Reporting Vinnie Richichi
Quite simply put, the Ford Fusion might be the best car out there in the mid-size non-luxury category.
It is a bold statement to open up a review with, but the reality is while other cars that compete with the Fusion do some things well, Ford has built the most complete car in the class. Then to top it off they have given you a variety of drivetrains to choose from hybrid to plug in to EcoBoost.
From the outside, the Fusion is impressive, marrying styling cues from the most attractive vehicles in its class into a cohesive, flowing shape that looks athletic. The front gets the Aston Martin treatment, while the rear has a slight Audi flavor to it. Sewn all together, the angular shapes and lines along with the high belt line give the Fusion a feeling of motion even when it is parked.
Inside the door openings provide plenty of space to get in and out, although the rear headroom suffers for taller people just a bit. Seats are very comfortable with good support and great adjust-ability. The dashboard puts the information center in good view of the driver with controls on the steering wheel. There is a learning curve for the info center, as well as the SYNC system which controls navigation, music, heater, ac and phone. They all do become a lot easier to figure out the more time you spend in the Fusion.
The model I drove had the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which was matched to the six speed automatic transmission. This engine will be replaced for 2014 models by a more fuel efficient 1.5-liter turbo 4 which should see increased power and better gas mileage. The Ford EcoBoost engine pretty much means that smaller is better. Four cylinders do the job of six, weighing less and providing 178 hp and 184 foot-pounds of torque at a relatively low 2500 RPM. It is plenty quick and with paddle shifters giving you control of the gearing quite responsive. I was also struck with how quiet and vibration free the engine was. To be a bit picky though, the start stop was a bit disconcerting seeming like it took longer to get going than it should have.
Out on the road the Fusion is a pretty tight little ride. While it has family car steering, it still gives you a decent feel for the road and a sense that you control the cars destiny. The athletics showed up in the ride as well — not too stiff, but taut enough to keep you engaged. Through the curves the Fusion shone keeping its composure even pushed hard into a back road twist.
Sticker price on the 2013 Ford Fusion Eco Boost I drove, $31,460 pretty well loaded. Gas mileage was advertised at 24 City, 37 Highway, 28 mpg combined. My figure came out to be 28.9 combined. The Fusion is a Top Safety Pick Award winner and is loaded with the latest accident avoidance technology.
After spending a week in the Fusion I put it right up there with anything else in its class. This is a family car for people who still love cars, who like to drive, to feel the road, to be connected with their vehicle. The Fusion brings back the pleasure of driving a family sedan with a Blue Oval on the front.
For more information: http://www.ford.com/cars/fusion/?hptid=bb-dflt-beach-fusion
Follow Vinnie @nyvinnie
Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.