"What is that, one of those James Bond cars?" my neighbor asked as I hopped out of an apparent mystery car. "Close, it's the 2013 Ford Fusion," I replied with a smirk.
In my neighbor's defense, he wasn't the only one to make that mistake during my time with Ford's Aston Martin doppelgänger. While with us, the 2013 Ford Fusion turned heads everywhere it went. This is good news for current and prospective owners of the previous generation Fusion, which built a reputation for being a reliable car that keeps its value, but without bowling you over with anything in particular.
So what about the 2013 Ford Fusion? Could its redesigned exterior styling help shake that good-but-dull reputation? We were determined to find out.
Model and PriceIt's not the base model, only sitting one step above, but the SE sits at the bottom of the Fusion lineup. That's not a bad thing though because at only $23,720 to start, the 2013 Ford Fusion SE packs in a lot of technology and other goodies. Our Fusion rolled in at $25,290 and with a few extra boxes checked, it rang out at $26,040. Standard features included 17-inch aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tips, automatic headlights, and leather seats. Optional features included on our 2013 Ford Fusion SE tester included MyFord Touch, a back-up camera, navigation, and Lane Keeping Assist.
Safety and Key FeaturesFor the 2013 model year, the Ford Fusion earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. After being put to the test by the IIHS, the 2013 Ford Fusion surfaced with a rating of "Good," the organization's highest rating, in frontal and side impact as well as roof strength testing, too. It did, however, earn a score of "Acceptable" in the small overlap front test. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration rated the 2013 Ford Fusion with a five-star safety rating overall. Standard safety features included LATCH points, dual stage front and side airbags, an electric parking brake, and Emergency Brake Assist. Luckily we never got anywhere near having to use any of these safety features (except the LATCH points), but we felt safe having them on board.
Family Friendliness and UtilityGetting kids and cargo in and out of the back seats is relatively easy, due in part to the doors swinging wide open. If your precious cargo requires a car seat, the 2013 Ford Fusion has LATCH points that don't require you to be double-jointed to get to. When we placed our car seat tester in the back seat, we were able to do so easily, however, legroom does suffer. In the trunk, the Fusion affords space for enough groceries to feed a family of five for a week, and the kid's stroller with ease. However, the trunk's opening is smaller than you'd anticipate, forcing you to stoop surprisingly far to reach items that have moved toward the rear seatbacks.
Comfort and QualityIt's no secret that majority of the attention garnered by the 2013 Ford Fusion comes from its exterior design. However, Ford didn't forget that majority of your time is spent inside the vehicle. The driver's seat is comfortable, supportive, and ergonomically friendly with all vital controls in arm's reach. The center console stretches down to the bottom of the control tower essentially enveloping the driver. Each surface meets each other evenly and is free of any awkward looking gaps. The door paneling is a little harder than you'd expect nothing appears to be out of place from an aesthetic stand-point. There are soft-touch points in places that it matters like the door armrests but some of the buttons like those for the windows and electric parking brake are a little chintzy.
How it DrivesIf you demand high performance from your vehicle, you should look elsewhere in Ford's stable. If you're in need of a vehicle that can transport a few people comfortably from point A to point B, then the 2013 Ford Fusion is a real good start. Our tester featured a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which is rated at 178 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. While this drivetrain may sound rather small for a vehicle of the Fusion's size, it provided more than enough pep to get around the occasional farm truck on a winding back road. On the highway, the 1.6-liter comes with a handful of confidence as it had little trouble merging or entering the carpool lane. Once on the highway, even on unforgiving surfaces like the concrete that lines California's Interstate 405, the 2013 Ford Fusion quietly sailed along. The Fusion's biggest downfall though, no matter the road surface, is that its suspension was too soft. Anytime it's met with a corner of any varying degree, the soft suspension becomes evident.
SummarySo, is the 2013 Ford Fusion really as good as it looks? After a week-long stay with us, we think it's deserving of the hype. However, it did leave us with a little more to be desired. As is the norm for the segment, the Fusion isn't flashy but it gets the job done and it does so comfortably. Next to the 2013 Honda Accord, the 2013 Ford Fusion is at the top of its class and if you're shopping the mid-size sedan segment, it's tough to overlook the Blue Oval's offering.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $26,040
EPA City: 25 mpg
EPA Highway: 37 mpg
EPA Combined: 31 mpg
Cargo Space: 20 grocery bags
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good (but tight)
Estimated Combined Range: 511.5 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Average (2012 model)
Notebook Quotes"The 2013 Ford Fusion is a beautifully styled midsize sedan, one that feels modern and fresh. MyFord Touch is greatly improved and user friendly, and the Fusion's smooth and quiet ride is sure to please. If you're shopping the segment, the Fusion should be on your short-list of test drives."-Matthew Askari, Associate Editor
"I spent a weekend with the Fusion. It comfortably hauled my family five, and any shortcomings I initially had concerning the trunk were allayed when I fit in a large step ladder, a bucket of baseballs, an oblong-shaped baseball bag and other associated gear, and multiple shopping bags. The Fusion has practicality to match its looks."-Jason Davis, Associate Editor, Photographer
"I want to love the Fusion, but I merely like it a lot. The car is beautiful--even the headrests look cool--but I was disappointed by the hard to use trunk, and the suspension was too soft for a car that looks like an Aston Martin."-Keith Buglewicz, News Director