Vital Stats

Engine:
2.0L I4 / 1.4 kWh Li-Ion
Power:
188 HP (net)
Transmission:
CVT
Drivetrain:
FWD
Curb Weight:
3,615 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
12 CU-FT
MPG:
47 MPG City / 47 MPG HWY
Base Price:
$27,200
Your Mileage May Vary



As difficult as it is to write this, I was actually excited about the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. With the beautiful looks of the newest midsize fighter from Ford and a fuel economy estimate capable of shaming even the stalwart Camry Hybrid, the battery-augmented four-door seemed like a recipe for unabashed success. But appearances love nothing more than swapping our boundless enthusiasm for cold platters of disappointment. The 2013 Fusion Hybrid gets hobbled right out of the gate with a lofty price tag, and real-world driving keeps the sedan from even approaching those EPA figures.

With so many excellent midsize hybrids on the market, is there any reason to consider the newest Fusion Hybrid? Are sharp aesthetics, a well-executed interior and capable driving dynamics enough to overcome the machine's shortfalls? Not from where I'm standing.
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid side view2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid front view2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid rear view

The Fusion Hybrid is content to simply offer buyers the same attractive lines as the standard model.

Even in the I-Bought-The-Hybrid green of this tester, the 2013 Fusion looks great. Yes, the nose isn't so much derivative of an Aston Martin as it is a carbon copy of the former Ford property, but as the old saying goes, if you're going to steal from someone, steal from the best. Designers have integrated the look nicely into the four-door shape. Up front, the floating grille slats, dynamic headlamps and sculpted front fascia all give the Fusion more poise than we're accustomed to seeing in the family sedan segment, let alone the hybrid contingent.

I have to laud Ford for exercising some restraint when it came time to pen the Fusion Hybrid. There are no egregious stylistic gimmicks on hand to differentiate this car from its non-battery-powered siblings aside from some unique wheels and a few badges. While competitors like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid turned to wild lighting and drastically tweaked valances to announce its drivetrain, the Fusion Hybrid is content to simply offer buyers the same attractive lines as the standard model.

Around back, that translates into a set of wrapped LED taillamps that follow the complex curve of the sedan's trunk lid. Designers also worked in a hexagonal license plate inset, thereby repeating the theme established by the vehicle's grille.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid headlight2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid grille2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid wheel2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid taillight

Indoors, the 2013 Fusion Hybrid offers up an attractive cabin with nicer materials than I expected. A leather-wrapped steering wheel greets the driver, complete with the typical passel of buttons indicative of Ford products these days. All told, there are over 22 individual buttons on this tiller. Throw any more at the wheel and it'd be like driving around with a full Qwerty at my fingertips. Likewise, the cabin looks and feels plenty familiar, complete with a nice console-mounted shifter, touch-capacitive climate controls and a large touchscreen for the MyFord Touch interface.

With 12 cubic feet of cargo space, the Fusion Hybrid falls 1.1 cubic feet behind the Camry Hybrid and Sonata Hybrid.

The gauge cluster is clean with an attractive, center-up speedometer and two small user-customizable displays to each side. While the left screen handles a variety of vehicle data, the right can be configured to display information from MyFord Touch. As with other Ford products, song titles, navigation instructions and the like are but a glance away. Meanwhile, handsome and comfortable leather seats are all part of the party thanks to the $2,000 Luxury Package. The extra coin nets buyers those heated 10-way power adjustable buckets as well as auto dimming mirrors and a leather-clad steering wheel and shift knob.

There's ample room for passengers all the way around with plenty of space for legs and heads, but with 12 cubic feet of cargo space, the Fusion Hybrid falls 1.1 cubic feet behind both the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. That's a decent chunk of volume, but likely not enough to sway a buyer out of the Ford and into a competitor.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid interior2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid front seats2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid rear seats2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid instrument panel

The drivetrain never feels taxed despite lugging around 3,615 pounds worth of sedan.

Under the hood, the Fusion Hybrid features an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque paired with a 118-horsepower AC electric motor. A 35 kW, 1.4 kWh air-cooled lithium-ion battery serves up electricity. Combined, the electric motor and internal combustion engine can work together to deliver a maximum of 188 hp, and the drivetrain never feels taxed despite lugging around 3,615 pounds worth of sedan. Power gets put to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission, and while I typically recoil in either genuine horror from any gearbox with bands instead of gears CVT, the transmission does its job just fine. Surges in engine RPM, vibration and noise are all kept to a minimum.

It should come as no shock to hear the Fusion Hybrid makes use of an electronic power steering system, though Ford has put in the hours to make sure this bit of electromechanical wizardry doesn't feel as over-assisted or numb as the kit found on the Camry Hybrid. Engineers have also reworked the vehicle's regenerative brakes, and as a result, the hardware can now recapture up to 95 percent of the energy that would otherwise be wasted when the four-door scrubs speed. While the stoppers aren't as progressive as traditional brakes, they are better than some regens I've had my feet on in the past.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid engine

Under normal use, the Fusion Hybrid managed closer to 37 mpg.

Get underway and the 2013 Fusion Hybrid delivers a competitive drive. The electric motor provides quiet, confident acceleration until the four-cylinder engine takes over, and the handoff between the two is smooth enough that noticing the transition takes some focus. The cabin is nicely quiet even at highway speeds, and the chassis feels solid enough, but buyers who wind up laying down their cash for a midsize hybrid primarily care about something else altogether: fuel economy. The EPA says the sedan should return 47 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving, and thus 47 mpg combined.

That's a big number, and it bests the Camry Hybrid by a whopping 8 mpg city and 4 mpg highway, or at least it would if I were able to get the Fusion anywhere near those estimates. During my time with the Fusion Hybrid, the best I was able to accomplish was just over 40 mpg, and this isn't a case of me driving with the soles of my boots buried in the carpet. After a few days of disappointing returns, I began actively courting better fuel economy with lower speeds and gentler throttle inputs to click past the big four-oh. But that's not how most owners are going to drive this car. Under normal use, the Fusion Hybrid managed closer to 37 mpg.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid rear 3/4 view

Technically, you can scoot out the door with a Fusion Hybrid for $27,200, plus a $795 destination fee.

It doesn't take a math degree to come up with a 10-mpg difference between what we observed and what Ford says the hybrid should yield. Had I laid down my family's cash for the car only to see fuel economy short of the advertised estimates by some 22 percent, my local dealer would have a fun time extracting the entirety of this car from the dark recesses of his body.

Speaking of dollar bills, our tester tipped the scales at $34,770 thanks to additions like the Luxury Package, SE Technology Package and electronic bits like navigation, adaptive cruise control and a Driver Assist Package. Technically, you can scoot out the door with a Fusion Hybrid for $27,200, plus a $795 destination fee. Even so, that puts the car north of its competitors by a decent spread. The Camry Hybrid will hit your wallet for $26,140 plus destination while the Sonata Hybrid comes in at $25,650. I've never had any trouble hitting the EPA figures for those models, either – even if they are lower.

While the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a gorgeous creation outside, the mechanicals can't back up the company's big fuel economy claims. Combine that fact with a price tag that's north of the competition and there's little reason to wind up with one of these in your driveway.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 212 Comments
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      In at least one other Autoblog review, the author resorted to hypermiling to find out what kind of mileage the car could do. I believe that was a diesel VW car. It would be interesting to see what the Fusion Hybrid is truly capable of, even with unrealistic hypermiling. If nothing else, it would help avoid the appearance of favoritism for VW and/or diesel vehicles.
        montoym
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        Did you miss this part? - "After a few days of disappointing returns, I began actively courting better fuel economy with lower speeds and gentler throttle inputs to click past the big four-oh. But that's not how most owners are going to drive this car. Under normal use, the Fusion Hybrid managed closer to 37 mpg." -
      Zach Bowman
      • 1 Year Ago
      The "bands" comment has been removed. My apologies.
      manure
      • 1 Year Ago
      Substance? C&D usually is 10-20% under EPA ratings. 37 MPG Is amazingly great in C&D testing. For example, 2012 BMW 328i got 21 MPG in Car & Driver testing. The car is rated at 26 combined -- a difference of 5 MPG, or 20%. My Saab generally hits the EPA ratings on the nose, or even beats them. That's not driving slowly -- but it does involve driving *well* and not surging and braking like an imbecile.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @manure
        yea but CR, MT and others test the cmax and it can only return 39-40 mpg best highway, not the 47 mpg. Even hyundai hybrid is close to the EPA than the fusion.
      Carl
      • 11 Months Ago
      I average 44.6. During the winter and over 50 mpg during the warmer months . Shut off all climate control and my fusion achieves even higher mpg s ! After my car broke at 3000 miles, I saw a big improvement with mpg s . When I switched to higher octane fuel I saw even a bigger increase in mpg s!!!! I now have over 15 000 miles. And this car is just awesome! Before it broke in I thought that this car was at best achieving around in The high thirties . The car s computer has to learn your driving habits and then continuously makes adjustments to better your milage! I also recommend that you set the screen on your left to the empower setting or if you use your cruise control that.you will also see great results.
      dcarson777
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have 17400 miles on my Fusion Hybrid and I am still averaging 46.3 miles per gallon. I believe location plays a lot into the cars performance. I am in Atlanta and I routinely get 50+ miles per gallon in my Fusion in routine use.
      ChrisH
      • 1 Year Ago
      Curious if you were running an ethanol blend or not? I am not sure testing procedures require testing with gasoline that has it in there. Still won't account for all the mileage difference. Considering what some people get out of cars that should get thirty because of their lead foots that 37 you saw might please them just fine; if it were not for that window sticker. Oh well, I am back in the TDI land now, so 40 is my average and no batteries required.
      ajg1957
      • 7 Months Ago
      I have a 2014 Fusion Hybrid Titanium. I got it in November. Through first 2400 miles, I averaged 32 MPG. Most of my 15 mile round trip commute I can accelerate slowly and not exceed 45 MPM. I had about 700 highway miles in those first 2400 miles. After 3600 miles, my average for all 3600 is now up to 36.1 MPG. So in the last 1200 miles, with warmer weather, mileage has increased drastically. It tells you miles traveled, miles in EV and regen, each time you shut it off, for last trip. I have had several low speed trips of more than 10 miles where it achieved over 53 MPG. I am going to reset the MPG computer at 6 months and see what I get over second six months after it has been broke in some, and in warm weather. I have no doubt I will be in low to mid 40's.
      camper9574
      • 12 Days Ago

      WE have a 3 month old, 5300 mile 2014 Fusion Hybrid and are getting 32 mpg after the first oil chane. Ford said "too bad". We traded a 2010 Fusion Hybrid for the 2014 after 100,000 miles. On that one we got 41mpg on the highway. Bitterly disappointed!

      itchynuts
      • 1 Year Ago
      american junk
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Autoblog Your journalistic credibility may vary
        Zach Bowman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        I can certainly understand your frustration with my conclusion on this review, but I don't think it's necessary to call my integrity into question. If you feel otherwise, feel free to drop me a line at Zach.Bowman (at) autoblog (dot) com and we discuss it further.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Zach Bowman
          admire the fact you are manning up Zach...but take a lot of the comments here with a grain of....oh hell, with the Bonneville Salt Flats....auto blogs have a tendence of bring certain participants to the fore...
          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Zach Bowman
          Most people buying a car wouldn't know or care what transmission was under the hood. Most people probably couldn't even tell you what a transmission is. Readers, of auto publications, however are typically more well informed so you can expect any mistake will be noticed. I simply will not buy a car with a belt CVT, so for me, this would be a biggie. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. So I'm glad that you fixed the error. You could have quietly fixed it, but instead acknowledged it. You also don't stand behind an anonymous avatar (like myself). All of that is to your credit. I was mainly just ribbing you, but perhaps I was out of line. I hope you don't feel too beat up. There's some truth behind the statement though because I see a lot of similar errors in Autoblog articles.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        domingorobusto
        • 1 Year Ago
        Its mileage is still comparable or superior in real world conditions to it's almost identically priced competition, just not as dominant as the EPA figures would have you believe.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
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