When you buy a car, you’re usually stuck with whatever interior lighting comes with the vehicle, right? Changing interior color to suit your mood or taste is something you’d expect to find in a luxury car, not a family sedan.
But in designing the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, researchers developing interior lighting for the mid-size family sedan paid a great deal of attention to how to better implement it.
2013 Ford FusionEnlarge Photo
It all starts with the critical role that lighting plays in relaying information to the driver. Realizing that a person’s attention span is limited, researchers focused on how lighting could more effectively help deliver both critical and non-critical driving-related information without serving as a distraction or diverting the driver’s attention from the road.
According to Mahendra Dassanayake, Ford’s technical leader for design, lighting is about more than just functionality. “Lighting gives you a sense of orientation,” said Dassanayake. “It’s a unique combination of functionality and comfort. Lights, graphics and displays are critical to drivers.”
How does this translate into what’s being offered in the 2013 Fusion? With the all-new model, consumers will be able to choose ambient lighting, also called accent lighting.
Ambient lighting, first introduced on the Ford Mustang, has been part of Ford vehicles for several years, evolving from simply catering to specific needs to becoming an integral part of the design and the driving experience. In the new Fusion, the designers took extra care in the placement of the lights to create the right effect.
Where does the ambient lighting show up on the Fusion? The spots include the front center console bin, front two cupholders, front footwell, front door power switches and LED lock indicators.
Ford - emotions of colorEnlarge Photo
The color palette on the Ford Fusion consists of seven colors: ice blue (the default), purple, blue, orange, red, white and green.
“We’re opening this up to let the customer decide,” Dassanayake said. “It’s offering them a choice.”
Feeling outgoing and optimistic? Switch from the ice blue default (cool and alert) and select orange on the color palette. Want to calm your nerves and feel more refreshed and relaxed? Choose green from the palette. Purple is more magical and complex, while blue is dependable and white is quiet yet brilliant. Red, on the other hand, is the attention-getter.
Changing colors is easy. If the Fusion is equipped with MyFord Touch, you only need to select “ambient lighting” in the setting. Otherwise, there’s a button on the other side of the emergency brake that allows you to switch from one color to another.
What will it cost?
A Ford spokesperson said that full packaging details are not yet available for the 2013 Fusion, but ambient lighting is typically an option, although standard on higher series. While new to the Fusion, ambient lighting has been available in a number of Ford and Lincoln vehicles for a while. It is standard on the Ford Taurus Limited and SHO models, and part of a $3,100 package on Taurus SEL. Ambient lighting is also standard on Mustang V-6 Premium and GT Premium.
The 2013 Ford Fusion will be available in gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. The gas and hybrid go on sale in the fall 2012, while the plug-in model, the Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid will be available in early 2013.