Suddenly I Want A Midsize Sedan
The 2013 Ford Fusion just made its debut, and it’s dead sexy. You may be thinking you’ve seen it before, but you’re probably thinking of the Ford Evos Concept from last year. This is the production version of that car, and it is set to replace to Fusion and Mondeo as Ford works towards the goal of having a more global lineup. Obviously the Fusion doesn’t have the Evos’ wild doors or Star Trek interior, but the transition from concept to production seems to have been a kind one with most design elements seemingly carried over. Right now the entire model range is powered by a variety four-cylinder configurations.
The standard, non-hybrid model has three available engines to choose from. The base engine is a 2.5-liter NA inline-four with 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The next one up is a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four with 179 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (unofficial estimated MPG 26/37), and the range-topper is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four with 237 hp and 250 lb-ft (unofficial estimated MPG 23/33). All of them are mated to six speed automatic transmissions, but the 1.6-liter EcoBoost is available with a six speed manual. You might have noticed the lack of a V6 option, but this is becoming more common as Kia, Hyundai, and Chevrolet have all either stopped offering V6 options or will be stopping soon. At about 3300 lbs. (more with AWD), the Fusion probably won’t miss the extra cylinders. The gas-powered Fusions are expected to lead their class in fuel economy.
The hybrid uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-four and an electric motor to power the front wheels. It is expected to achieve 47 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway. The 2013 Fusion Hybrid can travel at speeds up to 62 MPH using only electric power. These stats handily beat competition from Toyota’s Camry Hybrid, the Kia Optima Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and are fairly close to the to the Prius’ MPG. Interestingly enough, the Fusion Hybrid is being referred to as “beltless” by Ford, meaning things like the air conditioner compression and water pump are powered by electricity instead of sapping power off of the gas engine.
The third version they presented (or fifth depending on how you’re counting) is the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi. The Energi is essentially a plug-in version of the Hybrid model. While Ford hasn’t released any official numbers, they expect it to achieve up to 100 eMPG. For reference, that’s 8 eMPG more than the Chevy Volt. Ford estimates a 500 mile range (fully charged with a full take of gas).
To me this is the best looking mid-size sedan, taking the top spot away from the Kia Optima. I see some Audi A7 in the lines and some obvious Aston Martin influence up front. The interior is nicely laid out, eschewing trendiness for a more staid and elegant approach. All-in-all it’s a very nicely put together package.
As a car guy, I’m not sure I like the lack of a V6 option. With these looks, I’d want it to have 300+ HP and a rear-biased (or at least 50/50) AWD system. However, as a tech-loving geek, I am absolutely blown away by the Energi model and Ford’s steady march towards our electric future. Right now, Ford is saying the new Fusion is four-cylinder only, but don’t think that means there won’t be some kind of sport model. For starters, Ford has found great success with the Taurus SHO, all of the Mustangs and Raptor. They also have a Focus ST and Fiesta ST coming for 2013. Not having a performance-oriented version of the Fusion would make it the only car in Ford’s lineup without a performance variant, so there will almost certainly be a hotted up Fusion coming soon. I predict that we will see a sport model debut at the LA Auto Show in November with a tuned version of the EcoBoost 2.0, making north of 280 HP with stiffer suspension, a body kit that looks more like the Evos concept and paddle shifters.