The story isn't entirely an appeal to green drivers, though. With the new Fusion, Ford hopes it can keep and strengthen the Fusion's reputation for good handling and packaging. The company says the 2013 sedan will have the handling, roadholding, and driving character of its latest smaller cars, particularly in well-tuned electric steering. Active noise canceling will be fitted to Hybrid and Energi models, to make the vehicle even more quiet in electric-only mode.Interior space is competitive with today's car, but the 2013 Fusion doesn't make breakthroughs on rear-seat space. Total interior volume is 118.1 cubic feet, and both the front and rear seats are spacious enough to seat four adults comfortably. Rear-seat headroom is compromised a bit by the swoopy roofline. Trunk space is cut down a bit too, to 15.4 cubic feet from today's 16.5 cubic feet.
The 2013 Fusion has eight airbags standard--front, side, and knee bags for front-seat passengers, and side curtains that cover the entire window opening front and rear--for all four outboard passengers. Ford is aiming for five-star safety ratings.
Adaptive cruise control is available, as is a new driver-alertness monitoring system that will startle the driver and flash a cup-of-coffee icon if it senses the driver's attention and altertness waning. Ford's blind-spot information system makes a return. New features include Active Park Assist (which parallel parks the car into a space it senses, operating the steering while the driver accelerates and brakes) and a combination of Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist. Finally, all Fusions get Hill Start Assist.The well-received Sync system is standard, with an updated version of MyFordTouch optional, with clearer, less cluttered screen designs.
Ford says the 2013 Fusion and Fusion Hybrid will arrive at dealerships this fall, with the Fusion Energi model to follow "a bit later".--with John VoelckerStay tuned for all our coverage from Cobo Center as we bring you the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.