CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Ford Fusion SE

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]Great looks, nice ride and good handling... For a price.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Mar. 1, 2013

    2013 Ford Fusion SE (Titanium shown) with the 1.6L EcoBoost and 6-speed MT - $25,310 to start including destination and handling while offering a 25/37/29 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating with the stick and 1 less mpg in the city with the 6-speed AT.

    It arrived and then it was gone... If only the winter conditions would have subsided for just a day or two???

    2013 Ford Fusion Specifications

    The 2013 Ford Fusion is available in three trims, the SE, SEL and Titanium. It is also available as a Hybrid plus a 21-mile all-electric range rated plug-in variant called the Fusion Energi.

    Complete specifications, pricing, standard, and optional equipment for the 2013 Fusion can be found within the 2013 Fusion Specifications page.

    2013 Ford Fusion Exterior

    Ford’s ‘kinetic design’ is the centerpiece for the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion.

    Similar to the Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX, the Fusion arrives with the standard Aston Martin’esque front grille trimmed with a chrome bezel and slats. Two pairs of very pronounced hood creases provide a purposeful look. One set beginning at the top outward portion of the A-pillar that rolls off to create a broad front shoulder. The other two deeply creased feature lines create the central hood layer angled slightly towards the center of the nose.

    Thin wraparound projector equipped lenses wraparound the face while deep cutouts hold the lower fogs while a sharp inner blade separating the lower grille from those same cutouts.

    2013 Ford Fusion SE

    Besides the color, this is possibly the best looking Ford ever built!​

    The silhouette has a cab rearward layout and features a chrome trimmed day light opening including the belt-line. The highlight however is an almost zero radius raised character line running horizontal from the top of the front headlight lenses, through the body colored door handles and blends into the rear quarter as it reaches the rear wraparound taillight.

    A lower deeply cut feature line along the lower third of each door provides depth and unique to the Fusion, begins anew in the lower rear quarter. A lower protective covering under the sill should keep road debris damage to a minimum.

    The SE’s standard 17 in. and Titanium 18 in. alloys are icing on the well decorated cake when considering the profile.

    Something we highlighted when we saw the Fusion being displayed as a prototype during last year’s Auto Show Season was the body to roof laser weld and pliable sealer filled seam.


    Besides the Fusion and from memory, I believe only the Passat offers this high strength and very corrosion resistant body joint in the affordable midsize segment.

    To the rear, the Fusion’s short trunk lid is finished off with an aerodynamic lip spoiler. A horizontal seam juts up from the center of the rear lenses and mates at the small Ford badge in the center. The large vertical trunk fascia creates a large low liftover height opening for ease of loading. Two built in reflectors sit beneath a very prominent lower rear sculpted cutout. I am not sure if I like it or not but there are quite a few 3D surfaces providing multiple layers out back.

    All together, the exterior shape provides an excellent wind cheating Coefficient of Drag (Cd) of 0.275.

    2013 Fusion SE Interior Design

    Soft touch upper dash, cloth textured headliner, wood mimic inlays and even dual 4.2” LCD SmartGauge
    with EcoGuide like screens on each side of the large speedometer make the Fusion a standout.​

    Ford's Kinetic design language worked its way inside the Fusion as well. The soft-touch slush-molded upper instrument panel works its way through the upper door trim and is just a start. The lower dash pieces and parts of the door trim are hard plastic and at some angles look out of place with the beautiful crafting that is evident most everywhere else.

    A smooth leather wrapped wheel with minimal inside stitching intrusion plus audio, phone, cruise control and display controls not only present a modern look and feel they are comfortable to hold onto.

    Pewter like surrounds wrap the central HVAC, radio and central display with backup cameras (optional on the SE) controls, vents, door trim and handles. This lavish trim is also evident in the dark reflective surface surrounding the pewter ringed cupholders. Even the Auto Start/Stop and Active Park Assist buttons on the right and electronic parking brake switch on the left are elegantly molded into the trim.

    The central display of the SE equipped with the NAVI system includes an 8 in LCD touchscreen with SYNC and MyFord Touch. The large display is not only high resolution but can be viewed in direct sunlight without washing out. Something few of its competitors can boast.

    Below the large central display is capacitive touch control panel housing the HVAC and radio controls. While capacitive touch controls are one of the latest additions to the modern automobile interior, I have only been in two so equipped that that have acted fast enough to properly displace a control knob or button. The 2013 Fusion is unfortunately not one of those two which sometimes leads to multiple frustrating pushes to make a control work. The below freezing temperatures may have been a detriment so when it warms up, I am looking forward to manipulating the touch controls again to see if there is any difference. You will also have to remove your gloves to operate them.

    The leather wrapped seats had multiple contours and feature upscale white stitching at the seams. Another feature I really like about the latest Ford’s is the driver and passenger 4-way adjustable headrests. Just like the C-MAX, you have to only a height adjustment but an easy to use tilt forward and back adjustment allowing a more relaxed head position than many of its midsize rivals.

    And quiet. Once the 1.6L EcoBoost cacophony has completed, the all-new Fusions noise intrusion settles down to below that of the all-new 13 Accord and 14 Mazda6, both of which I have spent a few hours in over the past 6-weeks.

    All told, someone in a high level position at Ford said enough is enough and a cheap interior is no longer going to occur within Ford’s bread and butter sedans. This decision was a good one too.

    The new Accord, Altima, Camry, Malibu, Mazda6, Optima, Passat and Sonata cannot quite compete with this level of attention to detail.​

    Regarding the large 16.0 cu. ft. volume trunk, it is not necessarily tall but it is more than deep enough to swallow most anything you would normally place into it.

    2013 Fusion Infotainment

    Like the rest of Ford’s high end NAVI equipped vehicles, the Fusion when equipped the full-color 8 in display houses a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface, Navigation system display, Audio display and interior climate control display laid out in four distinct quadrants.

    And like all of them, the icons are still too small to comfortably know you touched a particular option. Pairing with my older Motorola RAZR is not possible as is the case with many modern infotainment solutions from Ford, Honda and Mazda. In other words, it is time for a new phone.

    Sound was clean up to midlevel volumes and is better than most of its competitors. Namely the Sport trimmed Accord I just got out of earlier today.

    SYNC voice commands? Trying to voice command my way to anywhere other than “Home” was frustrating with multiple callouts and the wrong replies.

    2013 Fusion SE with the 1.6L EcoBoost Drivertrain

    The Fusion when equipped with the 1.6L EcoBoost provides a healthy dose of 178 HP and 184 lb-ft. of torque. When I say healthy, it is not a rocket ship nor does it feel sluggish but simply feels good enough. As in an average of 9.47 seconds to 60 after 6 runs, 3 in each direction in mid 20 degree temps. I did throw one run out with some launch wheel slip as the TC system took over reduced power for a fraction of a second and allowed it to continue ramping back up to speed and in a straight line after the slippage was gone.

    An issue arises with the engine note at both idle, during light and hard accelerations. The 1.6L EcoBoosts high pressure injectors are pumping out over 2,000 psi and tick at idle. All DI based engines I have heard do this with some having less external and internal noise than others. The 1.6L is a “ticker”. At soft acceleration, the engine sounds as if it is struggling. Not a lug but just a high load lower RPM working engine. And when WOT; I believe the sound tuners purposely created its throaty growl. Not that I am into this but all three add up to a “noisy” engine when it is working. Saying that, once you have reached a steady state speed and RPMs settle in, the Fusion is like the previous generation hybrid. It is quieter than its competitors. If the Fusion SE is this good, I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the Fusion Hybrid or Fusion Energi with their Active Noise Control hardware.

    This Fusion SE was equipped with Stop/Start and it worked well except during one of my few drives when it was in the low to mid-teens. It would not shut down with a small cross through the Auto-stop icon and that cold temperature was probably an enabler. With no time to read the manual, I cannot add much more than that. Will the system save fuel? Yes but for the $295 option, it is doubtful there will ever be a payback. I suspect it is equipped with a larger AGM than the standard Fusion 12V and 3 to 5-years out when it is time for a new battery it is going to be costly. Hopefully the hardware costs come down some to make the upcharge a bit less. Then again, people order $1,000 wheel upgrades so why should I of all people be non-committal about a system that saves fuel?

    2013 Fusion SE Ride and Handling

    Even allowing for its weight, the Fusion handles well for the little bit of accident avoidance I could perform in a local Mall parking lot after hours. Although with temperatures in the teens and the tires do not stick worth a damn down there, understeer was predictable until all wheels broke loose. During a lane to lane maneuver, the Fusion did not have an over abundance of body roll with the rear correction whip and the progressive EPAS electric power steering provided enough feel to know what was going on outside. Somebody at Ford was doing some high end suspension tuning because it is a confidence inspiring design vs. everything other than the over the top 2014 Mazda6 which is essentially a track car minus track tires built for the road.

    Where the Fusion really stood out is my standard entry curb apron test heading into my parents subdivision. My 7th gen Accord has a solid feel but transmits the noise of the impact through this ½ in curb height with all four wheels rising over it at different times during the 21 to 23 mph left hand turn. The Fusion excelled as it took on this curb apron with noting more than a thump, thump, thump, thump. There were no body gyrations, suspension undulations or even much shock or noise entering the cabin. It not only put my own Accord to shame, it put the 2013 I took over this same curb to shame just last night and an 11 Sonata I took over that a few years back.

    Altogether the Ford suspension tuners know what is going on at the four corners and did a remarkable job with this heavy midsize sedan.

    [fflash=right][/fflash]2013 Ford Fusion Safety

    The 2013 Ford Fusion has been tested on the wicked IIHS small overlap test and it passed with an Acceptable rating. While not quite at the same level as the Good rating from the 2013 Accord, the line changes made to 2013 Fusion models built from January 1 onward have been awarded with an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating. That means it scored a Good (the top rating) in four of the five tests and a minimum of Acceptable in one, the small overlap.

    Watch the video and you will be glad you are in a 2013 Fusion rather than a 2012 or older anything else if you are unfortunately involved in one of these horrific types of accidents.

    On the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) N-CAP tests, the 2013 Fusion achieved overall 5-stars (the top rating) with a perfect frontal crash test rating and 4 of 5 stars on the side crash tests. It also arrives with the very latest active and passive safety features.

    On the active front, Ford’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) includes Anti Lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Curve Control (CC), Torque Vectoring Control (TVC), Traction Control (TC) and Brake Override.

    Passively when the worst occurs, the Fusions standard, high-strength and ultra high strength steel body deforms in such a way to minimize impact forces for occupants. 8 airbags including the driver and passenger front, side and side curtains along with both a driver’s and passenger side knee airbag is standard.

    Post crash the SOS Post-Crash Alert System takes over and unlocks the doors, flashes the hazards and sounds horn after airbag deployment or safety belt pretensioner activation.

    These latest safety systems and the latest high strength steel safety cage are but two items that should make you think about buying used vs. new. Especially after you watch the IIHS Small Overlap Crash Test video.

    2013 Ford Fusion Fuel Economy Results

    Speedway in Gurnee, IL to Ryan Rd - Oak Creek, WI and back – 71.7 miles.

    Initial top off, reset aFCD, on our way, and the return.

    Measured drive results: Initial odometer: 9307.7 miles, Final odometer: 9377.4 miles, Trip A/B: 69.7 miles and aFCD: 44.2 mpg​

    Actual miles per Google maps: 71.7 miles and actual gallons consumed: 1.569 gallons. Actual mpg: 45.7 mpg. Confidence over this short a distance with the capless refueling system that Ford provides is minimal but in the cold temps and strong wind, 40 minutes outside at the pump was about all I could stand. Ford aFCDs are usually pretty accurate so 44.2 – 45.7 is solid but not particularly noteworthy from the 37 mpg highway rated midsize sedan even in below freezing temps.


    With linear interpolation, the Fusion SE crosses over its EPA of 37 mpg at 59.2 mpg. Given the 15 mph direct crosswind and my very conservative temperature compensation of just 10.5% with data taken in 28 to 29 degree temperatures, this is probably 3 + mpg low. With the weeks weather and temperature conditions, it was either snowing hard or the winds were 15 + mph. 2-days prior to the Fusion being driven away, a direct cross wind at 15 mph just prior to another snow storm was about the best condition I could hope for which is not saying much. In other words not good so take this graph as a preliminary indication rather than as fact.

    So will the Fusion with the 1.6L EcoBoost and the 6-speed AT best its rivals? Having just driven the 27/36 mpgUS city/highway rated Accord with the CVT on nearly the same drive loop minus a 10 mile detour to my parent’s home last night and ending up with a calibrated 53.2 mpgUS result while battling 15 to 20 mph headwinds heading out and enjoying 15 to 20 mph tail winds for 2/3 of the trip back (strong side winds for the last 10-miles), I would say no. The 38 mpgUS highway rated 13 Altima still tops the segment on the highway with the Accord with a stick right on its heels and besting it in the city. The 13 Accord with its CVT comes in third with the Fusion sitting above the Malibu but not able to compete with the 13 Accord, 13 Altima or 14 Mazda6. Remember that conditions were pretty bad for both the Fusion and Accord drives and I had no choice but to go given the time constraints of the ever present Press Fleet handlers asking for the manufacturers cars back to move to the next Chicago area journalist. Once things warm up, maybe this may change but right now, it is up to Ford’s Fusion Hybrid to defend its current title of most fuel efficient midsize.

    2013 Ford Fusion conclusions

    From my initial walk around in the drive to my first time behind the wheel, I was impressed with not only the Fusion SEs sharp exterior appearance and interior appointments but of its quiet quality. I mean noticeably quiet as long as you were not expecting additional power from the 1.6L EcoBoost.

    I have some video to upload showing some of the unique features including one in which the map lights are touch capacitive. The interior material quality of this fully loaded SE is reaching well into the mid to high $30K range yet this is a normal everyday standard midsize Ford sedan.

    As described above, I felt the ride and handling were near or at the top of the segment, it was loaded with tech that should please most and it feels a lot more expensive than a standard midsize sedan should.

    The two areas where there was some trepidation was the upfront price of this particular Fusion SE with the 1.6L EcoBoost and 6-speed AT, leather, NAVI and Start-Stop. It listed at just under $31,000 USD. I could have done away with the parallel Park Assist, Start/Stop, BLIS and Lane Keep Assist which would save almost $2K but even $29K for a standard mid-size sedan with Leather and NAVI? This is not the top of the line Titanium but an optioned up SE. The meat of the midsize marketplace is $20 to $27K and when your midgrade midsize breaks the bank, there are a lot of other manufacturers full hybrids, diesels and fully equipped name your mid-size vehicle of choice that can be picked up for a lot less.

    That second fly in the ointment comes down to this Fusion SEs fuel economy. The 25/37 mpgUS city/highway rated 2013 Fusion SE with the 1.6L EcoBoost and 6-speed AT should bury my ancient 21/31 mpgUS city/highway rated 2005 Accord with the 5-speed AT yet in similar conditions, they each provide eerily similar fuel economy?

    I love the 2013 Fusions SEs modern aggressive styling, great interior appearance, material feel, ride, handling and features but there is not enough to want me to trade in my old Accord and live with a 5-year payment with what appears to be no savings at the pump. Hopefully we’ll be able to test the all-new and much less expensive 2013 Fusion SE with the 1.6L and a stick and/or the base SE Hybrid in warmer temps and take care of both of these issues in one fell swoop ;)

    I can say one thing, the Fusion is an attractive midsize despite the Ginger Ale color ;)
  2. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    Gonna have to try a little harder to get the MPG numbers with the 18 inch wheels IMO (oddly enough the only way to get the "Eco Cloth Seats" is to get the 18 inch wheels ((its a package)) :( (((I like the ginger ale color)))
  3. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    I recently drove a 1.6 ecoboost automatic fusion round trip on MA 140. At 35 degrees and 65mph, the car only achieved 29.2 mpg according to the display.
  4. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Not a fan of having to remove gloves to use capacitive touch buttons.
  5. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Me either. Distracting. I don't even like regular touchscreens for that very reason.

    I was disappointed to hear your underwhelming experience with FE, and rather aghast with the pricing as well. I think Ford's a few years away from being able to command a premium in the market, and then only IF their good work continues.

    I am doubly disappointed that it wasn't any better in FE, I found my boss' '06ish Ford Fusion to be good for low-mid 30's at 70mph.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  6. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    You can use the touchscreen or voice, which ever is more convenient (not for all functions but most) the new 1.5L should help the MPG numbers a little
  7. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    re: gloves and capacitive touch screens

    I've heard (seen ads) of gloves compatible with capacitive touch screens...

  8. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    In my limited experience , neither system is reliably easy to operate.

    But apparently the market gobbles this stuff up. <shrugs>
  9. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Maybe people don't like moving their hands? I can turn a dial way faster than I can push a button and say "temperature 22" or something like that.
  10. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    "All told, someone in a high level position at Ford said enough is enough and a cheap interior is no longer going to occur within Ford’s bread and butter sedans. This decision was a good one too."

    Very egalitarian of that executive, then again its a $30k car and adding $100 of soft plastic will bring in the suckers..
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Apparently the market also likes pseudo-analog speedometers even though digital speedometers are much easier to read.
  12. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Bah. I don't like digital gauges. What irks me is that they used to be for old people until Honda started using them...and apparently they are "cool" now.
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Ford Offers Rear Inflatable Safety Belt In 2014 Fusion

    [fimg=right][/fimg]For 2014, Ford will be offering inflatable rear seat belts although I wish all manufacturers would follow GMs lead and provide outward rear side airbags instead?

    The new 2014 Ford Fusion is the only midsize to offer rear inflatable safety belts, adding to the sedan’s suite of available safety and driver-assist technologies. This option is also available in the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.

    Rear inflatable safety belts combine the attributes of safety belts and airbags. The shoulder belt developed for the outboard rear seats contains an airbag. During a crash, sensors determine when the inflatable belt should deploy and signal the belt’s tubular airbag to rapidly inflate with compressed gas.

    Ford introduced inflatable rear safety belts on the 2011 Ford Explorer; along with Fusion, the technology is now also available on Ford Flex and Ford Taurus, and Lincoln MKT and Lincoln MKZ. The technology will also be available in Australia when the new Ford Mondeo arrives in that market in late 2014.

    In everyday use, inflatable belts operate like conventional safety belts, and are compatible with child car seats and boosters. (Always refer to the child car seat or booster seat manufacturer’s instructions for specific information.) During a crash, the inflatable belt helps distribute crash forces across more of a passenger’s torso than a traditional belt – up to five times more. Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger’s chest, and helps control head and neck motion.

    Safety experts acknowledge that the back seat is the safest place for children, and Ford is committed to keeping all vehicle occupants safe. With the caveat of the missing rear passenger side airbags…


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