2013 Ford Fusion review

In a segment that includes lookers like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Mazda6, the Ford’s chiseled lines and sleek profile still stand out.
In a segment that includes lookers like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Mazda6, the Ford’s chiseled lines and sleek profile still stand out.
In a segment that includes lookers like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Mazda6, the Ford’s chiseled lines and sleek profile still stand out.

Highs

  • An ordinary car with extraordinary styling
  • Frugal yet powerful engines
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Fun to drive
  • A unique choice in a sea of Hondas and Toyotas

Lows

  • Chintzy interior
  • Too many buttons
  • Optional MyFord Touch can cause headaches
  • Gets expensive very quickly with options

DT Editors' Rating

Ford’s latest salvo in the war against the annoyingly-dominant Honda Accord and Toyota Camry has been turning heads, and it’s easy to see why with just one look. Is the Fusion more than a pretty face, though? To find out, we drove it in a very unorthodox environment: a frozen test track in rural Michigan. Sure, the Fusion can tackle the morning commute, but will it lose its cool on ice?

That face

The Fusion really steps ahead of the pack with its styling. In a segment that includes lookers like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Mazda6, the Ford’s chiseled lines and sleek profile still stand out. The 2013 Ford Fusion is so good looking, buying one could almost be considered a public service because it would give everyone else something nice to look at while they’re stuck in traffic.

Cockpit conundrum

Unfortunately, that peerless design fades away when you open the door. The interior is a mix of different plastics, including tacky wood-like material and a glossy black material that looks like it will scratch and smudge easily.

The center stack’s touchscreen is enclosed by ridges like on some other Ford models, which does improve usability. However, between the touchscreen, center stack, buttons, steering wheel buttons, and the multifunction gauge display, there’s a lot for the driver to take in.

The (optional) MyFord Touch infotainment system has probably received as much criticism as the Fusion’s styling has received praise. It looks like that will remain the case for the time being. While Ford has tried to fix the system’s lag with software tweaks, the system still behaves erratically, and remains sluggish when rifling through various menus. 

Infotainment aside, the seats were comfortable, but also do a good job of holding the driver in place during cornering. It was easy to find a good driving position, and the rear seats were also surprisingly roomy.

2013 Ford Fusion dashboardUnder the skin

We drove a front-wheel drive Fusion SE with the 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, and an all-wheel drive Fusion Titanium with the 2,0-liter EcoBoost. The 1.6 produces 173 horsepower (178 hp on premium) and 184 pound-feet of torque; the 2.0 bumps those figures to 231 hp (240 hp on premium) and 270 lb-ft. Both cars had six-speed automatic transmissions and wore all-season tires.

While the Fusion’s natural habitat is a Starbuck’s parking lot, it also handled quite well on the snow and ice in Michigan. We were able to hold a stable drift in the all-wheel drive car around a snow-covered circular track, and it was very predictable and controllable on the short handling courses we tried.

Even the front-wheel drive SE was able to maintain its composure. It was able to reach the same speeds we got out of the all-wheel drive car, albeit with much more effort and for shorter periods of time.

Both Fusions were very lively, with quick steering and engines that were eager to rev, allowing us to make the most of what limited traction we had. With Ford’s electronic all-wheel drive and torque vectoring systems at work, we felt pretty comfortable, even while sideways. If you want to drive through a nuclear winter in style, this is the car for you.

MPG

Ford relies on its turbocharged EcoBoost engines to do the job of a naturally aspirated V6, with a resulting fuel economy payoff. The 1.6-liter/six-speed automatic/front-wheel drive combination is rated at 24 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined by the EPA. The 2.0-liter engine with an automatic and all-wheel drive is rated at 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined.

Ford also offers a Fusion Hybrid and a plug-in Fusion Energi. Both offer significant fuel economy gains, but they also command significant premiums over conventional Fusion models.

2013 Ford Fusion and Explorer rear three quarterPrice

With so many choices, it’s not surprising that the Fusion covers a wide price range. A starting price of $20,995 buys a base Fusion S with a 2.5-liter Duratec four; upgrading to an EcoBoost SE like our test car will raise that number to $25,060 before options. The all-wheel drive Titanium starts at $32,745. There’s more: a loaded plug-in Fusion Energi Titanium starts at $39,495.

Conclusion

Every time an American manufacturer takes on the lauded Camry and Accord, it makes for an interesting story, mostly because it never seems to work out. With the 2013 Fusion, Ford tried to hit the Japanese titans where they are weakest by concentrating on style, handling, and tech.

The Fusion’s gorgeous exterior is hampered by its underwhelming interior and complex infotainment interface. Hardcore techies might find that enticing, but other buyers may not want to deal with the tech bells and whistles.

However, as a car, the Fusion works. It’s fuel efficient, comfortable, and surprisingly nimble on snow and ice. With such a good base to work off of, let’s hope Ford can fix the ergonomic issues and turn the Fusion into a midsize sedan that is more than just a pretty face.

Highs

  • An ordinary car with extraordinary styling
  • Frugal yet powerful engines
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Fun to drive
  •  A unique choice in a sea of Hondas and Toyotas

Lows

  • Chintzy interior
  • Too many buttons
  • Optional MyFord Touch can cause headaches
  • Gets expensive very quickly with options
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.