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Ford Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 Ford Fusion

There’s no question J Mays and his design team have upped the ante in the mid-size family sedan game with the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion. This car is a looker. From its Aston Martin-esque grille to its sweeping coupe roofline, the Fusion presents itself as an elegant, one-of-a-piece design whose simplicity of line and lack of unnecessary adornment all of a sudden makes the competition look fussy and cluttered.

Being a global vehicle, this Fusion distances itself from the outgoing North American-specific car that shared its platform with a two-generation-old Mazda6.

2013 Ford Fusion SE
2013 Ford Fusion SE
2013 Ford Fusion SE. Click image to enlarge

The 2013 Fusion is available with a variety of powerplants-a base 2.5L naturally aspirated four, a 1.6L Ecoboost (Ford-speak for turbo), a 2.0L Ecoboost, and a hybrid drivetrain that uses a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with battery and electric motor. You can specify a six-speed manual with the SE 1.6L Ecoboost-otherwise it’s a six-speed auto for all models except the hybrid, which uses a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive is available with the 2.0L SE and Titanium models.

Prices range from the base $22,499 S to the premium Titanium Hybrid at $35,499. So as you can see, there’s plenty of choice when configuring a 2013 Fusion.

Today we’re looking at a front-drive Fusion SE ($24,499) fitted the $3,000 Equipment Group 205A that switches the 175-hp naturally aspirated 2.5L four to a 178-hp 1.6L Ecoboost, and adds such goodies as heated leather front buckets (10-way driver) with memory, auto-dimming mirrors, upgraded interior and exterior trim, 6-speaker audio with Sirius, fog lights, block heater plus leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob.

It only took a bit of seat time in this Deep Impact Blue tester to discover its athletic appearance is no empty promise. The dynamic signature of one of Ford’s other world cars, the Focus, carries forward here. The Fusion has a tight, responsive, and connected feel. The structure is solid and substantial, and the nicely weighted steering (better than the Focus) directs the car with accuracy and immediacy.

And good news-its sporty demeanour does not come at the expense of ride quality. Yes, it’s firm, but never harsh.

We give the Fusion’s front-drive chassis full marks.

2013 Ford Fusion SE
2013 Ford Fusion SE. Click image to enlarge

In the ongoing quest for improved fuel economy, Ford has put most of it eggs in the Ecoboost basket. The strategy here is the application of small displacement direct-injected turbo engines like we’re seeing with BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Mercedes, GM, Hyundai… and the list goes on.

This 1.6L generates 173 hp and 184 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm and, like many of its brethren (BMW and VW come to mind), it sounds like a blender full of walnuts when cold. The Ecoboost provides adequate urge but it needs to work hard if you have a heavy foot, and since the six-speed is programmed to keep the revs low for fuel economy purposes, calling for some giddy-up has the tranny kicking down a cog or two. Factor in a bit of turbo lag and you’re waiting a few beats before anything happens.

I’ve noticed this with Ecoboost-powered Ford Escapes, too.

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