Fusion’s features focus on technology
By Mark Sherry
The 2013 Ford Fusion

“High-tech” is the first phrase which comes to mind when sliding into a 2013 Ford Fusion.

And the more a person plays with the car, reads and learns about it, the emphasis on technology in the Fusion becomes more and more evident.

Jack McKinch, a salesman at Mike Burkhart Ford, Inc. in Plymouth, said customer profiles of Fusion buyers have been across the board—from young drivers and young families to retired couples, and everyone in between.

That might be because of the Fusion’s reasonable price. I test drove an SE model at Mike Burkart Ford which listed for $26,100. While the SE is not the top of the line in available equipment packages, you wouldn’t know it when you’re behind the wheel.

This particular Fusion had a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine which gets a mileage range of 22 to 34 mpg (26 mpg average), but a hybrid version is available which gets 47 mpg in city driving. By the way, drivers of the hybrid will see leaves and vines on the Fusion’s Smart-Gauge. The higher their mpg, the more lush their vine will be on the screen, giving the driver instant feedback to help improve their driving efficiency.

Regular engine good on gas, too

Even without the hybrid engine, the 2013 Ford Fusion is good on gas thanks to the turbocharged, direct-injection EcoBoost engine. The 1.6L engine has a new feature called Auto Start-Stop, which shuts off engine power when Fusion comes to a complete stop and seamlessly restarts it as the brake pedal is released. That obviously helps to reduce fuel consumption.

Another new feature which helps boost fuel efficiency are the Fusion’s available Active Grille Shutters that adjust to improve aerodynamics. That’s a first-time feature for this reviewer.

The Fusion is all-new for 2013, including a more sleek exterior design highlighted by LED taillamps and available flush-mounted tailpipes which look really cool. The sideview mirrors are designed to minimize drag and wind noise, and in the top-of-the-line Titanium model the sideview mirrors are powered, heated and auto dimming.

But drivers spend more time looking at the interior of their vehicles than the exteriors, and the “cool” factor continues to be high inside the 2013 Fusion.

One of the first things I noticed when starting up the Fusion are the blue-lighted speed and other indicators on the dashboard. The multiple controls on the steering wheel and around the radio console are also hard to miss. Directional buttons on the left side of the steering wheel control the information center in the instrument panel, while the buttons on the right side of the steering wheel control the audio system information panel.

Are you starting to see what I mean about the high-tech features of the Fusion?

Don’t ask me how this works, but the vehicle’s audio system provides active noise cancellation to help cancel road noise, making for a much more quiet ride. And the quiet inside helps Ford SYNC respond to the driver’s voice commands controlling everything from cellphone calls to playing the radio or iPod to getting movie times or turn-by-turn directions.

Fabric made of plastic bottles

The Fusion also uses acoustic underbody shields and sound-absorption material to add to the quiet ride. People also can feel good while sitting in the comfortable seats knowing the Eco-Cloth on those seats are made from about 40 recycled 16-ounce plastic bottles.

When it comes to safety, technology continues to play a huge role in the 2013 Ford Fusion. The Fusion uses radar waves to provide visual and audible feedback. The Lane-Keeping System lets the driver know if he or she is drifting toward a lane marker. A yellow light on the sideview mirror lets you know if there is someone in your blind spot, and a preset gap indicator lets the driver know if they are coming up on someone or something. If the system detects a possible collision, it flashes a warning across the windshield, sounds an alarm, pre-charges the brakes and increases brake-assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness when the driver does brake.

Other available options include a rear-view camera, a keyless entry pad on the driver’s door which lights up as it senses touch, push-button start, the ability to limit top speed if loaning the vehicle to a young driver, and to block calls and text messages while those youngsters are driving. Active park assist also is available which virtually parallel parks Fusion by itself.

Features on the specific Fusion I drove at Mike Burkart Ford included chrome exhaust tips, a 10-way power driver’s seat and a four-way power passenger seat.

All that technology and all those features make the Ford Fusion a lot of car for the money.