First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid hybrids ford first drives
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click image to enlarge
First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion
Test Drive: 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars

Manufacturer’s website
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Santa Monica, CA – While the amount of advertising hype that you will see about the Hybrid model might lead you to believe that the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid represents a significant portion of Fusion sales, you’d be wrong. The Ford Fusion Hybrid will be a niche player, and only a small part of Fusion sales will be of the hybrid model, about 5 percent if it follows current model splits. And even within Ford’s electrification strategy, the Fusion Hybrid will play second fiddle to the new C-Max, both of which share the same drivetrain. However, that vehicle will be a standalone ‘halo’ hybrid model without a conventionally powered model to overshadow it.

First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid hybrids ford first drives
First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid hybrids ford first drives
First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid hybrids ford first drives
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

And that is exactly where the Fusion Hybrid will remain. In the shadows. In the shadow of the Fusion 1.6L and 2.0L Ecoboost models. In the shadow of the C-Max Hybrid. And in the shadow of the current hybrid sedan leader, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which we had an opportunity to drive back to back with the Fusion Hybrid.

On paper, the Fusion Hybrid actually stacks up quite nicely against the Camry Hybrid. Ford’s Hybrid delivers 188 net hp to the Camry’s 200 hp (and down even from the previous generation Fusion Hybrid’s 191). It carries 1,640 kg (3,615 lb.), saving 36 kg over the 2012 model, but still much heavier than the Camry’s 1,561 kg (3,441 lb.) despite its lightweight Li-ion battery to the Camry’s NiMH. That power deficit and weight gain can be felt on the road, as the Fusion Hybrid struggles to get up to speed, but it is worth it in the measurement that matters most to someone shopping a hybrid. Transport Canada estimates put the Fusion Hybrid at 4.0/4.1 L/100 km city/highway, compared to the Camry Hybrid’s 4.5/4.9.

Either way you’re commuting efficiently, but for my money, I’ll take the Camry’s extra power. However, in the hybrid market efficiency is king, and the Fusion Hybrid also beats the Prius V wagon’s 4.3/4.8. It takes the smaller Prius’ 3.7/4.0 to top the Fusion’s estimates, although we’ll see how that turns out in real-world driving, where in our experience the Toyotas have proven to stay pretty close to our strict Canadian estimates while Fords struggle to achieve even the easier US EPA estimates (5.0/5.0 L/100 km in the case of the Fusion Hybrid).

Anyhow, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is powered by the same powertrain as the C-Max Hybrid, helping Ford achieve cost savings through economies of scale. These savings were enough to allow Ford to make the leap to lightweight lithium-ion batteries for their hybrids (as well as their ‘Energi’ plug-in hybrids and full electric cars). In the Fusion Hybrid, it is a 1.4 kWh Li-ion battery powering the 118-hp, 117 lb-ft electric traction motor. The internal combustion contribution comes from a 2.0L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder that produces its own 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. The combined 188 hp is routed through a CVT to the front wheels and provides modest acceleration.

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