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

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

The latest Ford Fusion can count itself among the best-looking family sedans on the road today – and at a price that doesn’t require severing one’s arm when it comes time to pony up the cash.

Not long ago, the level of daring design detail and energy you see in the Fusion was reserved for concept cars and exotics in posters on bedroom walls. Today, and for not all that much money, you get a handsome sedan layered thickly with thoughtful little touches that reward closer inspection.

The low-profile LED brake light molded into the top of the rear window, the dual exhaust outlets and reflectors molded into the bumper, and the sharp drop-off of the front-end at the leading edge of the hood are just some examples.

2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD
2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD. Click image to enlarge

None of this stuff begs for attention, and it’s all attached to a car that looks cohesive and tasteful – not like an overdone parade float. Largely, these elements are the sort that owners will appreciate privately, possibly when inspecting their new purchase in the driveway after a summer afternoon wash.

The details carry on inside. My SE AWD tester saw touch-activated pads and screens and sensors replace the usual slew of dials and buttons and switches you’ll find in the Camry, Accord or Altima. There are three digital display screens, all of which do a neato-looking animation when you fire up the engine. Even the dome lights activate with a single, proximity-detecting tap of your fingertip. It’s all modern, and even a little futuristic inside, as a result.

The cabin, additionally, is trimmed with more of that quality soft-touch dash-plastic than anything else in the price range, if that’s your thing – which it probably is. Tasteful use of premium-feeling switches and aluminum trim, too.

2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD
2013 Ford Fusion SE AWD. Click image to enlarge

In terms of creating a unique atmosphere that’s big on functionality and feeling pricier than it is, I’m calling this my new favourite affordable family sedan cabin. With all the voice command and touchscreen interfaces, nobody has to know you’re secretly pretending to pilot the Starship Enterprise.

Don’t miss advanced functionality enabled by Ford Sync, which lets you voice-command virtually anything you’d like, find your way to places, and even listen to text messages on the move. Most of the time, it works seamlessly and proves slick and intuitive and easy to use. Sometimes (twice on my two-week test), it’s laggy, disagreeable, and even fails to do anything as it ‘updates’ itself – which displays a loading progress bar on the screen and nothing else.

The tester was motivated by the up-level two-litre turbo four-cylinder that Ford will sell you here in place of a V6. This so-called ‘Ecoboost’ mill makes 237 hp in this application. Variable cam timing, direct injection and a six-speed automatic help bolster performance and keep gas chugging to a minimum.

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

Cruising a bit north of 110 km/h, the engine spins away at 2,300 RPM with the turbocharger offline and the low-end torque helping keep the six-speed automatic in sixth gear, even up steep hills.

Turbocharged and direct injection engines are hardly revolutionary these days, but mileage of 11.5 L/100 km on my watch was well within acceptable limits. That’s about 2 L/100 km thirstier overall than a four-cylinder, non-turbo Malibu or Accord, but with plenty more available snap. It’s also 2 L/100 km thirstier than Nissan’s V6-powered Altima 3.5 SL under my watch, which had plenty of its own go. Take that as you will. Also, note that lighter-footed drivers than me, which will be the majority, will achieve better figures.

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