2013 Ford Fusion on NAIAS
The NAIAS in Detroit is now a fact of life. Ford are also aware of this and are there to delight us with a next-generation Ford Fusion (that would be the Mondeo for Europeans later this year). Keeping pace with Ford's innovative spirit, the Fusion boasts an array of efficient gasoline and hybrid drivetrains, an audacious design and cleverness.
It is no secret that currently Ford is grappling with other car makers for the lead position in global markets when it comes to economic vehicles and the Fusion is the latest example of that. Engine lineup consists of two EcoBoost™ four-cylinder power plants: a 1.6 with a best-in-class, non-hybrid economy returning 26 mpg urban and 37 mpg on the highway. For those that desire a bit more grunt there's the EcoBoost l4 2.0 mated to a CVT automatic transmission that can send power trough 19 inch alloys and a dynamic all-wheel-drive which can shift torque distribution towards the back end.
The Hybrid division lures economy minded customers with the Fusion Hybrid - a 2.0 liter Atkinson-cycle engine which is not as big as the previous 2.5 one, but performance hasn't been lost say Ford. In fact, instead of nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium-ion ones are now used which in turn saves weight and produces more power. The end result is a speed up to 62 mph on electricity alone. The Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid however, is the ultimate in efficiency terms with a stunning figure of up to 100 mpg - more efficient than the Volt or Prius. Just like the other big players, Ford is now making use of a stop/start system in its vehicles which really does miracles to fuel-efficiency.
On the outside, the Fusion is not unrecognizable but some visual tweaks do leave an impression: sleeker and smother lines eliminate the "three box design" feel that is commonly present in other mid-sized saloons. The front grille has shrunken and so have the headlights. The wheelbase is longer and the overall height has increased while width is down by 35 mm.
Technological innovation manifests itself within the new multi-link rear suspension, the aerodynamic guards underneath the car which keep the noise down as well. There is also a multitude of handy gizmos that assist newbie drivers and such in every possible aspect - Being vigilant about road lanes will be a thing of the past because of the Fusion's lane-keeping system which monitors the road ahead and alerts if the car is drifting too close to the lanes and it will even dare to adjust the steering wheel by itself if the driver fails to response. That same system also monitors the traffic ahead and keeps the car at distance from the others. Active park assist quite literally takes parking in its own hands by identifying a suitable parallel parking space, taking measures and doing the steering for you. The BLIS system uses sensors on the rear fenders that can scan otherwise blind spots to drivers and thus prevent a lane-changing disaster.
Inside the cabin distraction is brought down to a minimum with systems like SYNC and MyTouch that allow interaction with the multimedia and control system from a distance (e.x. voice activation). The dashboard has retracted nearer to the windscreen and the seats are thinner so that it is even more roomier than the predecessors.