing world demand as literally billions of people in China, India, and elsewhere who were walking and riding bikes 10 years ago buy cars and start driving. The math of billion of new cars versus physical constraints is relentless. At some point, we lose the ability to produce more, and start producing less – all while billions more people are buying cars.

          Enjoy it while you can. Gasoline is dirt cheap now.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Luke 42, no one likes to pay high prices for gasoline or diesel. That’s a given.

        But we all have a choice. We can either buy the gas, or we can walk.

        Overwhelmingly it has been proven with each gas spike that Americans will continue to buy the fuel, no matter the price, because they prefer to drive.

        And furthermore, with the F150 being America’s best-selling vehicle year after year, GM trucks a close second, and Camry being America’s best-selling sedan, it should be self-evident that Hybrids, EVs and PEVs are but a minute sliver of the North American auto market.

        I do believe that Hybrids, EVs and PEVs should be available to anyone who wants to buy one, but I also believe that they should not be subsidized by the taxpayers, because it is an inconsequential niche market.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          There are way more (and more interesting) choices than “buy gas” and “walk”.

          Gasoline remains the easiest choice, as long as it stays cheap. But it’s probably going to be unbearably expensive before I retire in the 2040s.

          Plus, while gasoline works, but its boring – I’d written off cars as a solved problem before in started hearing rumbles about then current generation of EVs. No reason to be enthusiastic about the same old stuff, even if its an improvement.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m having a hard time understanding what you wrote, but it sounds like you’re saying that you’re enthusiastic about an inferior future. It would be hard to characterize that as positive thinking. OTOH, you shouldn’t be worried about retiring in the 2040s. You’re more likely to evolve into a giant flying squirrel.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Luke 42, I fully appreciate your position. And your income will keep up with the increased prices of gasoline in the future.

            I do believe that these experimental vehicles should be available to anyone who wants to buy one.

            When the Prius first came out, it, too, was an experiment, and its success is self-evident with more than a million of them sold after ten years. That’s a lot of Prii!

            I also believe that experimental Hydrogen, Methane fuel cells, CNG, LNG and LPG vehicles should be made available to the public. But they should not be subsidized in any way by the taxpayers.

            Many ranchers and farmers in my area already use LPG powered trucks with 100-gallon tanks in their beds. And you can smell them coming, against the wind.

            I’m not against these experimental means of powering transportation. But the enthusiastic efforts to convert the driving public to Hybrids and EVs in order to reduce our dependency on oil is a crock.

            And I believe that the American public isn’t buying it either.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            The future doesn’t guarantee that the things you guys are taking for granted.

            Yes, maybe natural gas will kick the energy/climate can down the road a generation or two, making this stuff my son’s problem. Or maybe the lessons learned from ITER will solve everything. Or maybe not.

            But, if the future does turn out to be the difficult scenerio where neither of these things pan out, then having then technology ready will allow us to continue living a 1st world lifestyle. And, if the scenario is one of the nice ones, then the geekily awesome high efficiency technology is an end in and of itself.

            If the future is all gasoline cars, though, then there’s nothing big left to figure out or invent – just refinements here and there. That’s fun if you’re the guy in Tue wind tunnel, but Camcord-boring to watch. That’s the kind of boredom that made me not care about cars, until I got my hands on a Prius and realized there WAS big new engineering to do, and new questions to be answered.

            If you want a powerful V8, the only question is how big of a check you’re willing to write. That’s boring. Figuring out how to make a more efficient car, though, means you have to push the frontiers of engineering/simulation, materials, and energy. That’s exciting!

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @highdesercat:
            The last time I shopped for fuel cells, they were available to the public – just at “call us, and make sure you’re sitting down” prices.

            Like unmanned rocket launches, they’re available to the public, just not at a price the public is willing to pay. And it’s an bespoke business, you have to actually talk to someone to get the price.

            (I used to be support staff for a university aerospace engineering department that had a lot of this kind of specialized equipment in their labs.)

            It’s not a big deal, though, because hydrogen has been not-going-anywhere as a commodity fuel for decades longer than I’ve been alive, and there’s no reason to think that going to change. And it’s far cheaper and nearly as efficient to use NG in conventional heat engines.

            I bet we’ll continue to see a shift toward natural gas as the everything-fuel over then next couple of decades. I’d prefer an EV, and I plan to buy one whenever I have new-car money to spend.(There’s no sense in wasting new-car money on a car without a plug, since the used ones are just as useful as the new ones.) But I expect that a lot of other people will happily use NG as a transportation fuel with regular engines, as soon as it’s easy. It’s already cheaper than gasoline by quite a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            “Figuring out how to make a more efficient car, though, means you have to push the frontiers of engineering/simulation, materials, and energy. That’s exciting!”

            You’re downplaying the advancements in these areas that are still occurring for vehicles with ICEs. We are living in a golden era in terms of ICE efficiency and performance, with significant improvements still occurring.

            The real question is whether you enjoy the act of driving, or just the thought of engineering work.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Luke, I know what you mean and seeking the fuel of choice for your own use, application and enjoyment, is what drives each of us individually.

            I know a guy on the highway in my area who uses LPG in two of his vehicles. He owns an LPG business and all his heavy delivery tankers and business vehicles also run on LPG, so his fuel is free to him. It was only natural for him to convert two of his own vehicles to LPG.

            But when he has to go out of town on trips further away than the capacity of his LPG tank, he drives a gasoline-powered F150 or his wife’s gasoline-powered Highlander.

            Not everyone can afford to run and maintain 4 vehicles, but in his case he still has two teenagers living at home.

            Don’t worry about the future. Your income will keep up with it, unless you slack off.

            The only thing that’s going to hurt you and other people still needing to work, is the over-reaching demand of Obama and the ‘crats to take more and more of your money in the form of taxes, fees, mandates and penalties, for their social welfare programs that provide money for nuttin’ and foodstamps for free to those living off the land.

            Since there is no free lunch and someone has to pay for it all, Obama and the ‘crats have effectively saddled our kids and grandkids with these debts.

            If you think gasoline-powered vehicles are dull and/or boring, I’m fine with that.

            To me vehicles are utility tools that serve a purpose, and convenience, ease of use and availability of fuel is what drives my purchases.

            But I have to admit to being a Big-Block addict ever since my teen years when my dad taught me to rebuild his 426 Hemis for his dragsters in Southern California.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I wouldn’t say that Hybrids are a inconsequential niche market. According to Toyota’s own advertising the Prius has been the best selling car in my area (Western WA) since C4C put it on top. Now I don’t have any registration numbers to back up those facts but since the national #1 spot is another Toyota I doubt they are stretching the truth in this case.

      • 0 avatar

        If you are that hard up for gas money…buy a Hyundai Elantra with nothing in it LOL.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Well, BigTruck’s got it half right, if he means that the difference between 40 and 46 mpg is not worth talking about . . . because it isn’t.

        On the other hand, the difference between 20 and 26 mpg is definitely worth talking about.

        To understand why, you need to convert from miles/gallon to gallons/mile.

        With a number of non-exotic (i.e. not hybrid, not PEV, not diesel) cars getting well over 30 mpg on the highway and in the 20′s around town, the economic case for hybrids, diesels and the like is pretty weak. The popularity of diesels in Europe is entirely an artifact of government regulation, in that diesel fuel is taxed less heavily per unit volume than is gasoline. Here in the US diesel fuel seems to cost about the same, if not more, than premium gasoline.

        Of course, if your state allows hybrids in the HOV lane with a single occupant in the car, then the calculation changes greatly! In metro DC, the early adopters of the Prius were mostly Virginia residents . . . because the Virginia suburbs of DC use HOV lanes on many highways and Virginia allowed single-driver Priuses in those lanes.

      • 0 avatar
        abbicory

        Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I’ve been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I’m just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks :) Mitsubishi Salt Lake City

    • 0 avatar

      Liberals love to talk a about future generations and catastrophes happening in the future and at the same time love to kick the can down the road saddling future generations with ever unsustainable debt and poverty. And at the same time they fear monger rest of us with “cuts in government services” and environmental sh*t. Fine cut government services and get done with it – lesser government is better. Those of of us who are smart enough dismiss all that BS and those who take it for gospel – well they deserve whatever future they have. Also liberals claim to support unions and at the same time avoid products made by same unions. What a hypocrates.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Hmmmm- the 3 policies that have added most to the US debt since Clinton (whom, btw, I’m no fan of)…

        1. Bush tax cuts (continued by Obama for his 1st term);

        2. Unfunded wars and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan (where there have been billions in waste in reconstruction projects); and

        3. Unfunded Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit.

        Also can add in things like the billions spent on the Dept. of Homeland Security and platinum-plated military contracts like the F-35 project which has been a boondoggle.

        Typical right-wingers like to talk about saving $$ by cutting spending, but that doesn’t apply when it comes to fat govt. contracts/spending for private businesses they support.

        Plenty of examples of this from Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big oil/gas (the CEO of Chesapeake Energy made DOUBLE the amount in ONE year than Chesapeake has paid in taxes for its entire existence – having a tax rate of less than 1% on pre-tax profits), for-profit “universities” (most of the unpaid student debt that the taxpayer is going to be on the hook for comes from student who attend/have attended for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix, but it was the conservatives that fought back attempts to limit abuses by such “schools”).

        And this doesn’t even get into the things that Phil Gramm and others did which basically let Wall St. and hedge funds go wild and set forth in motion the economic meltdown of 2008.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There are many problems neither political party has addressed in addition to those you have named, the most obvious of which was selling out American industry in the 80s and 90s and replacing it with effectively nothing. So what’s the response? Use what leverage was left and max out the Federal credit card in order to prevent all out rioting. Don’t get me wrong I would have done the same in their shoes, but its not a solution its a band aid at best. Since 2008 I have yet to see a solution (bear in mind inflation is not a real solution), so I’m pretty sure there isn’t going to be one short of a new currency in the next four or so years… which will trigger a massive war when dollar holders worldwide take a nice 50-90% haircut. Short of absolute honesty from Washington and coming together as a nation to reign in the huge unsustainable social spending of all kinds, we are doomed.

          With regard to the classic socialist talking point of blame the CEO, I can’t endorse the actions of those cartels but I can say I’d make as much money as I could, while I could, in their shoes and so would you. Most of those business leaders see where things are headed and they will take as much as they can and quietly prepare for an escape just as all of the in-the-know politicians will. You go high enough up the ladder and do you really think these politicians of both parties are not all the same?

      • 0 avatar
        Adamatari

        Inside Looking Out:

        We aren’t talking about the future anymore. I suggest you compare what oil costs now to what it cost 20 years ago. It’s not a “future catastrophe” but a present circumstance.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Almost 50 mpg while passing a Prius on the highway…on the right no less…Priceless!

      Nice and thorough review.

  • avatar

    Nice video Alex. Thank you for taking time to review Ford Fusion. I am thinking about buying Fusion Titanium myself (most of my miles are on the freeway so hybrid as not an option). I am thrilled that finally there is a high quality but affordable European car on US market. Regarding Mazda – does it also use Ford Mondeo platform? My issue with Mazda is origami oriental style inside and out, its precarious position on the market and it is not a European car by any means and usually Mazdas are not as comfortable as Fords. Ford creates the fine balance between performance and comfort typical to German cars. Another example is Buick Regal but I do not like light steering effort and high sitting position. I also do not care about rear room and the worst cars in my book are Toyota Camry and Corolla just to give you an idea what I like. But keep in mind that it is still FWD car so it is not a BMW and front still feels heavy like in other FWD cars, though in Europe it has the reputation of FWD BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Why is the Hybrid not an option since most of your miles are on the Highway? While the improvement over the conventional drivetrain is not as significant vs the city MPG improvement the 10 MPG difference over the next best options is significant. Granted that is based on the EPA numbers and the different vehicles may differ in different ways due to where and how you drive. Now if you “have to have” AWD that is another story.

      • 0 avatar

        I would prefer pure electric car (if price is affordable) or at least plugin hybrid. On freeway I need more power than hybrid normally offers, solid chassis and comfortable cabin. Hybrids also are too heavy and trunk capacity is compromised. Hybrid is a compromise made from gasoline powered car – the layout is not perfect for electrical vehicle. Cars like Prius and Volt are specifically developed as electric cars and that is where the future is. I was actually thinking about leasing Volt for a some time – it is cheap to lease and gas savings (assuming it consumes almost no gas) essentially pays for the lease, it handles better than Prius or Leaf and unlike Leaf there is no range anxiety. It also looks more attractive than Prius or Leaf. But Volt is too small for long commute and interior is not attractive to me. But I see industry moving in the right direction. Over the time more and more cars will be designed specifically as electric cars even if they will have gas engine as a backup.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I can’t say I’ve driven the 2013 Fusion Hybrid but the only valid point you’ve made based on owning a 2012 Fusion Hybrid is the loss of trunk space. There is more than enough power for any situation I’ve cam across due in part to that extra power provided by the Hybrid system and its CVT. The 2013 does do better in the trunk space than the 2012.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    One wonders how Ford could still be at a level where using the trunk lid as a bumper makes it to production. Buyers that need to parallel park will pay the price for their lack of foresight. Park by ear is alive and well.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That’s why insurance rates are so high.

      That’s also the reason I choose to drive cars and trucks with real bumpers on them.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Where do you get new cars with real bumpers? All my cars are pretty vulnerable compared to those of twenty five years ago. At the same time, none of them offer up unprotected sheet-metal like this ridiculous Ford. My cars get chipped paint on their sheet-molding-compound, fiberglass, plastic, or whatever the heck it is ‘bumpers,’ but they don’t get bent and scraped metal begging to start the rust-through process.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee has real bumpers and so does our old 2008 Highlander. They’re covered with plastic but behind the plastic is real steel and shock-absorber mounts.

          My Tundra has real bumpers.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            On the one hand, none of those are cars. On the other, protecting your bumpers with vulnerable plastic defeats the purpose in my book. It makes as much sense as a pressure relief valve on a condom.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I see your point, but transportation is as transportation does.

            Some people choose to drive small, fuel efficient cars with decklids and hoods for bumpers.

            It’s the wave of the future as we can anticipate reducing the weight of a car and we already see it in the ‘disposable’ cars from Hyundai, Kia and Nissan.

            With design increasingly migrating to crush zones, it doesn’t surprise me that decklids and hoods are actually being used as bumpers.

            I’ll try to avoid them, if I can.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            All cars have steel bumper beams behind the plastic. People have a problem with the plastic cover that cracks easily and a minor bump in the parking lot requires replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            @highdesertcat
            “My Tundra has real bumpers.”

            No, unless you have put an ARB or something on it it has damage multipliers masquerading as bumpers. Look at a 25 y/o truck or so for an example of a real, from the factory truck bumper. Not to put them down, as I have a stocker on mine currently, but if you hit something you’ll find it crumples as easy as the hood.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          I put this on my new Accord Sport:

          http://www.amazon.com/BumpShox-2-0-Protection-Ultimate-License/dp/B007FSN2UK

          there’s a larger and uglier:
          http://www.amazon.com/BumpShox-XL-Protection-Ultimate-License/dp/B0041LN1L4

          I find the Fusion Butt to be unusually unfortunate-looking. Who knew you could make a car uglier by design?

          Not that the Accord has much of a bumper either:
          http://www.netcarshow.com/honda/2013-accord/1280×960/wallpaper_52.htm

      • 0 avatar

        It is a sacrifice panel isn’t it?

  • avatar
    Hoser

    If investigation of the Fusion Hybrid reveals that Ford fudged the test, and it doesn’t make the numbers Ford claims on the EPA test, then shame on Ford.

    Otherwise, the EPA test numbers are the ONLY NUMBERS Ford is allowed to advertise BY LAW.

    If you’re disappointed, be disappointed in the EPA.

    16 CFR 259 is a good read.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Cars don’t do well on the EPA test cycle by accident. Set up a car for the real world, and it will do much better in the real world while posting a pretty crummy EPA number. That’s partly because the published figures are reduced by a huge percentage from the raw numbers actually returned on the dyno, and partly because the test has nothing to do with real world use and is based on a flawed model of vehicle energy consumption causes. If Ford really achieve 47 on the EPA city and highways cycle, that means the car really returned something better than 60 mpg during the test. Of course it shouldn’t have trouble hitting 47 mpg when driven carefully, unless they put a great deal of effort into optimizing the car for the no drag, no weight, real gasoline, and glacial acceleration of the EPA test.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        “the no drag, no weight, real gasoline, and glacial acceleration of the EPA test.”
        I used to work for a dynamometer manufacturer. It was 25 years ago but I don’t think the fundamentals have changed. The dyno is calibrated to provide resistance equivalent to the drag and weight of the vehicle being tested. But you are right about the glacial acceleration of the EPA driving cycle.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I had a friend that tried to model the EPA test’s need for raw data to be lowered by 20+% and came up with the inaccuracy being roughly equal to a 2,800 lb car being driven in a vacuum. What’s the real reason for the ‘correction’ factors?

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            The “real” reason is that they couldn’t change the actual test for political CAFE reasons, but they needed to make the advertised numbers more realistic for consumers, so they came up with the correction factor.

            Too bad it has to be this way we have had many years of intentional bad drivability being programmed in to electronics to meet the numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Power6, I understand that the correction factor is all about keeping the sheep pacified, but the question is why are the raw numbers so unrealistic? You can’t drive a steady 60 mph on level ground and get the same number that the EPA sees on their highway dyno test. Even without the accelerations, you will get worse mileage on the highway no matter what you do. Once the 23(?)% correction factor is applied, you’ll probably be able to match or beat the EPA number by a small percentage. That doesn’t explain why their raw data is such a shot in the dark.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1, Hoser. Driving at 68 mph is not part of the EPA highway test, whose average speed is 48 mph, I think.

      Until reviewers attempt to match the EPA test cycles, I’m deaf to complaints about fuel economy.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    ” I find the new Accord elegant in a 1990s Lexus sort of way, but the large green house screams family sedan.”

    Actually what it screams is “we still find visibility important, especially over some silly design trend to make every car look like a tank”.

    I love cars with giant greenhouses….it means I can actually see out of them. Funny you mention the 90s though, because the new Accord is the first glimmer of hope that the company is going back to what made it successful way back when.

    As for the Fusion? I thought the last-gen Mondeo was more handsome all around. This one has some nice elements, but just feels really bulky and bottom heavy. What it needs is…well, more greenhouse!

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      I went for a drive in my old neon coupe yesterday(DD is a PT wagon) and was _astounded_ by the visibility that little old car offers!

      Not that I like it anymore. After driving the PT, it felt like riding in a fishbowl on top of the pavement. Fun as hell in a novel “we might just die” way– yes. Safe feeling? No.

      The only people that want large greenhouses back are the people that never moved on and felt the cosseting embrace of a modern cocoon car. So what if the bumper gets dinged.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        When I get back into an E30, I don’t get nostalgic over the narrow foot-well, the crooked steering column, or the slow steering ratio, but I LOVE being able to see out of the car and determine where its extremities are without effort. It makes the Audi seem like a cave, albeit a very cozy cave. I never for a second worried about my safety in the E30, but then again I’ve completely proven how safe they are.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        I have a modern cocoon car, I want the old fishbowl back.

        So what if you ding a bumper? I don’t care what you can see, you ding my car I’ll ding you.

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          “So what if you ding a bumper? I don’t care what you can see, you ding my car I’ll ding you.”

          You park in public with that attitude and expectation? Forreal?

    • 0 avatar
      Gannet

      One of the main reasons I ended up buying my ’06 LS430 instead of a new Chrysler 300 (or anything else) is the slit windows on new cars. I hate slit windows! If I’m paying for the gas, I want to see the world rolling by, dammit.

  • avatar
    AFX

    1. I still don’t think it looks like an Aston Martin from the front. It looks more like a Shelby Mustang grille grafted onto a Mitsubishi Lancer.

    2. 3600lb hybrid, YIKES !. No wonder it doesn’t get the claimed MPG.

    3. Using the trunklid as the rear bumper is a nifty feature. It’s way better than my previous Ford gripe of that ugly black plastic ring around the trunklid lock they had on previous cars. First time I saw that was on a Focus and I thought the chrome ring fell off the trunk lock cylinder. 2nd car I saw that on I thought “WTF, they actually designed it to look like the lock cylinder was held in place by a plastic grommet puhed into place from inside the trunk ?!”.

    4. I wonder how many charging cycles those lithium batteries are good for, and what the capacity graph would look like after 500 discharge/charge cycles. Tesla doesn’t bother to mention that lithium batteries lose capacity the more you discharge/charge them, and nobody else seems to mention that either. I wonder if Ford is using the same 18650 laptop sized Panasonic batteries that Tesla uses ?.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I wonder how many charging cycles those lithium batteries are good for, and what the capacity graph would look like after 500 discharge/charge cycles. Tesla doesn’t bother to mention that lithium batteries lose capacity the more you discharge/charge them, and nobody else seems to mention that either. ”

      That’s because it is all a con game perpetuated on the driving public; trying to get potential buyers to think that battery cars and hybrids are better than the old-fashioned ICE vehicles, and the wave of the future. They’re not!

      A crock is a crock is a crock no matter how it is disguised, and you have to be a believer to sink your money into these overweight, electrically powered, claustrophobic contraptions.

      In real terms, EVs, PEVS and Hybrids are just a tiny niche market for a very, very small group of like-minded idealists who believe that the future of transportation lies in these cars. That’s not where the future is.

      These things won’t be players until the planet runs out of gas. And that won’t happen for at least a couple hundred of years yet. Gas is plentiful, albeit at a price. But these niche electrics don’t come cheap either. So it’s a trade off.

      I’ll take gasoline power any day.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “I wonder how many charging cycles those lithium batteries are good for, and what the capacity graph would look like after 500 discharge/charge cycles. Tesla doesn’t bother to mention that lithium batteries lose capacity the more you discharge/charge them, and nobody else seems to mention that either. I wonder if Ford is using the same 18650 laptop sized Panasonic batteries that Tesla uses ?.”

      My Leaf came with a document I had to sign, which acknowledges that the battery pack will lose capacity over time. Nobody is trying to hide this, so I would guess Tesla makes this clear to their customers, too. What is debated is how much capacity is lost. Frankly, I think Nissan’s estimates are optimistic, but we’ll see. It depends on many variables, as you know.

      As for the 18650 cells, I think it’s genius that Tesla used them in the Roadster, since they’re highly reliable and ultra-affordable, which is good for a startup. Developing a custom battery is highly expensive and risky. I was surprised, however, that they stuck with them on the Model S. My Leaf uses a custom battery, and I think Ford does too. I believe only Tesla uses commodity cells, but I could be wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      Cars may become as disposable as cell phones. It may be the future. Actually in the past AFAIK cars were restyled every year and replaced every three years. So future may be the well forgotten past. Electric cars might be very cheap in future. By their nature they are very simple in design. All you need are four motors/generators on the wheels and real time operating system controlling motors, current flow, steering and breaks. No hydraulics, no transmission, no water/fuel pumps, no turbo or fuel lines, no emission control. The only expensive stuff in electric cars are batteries and their price may drastically drop in the near future. I think it what will happen and suddenly electric cars become very attractive.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That engine bay frightens me. I can’t imagine what servicing it will cost after the warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That’s why so many people choose to lease, and also a reason for many people to trade-in their cars for a new one before the factory warranty expires on the old one.

      Let the repairs and the expenses be someone else worry. That’s what I’ll be doing — trading every 3 to 5 years.

      And it isn’t just the engine bay that’s scary. Two people I know had problems with the CVT transmissions on Nissan products, and those repair costs were astronomical after the factory warranty expired.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Prius isn’t particularly expensive to maintain despite fact that all of the same stuff is crammed into a smaller engine bay. Toyota can do it, so why can’t Ford?

      You do have to take the Prius’ bumper cover off to have full access to the engine compartment, though, which is annoying. Then good thing is that it’s no harder to take off than a computer case.

      But, then again, if this car isn’t as reliable as a Toyota, the picture might be quite different!

      P.S. The hybrid system is complicated and unfamiliar, but it does provide some implications. The HSD transmission in the porous (and Ford sometimes uses something similar) is basically a fancy differential gear with the gas-motor-generator on one side, and a big electric motor on the other, and an output shaft that goes to the wheels. There’s really nothing mechanical to break in it, compared to a traditional automatic. All of the fancy electrical and control electronics can allow for mechanical simplicity. And mechanical simplicity makes it easier to design long-lasting parts.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Toyota and Ford Hybrid transmissions are based on the planetary transmission as used in conventional torque converter automatics. The difference is that in the Hybrid CVT the engine is connected to the sun gear and one of the motor generators is connected to the ring gear. By changing the speed and direction of the ring gear you get a very simple CVT with only a few moving parts. Before the price of copper skyrocketed it was actually cheaper to make than a conventional OD tranaaxle.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Ford might sell more of these if they could properly stock their dealers with product.

    When I recently took my mother to look for a new car, our local superstore had maybe five Fusions: no SELs, no Titaniums, and no 2.0 fours. She wasn’t impressed with the $30k 1.6 they put her in; after the Optima turbo, it was slow and coarse. While I personally preferred the looks of the Fusion inside and out, I couldn’t blame her for picking a loaded Optima instead.

    (In an ironic twist of our global economy, the high-spec Optimas were made in Georgia while the Fusions were almost exclusively Mexican.)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that currently at least in my area finding a mass market Fusion is pretty hard. The dealers around here seem to have one or maybe two strippo models and a bunch of fully loaded Titaniums.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Alex (or anyone else with a Fusion with LDW and ASC), Ignoring the legality of doing so how long will the vehicle maintain the lane you are in without driver input? When the car starts steering you back into the correct lane what happens to the adaptive speed control, i.e. does it stay on or disengage?
    I ask because here’s what I heard when you talked about the system in the video: “This car can drive it self on the highway”.

  • avatar

    For those who concerned about trunk lid. It is from Motor Trend:

    “Ford worked hard to make it come off as a premium sedan … Take the trunklid sacrifice panel, designed to take rear impact and allow a lower trunk floor height.

    “If you look at the back of a Jaguar XF, which has a similar area, it does not have this panel,” Hamilton says. You’ll see an offset here of about 60mm. Jaguar used to be our sister company. We know they wanted to do this for the XF, and they couldn’t afford to do it.

    “It’s an expensive part of what we do … but we had to do it. The message is, we didn’t cut any costs in the car.””

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    “Our tester ran to 60 in 7.31 seconds, only a hair behind the Camry, 1 second faster than the Optima and 2 seconds ahead of the Passat TDI, but it’s not straight line performance that I’m talking about.”

    I have to call you out on this one. According to Car and Driver, the 0-60 time is 9.1 seconds. This is approx. 2 seconds slower than the Camry Hybrid. Other publications show 0-60 Fusion Hybrid times about the same as Car and Driver.

    Another problem with this review is the comment on the new IIHS test … Accord scored higher than the Fusion on this test. Your comment attempts to hide this detail by pretending the Fusion scored as well as the Accord. Not true.

    Then, there is that little Consumer Reports problem where they could not recommend the new Fusion while the Toyota Camry Hybrid was ranked as the best mid-sized family sedan. The new Accord was ranked as best economy mid-sized sedan. Ford brand was ranked second to last in reliability. This is the real story. Ford is a train wreck.

    While new Ford products are rare in the Boston area, I did spot a new Fusion parked at the mall. The fit and finish of the body panels was terrible. Perhaps you got a perfect vehicle Ford builds for reviews … one that is 2 seconds in 0-60 than Car and Driver?

    TTAC is turning into Detroit propaganda.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      CR has these 0-60 times:

      Fusion Hybrid: 8.3 sec
      Fusion 1.6EB Auto: 8.9 sec
      Fusion 2.0EB Auto: 7.4 sec

      Not inconceivable that the Hybrid could be in the “7′s”, due to the superior torque numbers – but 7.3 is faster than CR got with the bigger turbo engine.

      The Hybrid can be had with optional, fatter 18″ rubber (which could help acceleration off the line), but that’s not mentioned here.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Maybe Derek’s test strip is a little downhill slope to it?

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for sharing. It is an interesting comparo. The thing is reviewers will say “We would personally buy Mazda6 (or Fusion in case of MT and C&D) but for typical buyer they will still recommend Accord or Camry. The crowd just wants bland, smooth and unassuming sedan like Camry, Accord or Altima preferably in silver (“innocuous silver Camry LE”) or in any other shade of gray.

        Accord does nothing particularly good but also does not do anything particularly bad. Just your typical average sedan. Fusion and Mazda6 do not have limousine grade backseat, have too much steering feel and feedback for average buyer to endure, suspension is too firm, visibility is not good enough, too much technology, look too sharp and too stylish and so on. The average buyer wants to be absolutely isolated from the road in bland looking gray sedan. In the German comparo Accord most likely would be the third worst sedan after Camry and Altima but in America priorities are opposite.

        The car without character like Accord always win because the average American car buyer does not want car with character. Average buyer wants Bud/Miller/Corona/Coors, McDonalds/TacoBell and Camry/Accord/Altima. Mazda6′s tombstone will be engraved with “He had too much character and personality and the people of United States did not like it. RIP”.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      And it is the 2013 Honda Accord Sport that prevails over new Mazda6 and Fusion.

      http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1303_midsize_madness_day_five/#ixzz2OH7mzUhX

      As one comment noted, Mazda fans very upset about upset.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    CR also recorded better than EPA figures for the Accord, getting 40 mpg on the hiway and 30 combined. Better than EPA. I believe I read that Honda tested w/o the ECO mode on.

    I achieved 42 mpg in ECO mode driving to and from the Berkshires w/ Michelin IceX3 snows and barely 1500 mi on the clock – Accord Sport 6sp.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    This will be the car of our choice in a few years. Love the looks and it’s flat and 55 where I live. Of course those of you who like to cruise at 70+ go ahead. Here, an elk coming through the windshield at 70 will give your head plenty of room..in the back seat.

  • avatar
    Tifighter

    Good review Alex. It seems that you and Cooley with cnet tend to get the same press car back to back to review, which makes sense as you are both Bay Area based. Your recent review of the Verano Turbo was way more informative then his, even covering the tech, which is supposed to be his gig. Keep up the nice work.

  • avatar
    CarDude215

    I’m over auto journalists referring to the 2006-2012 Fusion as “bland”. Back in 2005, every journalist swore that the Fusion’s looks were the best thing since sliced bread. IMO even in its later years, the last Fusion was one of the better designs in the midsize segment.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    I’ve really tried to see the “beauty” and “sexy” that most claim of the Fusion’s design. It looks like just another generic euro-blob with a big, blunt face and cheap looking rump. The high waistline and cowl only adds to the hefty appearance. The new Mazda6 and Kia Optima are the lookers in this group.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The rear looks to me like an update of the 1949 Ford:
    http://www.woolcockantiqueauto.com/waapimgprdcts/Crestlinerback1.jpg

    with similar high-waisted/bathtub styling from the side.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Alex, I really liked this review. This other Fusion one, not so much…(from Digiday):

    Gawker commenters can be pretty harsh. So it’s not everyday a big brand woos them — and makes them the stars of an ad campaign.

    Ford is doing just that. It is running a video-based campaign to promote the Fusion on Gawker auto site Jalopnik and tech site Gizmodo. “The Fusion Project” is three videos that feature six site commenters who have commented, both positively and negatively, on the Fusion. They were flown to Los Angeles, thinking it was part of Gawker market research, to experience the vehicle. The series is hosted by U.S. Top Gear hosts Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust.

    Ford agency Team Detroit put together the program along with former Gawker ad content boss Ray Wert, who now has a brand content shop. It is complemented with a display ad buy across Gawker properties, which drives people to the videos on the Ford Fusion YouTube page.

  • avatar

    I’m 6’3 and just took a cab version of one these from the airport. How the hell are you saying that the rear seat room is cramped? My first thought was damn this is roomy compared to the previous crop of “midsizers”. Cars keep getting bigger yet reviewers keep on with the same old gripes. Weak way to throw in some criticism for “balance”.

  • avatar
    Tucker C.

    Hi, I am one of the consumer lawyers at Girard Gibbs LLP. We recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of New Mexico, New Hampshire and California owners and lessees alleging that the fuel economy of the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid is approximately 10 MPG lower than the 47 MPG advertised by Ford. If you are interested in sharing your experience with us, feel free to email (ctc@girardgibbs.com) or call (866-981-4800).

    Tucker Cottingham


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