One of the biggest buzz vehicles for the 2013 model year is the all new 2013 Fusion Hybrid from Ford. The original Fusion and its Hybrid variant gave the Ford brand some credibility in the mid-size vehicle market and this new vehicle aims to shoot it to the top. The new Fusion comes at the peak of the popularity of the hybrid or alternative energy vehicles as the ever-increasing battle to beat $4/gallon gas prices wages on. As we hopped behind the wheel and took a drive through the California town of Signal Hill we were surrounded by numerous oil pumps, sucking the ground to feed the appetite of the gas starved LA area , and we wondered if we were sitting within their next big nemesis.
A walk around the new Fusion will give you a good glimpse at the direction the styling department of the Blue Oval brand is heading as the old three bar grill and plain lines are replaced with a almost Aston-esque outline. The car is quite the head turner and even in luxury car-laden California we received a fair bit of stolen glances and giant grins from other drivers at stop lights. The trend in the past was to make the hybrid variation of a normal car stand out frm the crowd with large green hybrid badges or sometimes even large “HYBRID” lettering; the new Fusion doesn’t resort to these obnoxious games. A quick glance around the outside of the car and you will find two hybrid badges on the front doors and then a small badge on the truck to show that this Fusion has something electric hiding underneath.
The interior of the Fusion is what you would expect from a modern Ford and consists of basic shapes and so-so materials that will keep most comfortable but for those seeking something a bit more high-end may want to look elsewhere or opt for a higher trim package. The cloth interior in the Fusion Hybrid was akin to that of the Hyundai Sonata but falls short of interiors like the new Accord. The display screens on the side of the speedometer display show items like the history of fuel economy and information from the Media Player. In short mixed driving we saw about 36 and some change miles per gallon on the Fuel History panel. Shy of the mid-40’s mileage promised but our run was largely spirited city driving and I imagine you would be in the 42-45 range on long highway trips. The new refined chassis was astounding and I have personally felt worse ride quality from some German luxury sedans. Every bump in the round is a non-event and every turn can be handled with confidence that is not often found in an American mid-size sedan.
Power delivery is rather normal for a Hybrid vehicle and simply hums along to urge the car forward and will eventually get out of its own way if you jam on the “go” pedal and churn up the RPM in the gasoline motor. The regenerative braking is a bit mre grabby than some of the more recent hybrid powertrains we have tested but does its job to feed power back to the batteries and slows the car down with almost no use of the mechanical brakes. Overall the 2013 Fusion Hybrid is a great advancement of the last platform and gives the domestic automaker the bet shot at taking the crown from the likes of the Toyota Camry. With an MSRP starting price around $27,000, the Fusion Hybrid is just a hair over the Camry Hyrbid but the more modern look and the advanced chassis in the Ford give the car the edge from our perspective.