Waiting for a Ford compliment from Consumer Reports these days is like waiting for a low-cost new product from Apple. So we weren't really expecting a glowing review of the 2013 Ford Fusion when CR got its hands on the car. The institute's crew bought three different versions of the Fusion (Hybrid, 1.6-liter EcoBoost and a Titanium with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost) to put through its barrage of tests, and while we aren't too surprised by some of the findings, they're still interesting nonetheless.

Mitsubishi i - front three-quarter view, studio imageCR praises the Fusion for its "eye-catching" design and says that the sportier Titanium trim level is the best-handling midsize sedan they've ever tested, but that's about where the good news ends for Ford. The Fusion Hybrid also posted the best-ever fuel economy CR has recorded in a midsize sedan, but the only problem is that their number was 39 miles per gallon combined – far less than Ford's 47 mpg rating for city, highway and combined. As expected, CR also dinged the Fusion for its MyFord Touch, but some of the other gripes about the car include a cramped cabin and poor fit and finish.

Other Ford products tested this time around include the Focus Electric and C-Max Hybrid. Like the Fusion, CR's observed fuel economy of 37 mpg for the C-Max fell well short of Ford's advertised 47-mpg rating, and both cars were criticized for the use of MyFord Touch. CR notes that the Focus Electric's interior is also cramped, with the battery pack taking up a lot of cargo space.

In other news, CR slams the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car rather mercilessly, something that is perhaps less surprising. The institute digs into the low-cost urban runabout for its lack of speed, payload, and chintzy finish, among other things.

You can check out videos about the Fusion Hybrid, Focus Electric and i-MiEV by scrolling below.





Show full PR text
CONSUMER REPORTS FINDS TRIO OF NEW FORD FUSION TRIMLINES STYLISH, FUN TO DRIVE, BUT FLAWED

Electric Car Clash: Ford Focus Electric schools Mitsubishi i-MiEV


New Ford C-Max impresses

YONKERS, NY - Consumer Reports testers found that the redesigned Ford Fusion hits a lot of high notes but some prominent gripes keep it out of the top tier of the independent testing organization's midsized sedan ratings.

Consumer Reports bought and tested three versions of the Fusion: a SE with the popular 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, a SE Hybrid, and a top-level Titanium with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Their engineers found that the Fusion clings to corners, with quick, decisive turn-in response and well-controlled body lean. The steering is ideally weighted, with reassuring road feel. All three versions proved enjoyable, balanced, and predictable at their handling limits. Thanks to slightly sharper handling, the Titanium version is the best-handling midsized sedan Consumer Reports has tested.

The Hybrid's powertrain is very impressive. It's slick and refined and delivers competitive acceleration. Plus, it squeezes out an eye-popping 39 mpg overall - the best fuel economy CR has measured in a midsized sedan. However, that fuel economy is considerably less than the EPA test results of 47 mpg overall, city, and combined.

"All versions of the Fusion provide a composed, civilized ride that's as good as that of some cars costing twice as much. We wish the Fusion's EcoBoost engines better complemented its dynamic abilities," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Ford's pair of EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engines fall short in both acceleration and fuel economy when compared with competitive models such as the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. The 1.6-liter turbocharged four provides decent performance overall but needs to work hard and sounds gruff when revved. The larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four delivers ample power but lacks the creamy smoothness of competing V6s while also being slower and less efficient.

Another gripe of Consumer Reports engineers was the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which handles audio, climate, and communications functions. Optional in mid-trim Fusions and compulsory in high-trim Titanium versions, it's needlessly complicated and finicky to use.

The Fusion's cabin space is a little snug, which compromises the driving position and rear-seat room. The Fusion's sleek form is very eye-catching but it reduces function, cutting into outward visibility. Consumer Reports found its test cars, all bought soon after the Fusion went on sale, have multiple ill-fitting body and trim parts.

"The Fusion's interior looks nice and has high-quality materials but we're surprised at the number of fit-and-finish flaws we've found, especially in our pricey Titanium version," Fisher said. "Hopefully, Ford will sort out these flaws soon."

None of the Fusion versions are currently Recommended by Consumer Reports because they are too new to have sufficient reliability data.

Also included in this month's report are Consumer Reports' test of the Ford Focus Electric and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. They join the previously tested Nissan Leaf as the first widely available all-electric vehicles. The Focus Electric builds on the great handling and refinement of the conventional Focus and adds instant, silent power and the second best fuel efficiency Consumer Reports has recorded the equivalent of 107 mpg (or 3.18 miles per kilowatt-hour). "The Focus Electric proves that electric cars can be both super-efficient and a lot of fun to drive," says Fisher.

But the Focus Electric can't escape some inherent deficiencies, including a cramped rear seat and frustrating MyFord Touch controls. In addition, the large, lithium-ion battery pack consumes much of the modest cargo space.

The smaller i-MiEV squeezes out the equivalent of 111 mpg overall or 3.28 miles per kWh, making it the most energy-efficient car Consumer Reports has tested. But in almost every other way, the i-MiEV lives up to the lowest expectations you might have of an electric car. It's slow, chintzy, cramped, and so far off the mark that testers often felt it was closer to being a glorified golf cart than an actual car. While the Focus Electric costs about $41,000, compared with $33,630 for the i-MiEV, it's definitely the better choice for consumers who want to go gas free. (Both prices are before a $7500 federal tax credit, and other state incentives may apply. There are also inexpensive lease deals for the Focus.)

Neither vehicle is recommended. Both are too new for Consumer Reports to have sufficient reliability data for them. And the i-MiEV scores too low in our tests.

Consumer Reports also tested Ford's C-Max, an appealing hybrid hatchback that packs a lot of room within its compact size. Consumer Reports' measured fuel economy is 37 mpg overall. That's impressive but falls far below the EPA's stated combined city and highway of 47 mpg .

The C-Max's arch-rival is the Toyota Prius V. The C-Max can't match the Prius V's 41-mpg overall fuel economy or generous interior space. But the Ford is quieter and much more enjoyable to drive. Handling is agile, with quick and ideally weighted steering, and it rides very comfortably. Like other Fords, the optional MyFord Touch system is frustrating, but even the standard radio controls are overcomplicated. A plug-in hybrid Energi version is also available. The C-Max rates just below the Mazda5 at the top of Consumer Reports overall ratings for small wagons, but is too new for Consumer Reports to have compiled reliability data to Recommend it.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

The full report and road test results are available at ConsumerReports.org on January 23rd and in the March issue of Consumer Reports. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR's ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars


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  • 145 Comments
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, the slam against the iMiEV is expected. The Mitsubishi i was already a 7 year old car when they converted it into an EV and shipped it over here, not a smart move on Mitsu\'s part and I say that as a huge fan of their brand. Because of its age, it couldn\'t support the cool key fobs or smart phone integration into the status of the cars charge level and such; the car would have had to been redesigned. Plus kei cars just dont work well in the US. Mitsubishi would be wise to make an EV or PHEV version of the upcoming Mirage, that seems like it would be a better candidate for the EV powertrain.
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      Guys: A prospective buyer should study ALL relevant, dependable and serious publications. As I am an auto enthusiast, I read all the mags, C&D first, R&T and MT also, even Automobile mag. I read the comparison tests and especially the LONG TERM (40,000 miles in one year) that more accurate reflect Reliability and MPG. I ALSO read Consumer Reports. I don't subscribe to it, as our local library gets it. AND I Never, ever looked at CR for "Toasters". A toaster is a worthless $10 item that you just throw away if and when it fails. I DO look at CR first for cars, and then for TVs, Laptops etc, About cars: CR does its OWN testing, which is the MOST UNBIASED of any mag, since it buys the cars retail and does NOT accept them as GIFT rentals from the automakers AND does not get AD MONEY from these makers. IF it did, it would be far less HARSH when cars underperforrm. USE your common sense, and you will see this CRYSTAL CLEAR. CR ALSO has owner-reported reliability and satisfaction data. THESE are far from scientific. I believe them only for high volume mid-priced cars, but my expewrience was that with FLAGSHIP $100k luxury sedans, the owners kvetch too damned much, they paid a fortune and want them PERFECT, while those who buy Cobalts or Sebrings are just glad the thing STARTS every morning! In addition, Statistically, the expensive cars above have tiny samples and CR is giulty of Statistical illiterracy, it should not reach unscienfitic conclusions using these tiny samples, they are meaningless.
      Paul Fortin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Puleeese, I\'m no Ford fan but CR wouldn\'t know a good car if it ran them over.
        Finklestein
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paul Fortin
        I agree with this for the most part but they do have some valid points about the interior. Ford cannot market this with sleek "upscale" styling and charge a decent amount of change and have crappy fit and trim on the panels. There is nothing more cheapening in a car than squeaks and rattling plastic from poorly fitted components. That's not to say that Toyota/Honda don't have fit and trim issues but their QC for that sort of thing has a much better track record than Ford. When was the last time they tried to rev an engine in a 4 cylinder Corolla or Civic...talk about raucous...
        Nemebean
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paul Fortin
        To be honest, this is the one market segment where I _do_ find CR relevant. After all, they review all vehicles (including full-size trucks and hardcore off-roaders like the Wrangler) as though they are mid-size people haulers. The stuff CR looks for tends to match up pretty well with what the buyers in this segment want.
      Silvertrine
      • 1 Year Ago
      The fact that CR praises inferior vehicles made by Toyota and attempts to castrate superior vehicles like the Fusion tells you all you need to know about the outfit. If they're not on the take they should be on the take because everything they do gives the appearance of being on the take.
        Snowdog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Silvertrine
        CR isn't complaining about the interior, they are complaining about the engines, which are lagging the class in performance, fuel economy and NVH.
          Luke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Snowdog
          You must be reading a different article than me. I read complaints about space and fit and finish, among other things.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Silvertrine
        How do you substantiate that the Fusion is a "superior" vehicle? It has plenty of problems, as CR points out.
        Donny Hoover
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Silvertrine
        Not to mention when the minute the Honda civic dropped to Toyota-like levels of garbage quality, they pulled it from their recommended list.
      paulwatsondrywall
      • 1 Year Ago
      I bought a tundra .What a joke.I own a co and use our vehicles to make a living.Let me give you all a good peace of advice.If the so called toyota quality is what the tundra is stay clear and buy a ford. Toyota wasn\'t even close in quality I had came accustomed to with our ford trucks. Now after all the recalls toyota has had with rust sudden acc. and horrible gas mileage I can now understand why.I\'ll never buy another toyota anything.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwatsondrywall
        Riiiiiiiight. You never owned a Toyota in your life.
        caddy-v
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwatsondrywall
        Paul, you\'ve echoed word for word everything I\'ve heard from owners of the Tundra. It\'s a joke. One owner I know can\'t keep front brakes on his any more than 10K. It\'s nothing more than a lunchtime punchline. And pay no attention to NightFlight. He wouldn\'t be able to tell the difference between a Smart car and a Kenworth.
      Walt
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you're an Auto Blog, then please - no Consumer Reports stories. If you feel you must post this drivel, please change your name to Home Appliance Blog.
        Donny Hoover
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Walt
        To be fair, some cars have gotten to the point where they're nothing more than transportation appliances ;)
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ah yes, the chorus will now chime that CR is biased against Ford, instead of considering that there might be some legitimate criticism. The reviews are mostly positive. But the negatives are mostly surrounding the engines, which are both slower and deliver worse fuel economy than the class average. "So what are the problems? One is Ford's pair of EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engines that fall short in both acceleration and fuel economy, compared with competitive models. For example, the gas mileage of our SE, equipped with an EcoBoost 1.6-liter four cylinder, is only 25 mpg overall, which is below the 26 mpg average in this class and far below the 30 and 31 mpg we got from our Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, respectively, even with their larger 2.4- and 2.5-liter engines. Moreover, 0-to-60-mph acceleration is about a second slower than many peer models. Similarly, at 22 mpg overall, our Titanium, with its 2.0-liter four cylinder, gets 4 mpg less than the larger 3.5-liter V6s in the Accord and Toyota Camry. And it's a second slower to 60 mph. Another beef is the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which handles audio, climate, and communications functions. Optional in mid-trim Fusions and compulsory in high-trim versions, it's needlessly complicated and finicky to use. Cabin space is a little snug, too, which compromises the driving position and rear-seat room. The Fusion's sleek form reduces function, cutting into outward visibility. And our cars, which we bought soon after the Fusion went on sale, have multiple ill-fitting body and trim parts."
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        Look, you even beat the teenagers to the keyboard! The Ford fanboys started commenting AFTER you!
        Felspawn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        honest question, is CR comparing their real world MPG results of the Ford to Honda and Nissan's EPA ratings or compared to real numbers for those vehicles?
          benzaholic
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Felspawn
          " far below the 30 and 31 mpg we got from our Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, respectively" Note the words "we got from our" in the quote.
          enderstc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Felspawn
          As stated by CR: "... and far below the 30 and 31 mpg we got from our Honda Accord and Nissan Altima ..." The one thing I like about CR is that they tend to report real-world figures. They may not know anything about what makes a car "fun to drive" but they know that 30 mpg in one car they're testing is better than 25 mpg in another car they're testing.
        mikeybyte1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        But I think it would be true to say that CR uses a strict MPG test process. It's not like "hey after a week this was our average" because then it is not scientific. The EPA test process is pretty specific. And I am sure that Ford and others try to optimize their powertrains to ace that test. Why wouldn't they? Study hard and you can score great. For example, I know that CR tests highway mileage at a much higher speed than the EPA. So of course you won't get the EPA rating. But you have a scientific repeatable test to run the cars through. It is just a different test than the EPA. As they say, "your mileage may vary". What I mean by that is CR has a city/highway blend test that they use and therefore cars will not equal the EPA. But everyone has a different style of driving. So someone buying a Chevy Volt is doing it because they know that their driving habits match the Volt powertrain and they will most likely rarely ever use gas because they have a commute that lets them run on electric most of the time. But the CR test negates that because it does their standard test driving it like every other vehicle. So they say "oh highway mileage sucks this car is not great" and misses the purpose and intent.
      mark
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fun but Flawed. What's new? It's a Ford.
        gtv4rudy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mark
        ... and it's 100% American owned and doing very well, that's all.
          gtv4rudy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          @scion.tc... hmm?
          scion_tc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          gtv4rudy, I think my questions is very clear.
          gtv4rudy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          Well, to begin with you are a Toyota fanboy hence your user name and secondly, the Ford Motor Co. is under the control of the Ford family even though it is a global co. like most car companies are.
      That Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Fusion has an "eye catching design"? Yeah, and so does Rosie O'donnell. Cr really is full of it if they believe that.
        ebn.hahn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        SHUT UP You UGLY Trole...
        CJ_313
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        That\'s your opinion, and I think you\'re in the minority on that one.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      CR reviews cars more thoroughly than Autoblog. If you are looking to rent a car for a week, you can use Autoblog reviews. If you are planning to keep a car for a few years, use CR reviews.
        A P
        • 1 Year Ago
        @desinerd1
        Who doesn't? AB is just a web based German car ad. CRs reviews are colored by their political point of view...very left of center. For instance, they have for years "reviewed" health care plans, by comparing them to the "superior" Canadian "singer Payer" model. For those of you who are too dumb to know what that means, it translates to "socialized medicine" with the government controlling all payments to Drs. They are for massive regulation of the car industry....their testing methods are flawed in the sense that they test all cars on the same scale. Kind of like how AB and other rags test trucks and whine how they cant pull 1G on the skid pad. If a car is small, like the Fiesta, they rate it as poor in room inside. They would rate a minivan as excellent in room. Never mind that the Fiesta is not designed to be big like a mini van. So a Fiesta, can NEVER be rated as good as a mini van because it cant score enough points in enough areas to be rated as "acceptable" to them. For people that are supposed to be engineers they are very obtuse and stubborn. If anybody takes car advice from only one source, they are sadly making a mistake.
          graphikzking
          • 1 Year Ago
          @A P
          This is directed to "to your email L" Umm - most European Car makers (besides the powerful Germans) have been either bought out or bankrupt. Jaguar no longer British Land Rover - no longer British Volvo Saab Opel Part of Renault Theres a reason. Also I do business in Canada - most wealthy Canadiens come to the US not only for better - but more importanty - FASTER healthcare. They can afford national healthcare because of many reasons. They have a much smaller population. The population is much less spread out. (Most people live in the cities or close to the major ones). Medical insurance / malpractice insurance is a fraction of what they pay here. Salaries for nurses and doctors are much lower than here. They also have MUCH less people on medicare/medicaid type of assistance I do believe that Consumer Reports, just like ANY other publication has their personal favorites. Hell, if you've had a dozen GREAT meals at a restaurant, then have 1 or 2 bad you are much more likely to keep going. Now if you have average meals a dozen times, then have 2 terrible ones - I highly doubt you would frequent that restaurant again any time soon. In the past, the Focus, Taurus, Escort, Fiesta etc have been terrible cars. It will take them 2 generations before Consumer Reports starts to cut them some slack. Understandably so. There is a reason that Ford changed the name of their small car so many times! Contour, Escort, Fiesta, Focus, I hope they continue to turn things around. They are well on their way I believe! I still think their mileage numbers are greatly exaggerated . My Prius is rated 50 and gets 47winter and53 spring/summer/fall. So for Ford to tought 47, I'd hope that you can actually achieve that without P***y footing it all the time.
          to your email L
          • 1 Year Ago
          @A P
          I'll trust CR (and CU) for a car review any day over the fawning motoring press or slick PR campaigns. And what's so bad about a socialist Canadian style health system they beat the US on many measures and ya know what Europe has it too and guess what corporations still do business there people aren't leaving in droves for the 'free market healthcare' of the US. Stop watching Fox News.
      ebn.hahn
      • 1 Year Ago
      The tile of your article is not an accurate representation of the contents. CR pointed out many positives and one negative, but your title is totally missleading and HATING on FORD as Usual. Autoblog, you need to keep politcs a side and become the sincere auto blog that you claim you are. You are as bad as CR.
        scion_tc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ebn.hahn
        ONE? They complained about the performance of the ecoboost engines. they complained about the mileage. They complained about the visibility. They complained about headroom. They complained about mytouch . . .
        gtv4rudy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ebn.hahn
        I really like the newest Ford Fusion and Focuses and I also own shares in Ford. I've also been looking at the new Fusions to maybe buy one in the spring but noticed it had some assembly flaws around the window trim and uneven and large gaps between body panels. I found this to be disappointing because I like the car. Just look at some rear trunk lids. Fan boys should leave their biases at the door because in some ways CR are right on about this car.
          gtv4rudy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          @DraGula, I just wished Ford had improved on the normally aspirated 2.5 and bumped up the HP and torgue to a more competitve level so It wouldn't need premium fuel and also to reduce maintenance cost of the turbos.
          DraGuLa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          I heard Ford was already working on some fit issues. I recently rode in a Fusion and found it to be roomy. No less roomy than other mid-sizers I've been in lately. Another passenger is about 6'2" and had plenty of leg/headroom in the back seat. The 1.6 is too small for that vehicle IMO. I would only buy it with the 2.0 and even it needs more power IMO. All people worry about these days is mpg and that's how mfg's are going to play to them. Maybe in next year they'll offer something sporty with a more hp/tq.
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      Consumer reports is garbage! This is flawed? But Camrys and Corollas from RECALL Motors aren\'t? Give me a break. I already told you guys a high up exec from TOYOTA is MARRIED to a hugh up exec at CR....DO A STORY ON THAT, or are you too chicken sh1t?
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        I don't think CR even has positions that anyone would consider "high-up exec".
        scion_tc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        Do you really want to bring up "RECALLS" when talking about the Ford ECOBOOM engines and the Fusion. How many recalls already on this car and engine?
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