2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid: First drive

FIRST DRIVE

I was fortunate enough to be in San Francisco for the Ford Fusion product launch. It might as well have been the Batman premier – the level of anticipation was through the roof. I got to drive the Fusion hybrid, which right now is at the top of its class in fuel economy. So first things first.

Ford Fusion Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America with an EPA-certified 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined fuel economy rating for its hybrid model. Fusion Hybrid tops the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 8 mpg highway and 4 mpg city, and delivers the highest-ever fuel economy numbers in city and highway driving for a midsize sedan.

[one_third]”The Ford Fusion may not be an Aston Martin, but it comes pretty close with a sleek, streamlined design that will earn more than a few double-takes.”[/one_third]

Appearances. The Ford Fusion may not be an Aston Martin, but it comes pretty close with a sleek, streamlined design that will earn more than a few double-takes. The interior is comfy and feels like a second home. If you like to geek out on gadgets and technology, the Fusion is going to be your favorite car. Ever. It actually helps you parallel park! Why didn’t someone come up with this sooner? Here’s how it works: the driver activates the system by pressing a center console button, which activates ultrasonic sensors that measure and identify a feasible parking space; the system then prompts the driver to accept parking assistance. The steering system then takes over and steers the car into the parking space hands-free. The driver still shifts the transmission and operates the gas and brake pedals; a visual and/or audible driver notification advises the driver about the proximity of other cars and objects and provides instructions. While the steering is all done automatically, the driver remains responsible for safe parking and can interrupt the system by grasping the steering wheel.

Another notable technology in the new Fusion is the lane keeping system, which will alert you if you should start falling asleep at the wheel. When the system detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings, the Lane Keeping Alert will notify drivers through a vibration in the steering wheel to correct their course. The Lane Keeping Aid takes this technology even further by providing steering torque to steer back toward the center of the lane. That along with the blind spot indicator are safety features that add a deeper level of security to your daily commute. I did not investigate the voice activated commands too much, but again, it’s another way that the Ford Fusion puts safety first: you can use your hands to focus on driving rather than fiddling with knobs and buttons. I did experience the innovative automatic start and stop system. If you’re waiting at a stoplight for instance, the car will conserve fuel by shutting off. A few friends mentioned this would unnerve them, but the car starts so quickly and easily you hardly notice.

This car is all about fuel efficiency and cutting down emissions and it’s features like the stop and start system that insure it will remain cutting edge in these departments. There’s another feature called the adaptive cruise control, it’s a radar-based system that can monitor the vehicle in front (up to 600 feet) and adjust the speed of the vehicle to keep it at a preset distance behind the lead vehicle, even in most fog and rain conditions. The system measures distance as a function of speed and can monitor the traffic ahead while ignoring stationary objects such as road signs and telephone poles. It also can determine how fast the vehicle is approaching the vehicle ahead. For example, when approaching a lead vehicle at a high rate of speed, the system will activate sooner than when approaching slower.

The Ford Fusion is exciting because it will be sold worldwide and it’s the first midsize sedan to give consumers the choice of gas, hybrid or electric. It’s inspiring to think about a car that has both sex appeal and environmental appeal and to know that this is the vehicle that will replace the Camry and Accord in terms of popularity. The Fusion makes fuel efficiency cool, frankly. Safety, mpg and appearances aside, you may wonder how it drives. Well, I will be the first to tell you, it drives like a dream! The powertrain noise is almost inaudible thanks to interior soundproofing, bringing a rare tranquility to the ride. Overall the Ford Fusion is a groundbreaking and truly exceptional sedan, guaranteed to dominate the midsize markets for years to come.


Photo Credit:  Ford

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