This review originally appeared in the January 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg
Going out to the car later, after dark, I hit the key fob and two headlights winked back at me … two lights attached to a grille that looked similar to what you’d see on an Aston Martin. Now, I’m confused. I hit the fob again. Same thing.
Is that my Fusion? No way!
Is that the front end of the very practical car with previous styling cues that all but shouted VANILLA? Yes, it is, and that’s just one bonus of the thoroughly reworked for 2013 Fusion.
Where to start? There are powertrain options galore, including gas-fueled, hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Fuel mileage ratings are delightfully lofty. Technology options are now at a luxury level, including adaptive cruise control, parking assist and a “Lane Keeping System,” that last one a good one for folks whose attention lags at the wheel.
The Fusion, which in previous years meant “the basics” in my brain, is now a feature-loaded monster. And, oh yes, it’s fun to drive.
My tester had the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine with nearly 180 horses popping from the four-cylinder core. That was more than enough to handle the road chores I dished out, and yet, fuel mileage was in the 26 miles per gallon range in city traffic, and around 37 on the open road.
Steering was just-right firm. Handling was smooth and agile. Braking was instant and substantial. The Fusion felt firm from the cockpit, not light and subject to being blown around by the wind.
Interior features on my tester – starting at $23,700 – were plentiful. Standard stuff included a 10-way power driver’s seat with memory function, a SYNC system and a most-helpful message center. My only gripe was with some of the climate-control buttons, which were sometimes stubborn and took two or three pushes to respond.
Otherwise, this Fusion stacks up as the Make-over Car of the Year in my book. And I went into this ride being perplexed about why other auto reviewers were raving about the staid-by-reputation Fusion.
Now you know. Looking for an affordable, loaded, new sedan with a gutsy engine and good gas mileage? Sound like a good first car for the kids? Think Fusion.