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Fran's Fine Ford Fusion

The 2013 Ford Fusion

This week we’re doing this a little different. I got a call a while back from old friend and Riverside resident Fran Bushardt, telling me he’d just ordered a new Ford Fusion, and we decided that when it came in we’d take it for a YAK test drive. Well, as things often go in the real world, there was a long delivery delay, and Fran’s Fusion just arrived a couple of weeks ago.

And as Fran will tell you, it was well worth the wait. He chose the mid-range SE model (above the base S and below the top-of-the-line Titanium), which has a starting price of $23,700 and comes with Sirius/XM radio, keyless-entry keypad, and 10-way power driver’s seat in addition to the regular Fusion list of equipment. Fran also added the SE MyFord Touch Technology package, which includes a rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and Ford’s SYNC® (a voice recognition system for making hands-free calls, and finding music on the hard drive). It all priced out at just over $26,000.

The standard power plant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 175-horsepower engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup is good for an EPA-estimated 22/34 miles per gallon city/highway. If you’re more adventurous, you can upgrade to a 1.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, or even a 2.0-liter EcoBoost rated at 240 horsepower with the automatic tranny. The base engine seems quite adequate for getting around town though. Oh yeah, if you’re willing to part with a bit more dough, the Fusion Hybrid is EPA-rated 47/47. Not too shabby.

The new Fusion is a totally different-looking car from past years. Some say the front end resembles an Aston Martin. Yeah, it’s got the basic grille shape, but let’s not get too carried away here! The rear end is a big improvement also, while Fran’s two-toned Dune (a beige-ish tone) and Black interior nicely set off the Tuxedo Black paint job. There’s a ton of room in the new Fusion, for six-foot driver’s like me, and even taller. Everything the driver needs is well within reach, and making a call using SYNC® was easy (even for me!). Still not a fan of touch-screen audio though. You shouldn’t have to take your eyes off the road to fiddle with the radio.

With a small engine in a car of this size, you wouldn’t expect much performance. But the Fusion belied most four-bangers’ reputation by moving smartly along in both city and highway traffic. Merging onto the I-290 had me forgetting this wasn’t a V-6. The steering was responsive with good road feel, and the brakes made me confident with each press of the pedal.

If this is to be your family chariot, you won’t have to worry much about carrying the normal amount of stuff a that gang of four or five travels with. The trunk is generous (although as Fran pointed out, the opening is a bit on the narrow side), and the 60/40 rear seat folds down for carrying those extra-long loads.

Standard equipment in the new Fusion includes (among other things): four-wheel ABS; three 12-volt powerpoints; tilt/telescoping wheel; LED taillamps; integrated blindspot mirrors in the sideview mirrors; solar-tinted glass; and speed-sensitive wipers. The SE adds a six-speaker sound system, compass, outside temperature display, rear a/c ducts, 17-inch aluminum-painted wheels, and heated outside mirrors. And other stuff, of course, all of which you can view at the link below.

My overall view of the new Fusion is positive. I liked it when I first saw it, and after driving it I’m just as impressed. Fran—thanks for your time!

Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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