PDA

View Full Version : 2013 Ford Fusion: Passion seizes the family sedan



HSE2
27th January 2013, 04:19 PM
http://ei.marketwatch.com/Multimedia/2013/01/26/Photos/MG/MW-AY659_Ford_F_20130126094547_MG.jpg?uuid=1d272dbc-67c7-11e2-a761-002128040cf6

Out of all Ford’s trout-mouthed wonder cars, the expectations are highest for the Fusion, the company’s freshly redesigned C/D sedan, a segment that in the U.S. represents more than one million annual sales (Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat, etc.). Careers break upon such rocks. Engineers jump off buildings.

Auto makers devote themselves to a family sedan redesign with special zeal because getting it wrong means losing a generation of buyers, as well Ford /quotes/zigman/264304/quotes/nls/f F -1.37% knows. Dearborn has raised the stakes for itself further because the Fusion—built on the CD4 global platform—represents the current best practices of the “One Ford” strategy, an effort to contain costs by building essentially the same vehicle for all global markets. According to Ford, the Fusion has 80% global parts commonality (Europhiles may prefer to think of it as buying four-fifths of a Mondeo. A miscue on the Fusion would reverberate through the product line for years to come.

Good thing it’s so awesome.

It’s received wisdom that an auto maker’s “halo” car—the car that builds the brand—is its flagship sports car, like Chrysler’s Viper or Porsche’s 918 Spyder. But the full measure of a company, I think, is found in these mass-market offerings, the dronish millions ginned up in global assembly halls sadly lacking in lore or romance. The regressive pressures on such products are enormous. Any family sedan that emerges from this process retaining some spark of lust, some allure, is a kind of industrial miracle.

And that brings us back to the Fusion, which I judge to be, now, the best car in the segment: best-looking, best-screwed-together, most likely to appeal to grown-ups. Look, it’s no Maserati—nor, despite eyewitness reports, an Aston Martin—but the Fusion is the rare family car that can ignite any kind of sustained desire. Heavy industry rarely comes with quite so much lyricism and shrewd aesthetic judgment.

Why so great? First of all, plainly, it’s a fine-looking automobile, with an athletic stature, an easy modernity and innate handsomeness that makes the Accord and Sonata seem fey*. The cab-rearward proportions and raked roofline nearly dispense with the deck-lid altogether. With the Fusion and the similarly silhouetted Kia Optima, we are entering an era of well-packaged fastback sedans, which I welcome.

Second, the Fusion is technically ambitious, with a suite of powertrain options from a base 2.5-liter four to a fairly radical plug-in hybrid powertrain (188 system horsepower with a 7.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack). Also in the mix are a six-speed manual transmission (rare in the sedan segment); optional all-wheel drive; a conventional hybrid system with a best-in-class EPA rating of 47 mpg; and a huffy 2.0-liter turbo/direct four with 240 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque. This is very postgraduate sausage making.

Third, the Fusion’s cockpit design finally brings some order, some architectural sobriety to what is becoming an increasingly cluttered and randomized space. The segment’s worst offender is the Honda Accord, whose cockpit presents the driver with disconnected islands of audio, climate and navigation information accessed through a rotary-quadrant controller, steering-wheel switches and (redundantly) a touch screen, with some twist knobs thrown in for good measure. It’s a madhouse.

As compared with the Ford’s cockpit, which organizes most vehicle functions into a sleek, sloped, matte-finish center stack—a “floating panel” with storage space underneath, between the footwells—and rotary controller in the center, below an 8-inch touch screen. Logical and legible, toggle-through animation—conveying mileage, trip, vehicle status and engine RPM—plays out on two LCD screens that flank the central analog speedo. Ford Sync’s touch-screen graphics are still damnably small and easy to miss, but compared with its rivals, the Fusion is a marvel of human-factors engineering.

As a matter of further inquiry: Why, in the age of “Brave” and “Avatar,” are automotive display graphics so dreary, low-res and childish, like the animation on old slot machines? The Fusion’s display graphics are serviceable, sure, but artless. Car makers have to start offering graphical “skins” to a car’s infotainment and readouts. I’d like all my displays in Old Norse.

Now, about that asterisk: Much has been made of the car’s, let’s call it, homage to Aston Martin, especially in the grille design, and I wish I could shed light on the matter. How, exactly, was it decided that Ford Global Design would plagiarize Aston Martin so brazenly, so pointedly? The wind-narrowed headlight assemblies, the high-velocity character lines? I mean, the Fusion goes so far as to duplicate the five strakes of brightwork inside that distinctive pout. That’s cheeky.

Is it simply a matter of there being a finite number of facial geometries? (You’ll note, perhaps, that the Toyota Avalon looks like the latest product from Ford Design.) Was it, as others have suggested, a case of intellectual property and fair play, since Ford at one time owned Aston Martin? A rebuke? That seems unlikely to me.


In any event, the Fusion’s weird Aston Martin-ness was a matter of board-level sign-off, the judgment of designer Chris Hamilton, design chief J Mays and CEO Alan Mulally. I guess we’ll have to wait for the memoirs to get the real story. Meantime, we have a car that looks like a London taxi if Aston Martin built taxis, and that’s not a bad thing.

Here come the numbers: I drove the Fusion Hybrid SE ($27,200 to start) with the luxury package and a long menu of driver-assist systems, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, dynamic cruise control and self-parking ($35,365, as tested). The Fusion Hybrid employs the identical powertrain as Ford’s C-Max Hybrid; and, like the C-Max, the Fusion falls short of its claimed 47 miles per gallon in real-world driving, but not by so much. In the Fusion Hybrid, I managed to achieve an absolute minimum mileage of 38.1 mpg. Most of the time I was in the 40s. I’m obliged to point out that 10 years ago, such fuel economy for a big sedan was science fiction.

The vibe in the Fusion Hybrid is one of abiding integration: the subtle slurring of ratios in the continuously variable transmission, the share-the-load cooperation between electric and gas engine (2.0-liter, 141-hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder), a sort of light, transparent flickering of power sources. There are some very good engine mounts under there somewhere. With a net 188 hp on tap and curb weight around 3,700 pounds, the Fusion Hybrid is quick enough off the line in city traffic but power reserves fall off at highway speeds. Even so, cane it as you may, the Hybrid never gets shouty.

Mightily refined, quiet, serene, with deep cleverness in every corner, the Fusion Hybrid is an agreeable car; however, the Fusion has many more colors to reveal, thanks to the broad range of available powertrains. I’m rather looking forward to driving the car with the hot little turbo engine and six-speed manual. They could send me the all-wheel-drive-package car, while they’re at it.

There can be no greater tribute to some rank-and-file, made-by-the-million family car: I want to drive it again.


http://www.marketwatch.com/story/2013-ford-fusion-passion-seizes-the-family-sedan-2013-01-26

4Vman
27th January 2013, 04:26 PM
I expect the 2014 Falcon to share a very similar front clip..

HSE2
27th January 2013, 04:33 PM
Yeah and to be honest its something I am not sure about. i was asked what I thought of the mondeo at the last AIMs by a Ford employee and the answer I gave was you need to be careful going with oversized grills and narrow headlights.
Also of note is the tech features which many if not all might make it to falcon. That’s been a major headache as many people cite the feature list of less expensive Fords available.
The pleasing aspect regardless of opinion on these points is a strong driving experience that we have come to expect of the blue oval.

4Vman
27th January 2013, 06:49 PM
I spend 10 seconds looking at a 2013 Mazda 6 and then 10 seconds looking at the 2013 Mondeo and FML.......

4Vman
27th January 2013, 06:54 PM
247248

My blood is as blue as it gets but how are Ford going to sell the Mondeo/Fusion against this??!!
I thought it was a Jag when i first saw one.

defective
27th January 2013, 07:40 PM
I reckon the fusion has it all over the mazda in the looks department. Don't rate it at all

Paxton
28th January 2013, 05:06 AM
I reckon the fusion has it all over the mazda in the looks department. Don't rate it at allIt does. Just wait until these two are side by side on the road. The Fusion/Mondeo is the better looking one. The Mazda looks at best, plasticy - they haven't recovered from the previous model.

FTe217
28th January 2013, 09:26 PM
That press pic of the Fusion is not flattering at all - looks puke TBH.
Having seen a few in my travels they look a heaap better but.........

Norm I was impressed with the Mazda at the SMS but agree by Pax's point being its very plastic nothing much imo but to date buyers have been Mazda mad.

TICK4D-TAS
28th January 2013, 10:19 PM
Those Mazda pics make it look good. That pic of the fusion doesn't! It looks like the car body / height / wheel ratio is out of whack.
I hope it looks better in real life.

WASP
29th January 2013, 02:43 PM
I see the new Mazda's daily as I have a dealership close to my home. They are quite handsome for sure, but something for me is not quite right. The rear end is very Hyundai with looks reminding me of an i45. The front end seen in the flesh tends to over accentuate the nose. When you consider Mazda's largest target audience is 25-40 female's I think this move is very questionable of the designers. They have effectively made what was a pretty model more masculine and essentially more bloke oriented. I personally associate the Mazda brand with being a quality Japanese’s car that is designed to appeal to most women, generally speaking of course. The latest 6 doesn’t quite fit that perception for me.

The Fusion on the other hand is attractive from either side of the fence. It’s handsome like the Mazda, but in a more Alpha male kind of way. The front end is very purposeful and better proportioned to appeal to a broader group of buyers. The only area I'm not such a fan of is the side-on and to a less degree, the three quarter profiles of the car. It’s a bit of a brick and tends to sit too high off the ground. Both the Ford and the Mazda need large diameter wheels to make them look at their best.

4Vman
29th January 2013, 03:23 PM
I see the new Mazda's daily as I have a dealership close to my home. They are quite handsome for sure, but something for me is not quite right. The rear end is very Hyundai with looks reminding me of an i45. The front end seen in the flesh tends to over accentuate the nose. When you consider Mazda's largest target audience is 25-40 female's I think this move is very questionable of the designers. They have effectively made what was a pretty model more masculine and essentially more bloke oriented. I personally associate the Mazda brand with being a quality Japanese’s car that is designed to appeal to most women, generally speaking of course. The latest 6 doesn’t quite fit that perception for me.

The Fusion on the other hand is attractive from either side of the fence. It’s handsome like the Mazda, but in a more Alpha male kind of way. The front end is very purposeful and better proportioned to appeal to a broader group of buyers. The only area I'm not such a fan of is the side-on and to a less degree, the three quarter profiles of the car. It’s a bit of a brick and tends to sit too high off the ground. Both the Ford and the Mazda need large diameter wheels to make them look at their best.
My take on the new bolder more masculine design of the 6 its to do exactly what you've pointed out, attract Male consumers....!

Make no mistake, the Mazda 6 is aimed fairly and squarely at the medium/large sedan market with the Aurion squarely in its sights and don't be surprised if there isn't some collateral damage elsewhere such as Audi, VW, Honda and even our RWD offerings....

Falc'man
29th January 2013, 05:09 PM
I agree with Col.

For those who haven't seen the Mondeo in the flesh then you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Paxton
29th January 2013, 05:13 PM
I agree with Col.

For those who haven't seen the Mondeo in the flesh then you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I am still surprised when I see them on the road. I just wish Ford Australia would reconsider calling them Mondeo. Surely, that name is now mud, especially with the current supply problems. Launch the all new car, with an all new model name - Fusion.

Falc'man
29th January 2013, 05:22 PM
I am still surprised when I see them on the road. I just wish Ford Australia would reconsider calling them Mondeo. Surely, that name is now mud, especially with the current supply problems. Launch the all new car, with an all new model name - Fusion.
That's very promising cos I only saw it on the stand at the show. My opinion changed from meh to wow. If it's even better on thr road then I don't think a name change is required.

Paxton
29th January 2013, 05:42 PM
That's very promising cos I only saw it on the stand at the show. My opinion changed from meh to wow. If it's even better on thr road then I don't think a name change is required.

They are a very nice looking car, with a stance on the road that a picture couldn't recreate. If Ford are serious about selling them, I see no reason why Broadmeadows couldn't produce them.

jpd80
31st January 2013, 08:15 PM
I am still surprised when I see them on the road. I just wish Ford Australia would reconsider calling them Mondeo. Surely, that name is now mud, especially with the current supply problems. Launch the all new car, with an all new model name - Fusion.

My feelings exactly Andrew, for as much as some love their Mondeos, a lot of buyers ignore it.
There's a golden opportunity with a change of looks to relaunch and rename it a Ford Fusion
The new car has around 25mm more hip and shoulder room than the current Mondeo..

Paxton
31st January 2013, 08:51 PM
My feelings exactly Andrew, for as much as some love their Mondeos, a lot of buyers ignore it.
There's a golden opportunity with a change of looks to relaunch and rename it a Ford Fusion
The new car has around 25mm more hip and shoulder room than the current Mondeo..

And is absolutely beautiful. Trust me John - when Fusion comes to Australia, if it doesn't sell, there is something wrong with Ford Australia, because the car should sell itself. (Especially if called Fusion).

jpd80
3rd February 2013, 07:54 AM
And is absolutely beautiful. Trust me John - when Fusion comes to Australia, if it doesn't sell, there is something wrong with Ford Australia, because the car should sell itself. (Especially if called Fusion).
Andrew, I would love to see Ford Australia be given production for a 1.6 EB hatchback in 6-speed manual and auto trans.
I think that car's performance and fuel economy (6.8 & 7.2) could unseat Camry as leader of the mid sized car market.
An Ambiente could start at $29,990 drive away and offer fuel economy similar to a diesel or a hybrid without the cost.
and the good part is that an AWD wagon could be added to the mix....

By staying with 1.6 EB, economy is underscored whilst not posing a threat to the Falcon line...

Falc'man
2nd June 2014, 08:55 PM
Fusion Terracotta package.
http://www.mustang6g.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6980&d=1401706166

HSE2
2nd June 2014, 09:45 PM
That does say vinyl door inserts doesn't it?

Franco Cozzo
3rd June 2014, 10:17 PM
Andrew, I would love to see Ford Australia be given production for a 1.6 EB hatchback in 6-speed manual and auto trans.
I think that car's performance and fuel economy (6.8 & 7.2) could unseat Camry as leader of the mid sized car market.
An Ambiente could start at $29,990 drive away and offer fuel economy similar to a diesel or a hybrid without the cost.
and the good part is that an AWD wagon could be added to the mix....

By staying with 1.6 EB, economy is underscored whilst not posing a threat to the Falcon line...

Mondeo already has 2L Ecoboost in our market, but we got the turd version with only 150KW or around there, detuned from the Euro 177KW one.

defective
4th June 2014, 09:30 PM
Mondeo already has 2L Ecoboost in our market, but we got the turd version with only 150KW or around there, detuned from the Euro 177KW one.

So that the mondeo didn't outperform the falcon ecoboost.