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2013 Ford Fusion: The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2013

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The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2013 is the new 2013 Ford Fusion.

The Fusion earned the highest rating of all brand-new or significantly updated mainstream vehicles this year, fending off close challenges from the Honda Accord, the Cadillac ATS, and the Cadillac XTS.

As we wrote in our full review, the 2013 Ford Fusion has "rock-star good looks and handling--and it doesn't cheat on room or safety to get them."

We'll admit to falling for the Fusion at first glance. We've looked at it and seen echoes of the Audi 5000, in all the right ways. The elegant roofline and bullish nose take the caricatures of other mid-size sedans and smooth them out into a sleekness that gives us pause, every time.

It's a car so stylish, you can't help but imagine what it's like to drive--and it delivers. There's nothing exotic on its spec sheet, but the Fusion steers briskly, rides firmly, and barely conceals the European-engineered sport sedan hiding behind its American nameplate. It's especially engaging with the available manual transmission: if you've ever loved an entry-luxury German or Swedish sedan, here's your new crush object.

The Fusion's an aesthete and an athlete--and it nails the basics, too. Its back-seat space is a scant second only to the Accord and Passat, and its well-bolstered front seats shame those in the Honda. The rear bench pokes holes in the Chevy Malibu's smaller-is-better argument. The trunk's vast. Safety? It's great in a crash--but we suggest you don't go there.

There's another dimension to the Fusion, too--the Fusion Hybrid and the Energi plug-in hybrid. The gas-electric model picks off the Passat TDI for highway mileage, while the plug-in version promises some pure electric driving and Volt-like MPGe figures, not to mention a scad of luxury features available like blind-spot monitors, a rearview camera, and park assist. And, by the way, did we mention the styling? No hybrid has ever looked this good (the Karma's a range-extended EV, remember), and we're betting no hybrid will even come close, any time soon.

The caveats

The Fusion gives car buyers a clear reason to avoid generica when hunting down a mid-size, family-suitable four-door. But it doesn't come without some caveats.

Ford [NYSE:F] has recalled the 2013 Fusion twice already--once for a flaw in headlamp manufacturing, and a second time, for a more serious risk of fire also associated with the 2013 Ford Escape. That recall affects our favorite Fusion, the manual-transmission, 1.6-liter EcoBoost model. It's worth pointing out the recalled engine is an option on any trim where it's available. Other manufacturers competing this year have had their own recall issues, though none have had them in such stark relief--and Ford's experience with the Escape and more distantly, with the 2000 Focus, gave us pause.

The other caveat? The Hybrid Fusion's fuel economy. While it's rated at an EPA-estimated 47 mpg city, highway, and combined, many owners and some publications are reporting their personal experiences differ greatly from those numbers. It's worth noting the dramatic re-statement of gas mileage at Hyundai and Kia earlier this year, which involved many popular models from the past three model years. It's also worth reminding shoppers that automakers self-certify their fuel economy figures, which the EPA randomly re-tests selectively as it sees fit. Whether it will choose to sample the 2013 Fusion Hybrid remains to be seen. For now, we present the official numbers and the conjecture with our advice: if you're fretting over fuel economy that much, wait a few months for the dust to settle.

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Comments (18)
  1. I have no bone to pick about Ford, in fact I like the new Fusion also, but you forgot another caveat which I feel earns the new Honda Accord the win. It's called resale value and the Accord will crush the Fusion.

  2. I agree. I may be a little biased because I sell Hondas, but the timing of this is a little poor when you look at the fact that ford just had to put in a recall on the 2013 fusion on one of its engine options due to fire problems.

  3. ...and how many vehicles has Honda recalled this year? Say what? Over 2 million? Hmm, sounds to me like the Honda fanboy doesn't have any room to be talking about the Fusion's recalls.

  4. Ironically the Fusion is now number 2 to the Accords number one spot:
    We'll see how the cards play out with resale, it'll undoubtedly be lower than the Accord but we'll see how much lower, the premium materials and nice looks will undoubtedly increase resale value

  5. I must agree! My grandfather bought a Fusion Hybrid and has been getting around the 47 MPG or even better! He hit 61 MPG average the other day! He loves it!

  6. All that and more versatility in the C-Max.

  7. I would put the design of the Volt on a par with the Fusion.

  8. The recalls will probably start next week!

  9. The new Fusion is a good looking car that came out a year too late for me to consider. From personal experience, I'll take the Passat TDI in the real world on highway fuel economy vs the Fusion Hybrid, especially given that their EPA claims have been hard to reproduce. City fuel economy is where the Fusion hybrid would have the advantage IMHO.

  10. Yes we all know the world is brain washed with honda. and yes, it will have a higher resale... but that comes at a price... BORING! the honda is the car your grandmother buys or the accountant down the street. because they are boring. i'll give a little and get a car i love to drive. And yes, i'm a ford fan boy all the way. have owned (and own) about 12 different fords. never any major issues that I can recall. So the edge goes in and the fusion will come home for Christmas. but the Pony will stay, after all.. the fusion will only be so fun ;)

  11. Which one is your favorite? The one that catches on fire, the one with hazy headlamps, or the one that lied about it's fuel mileage?

  12. Hey now, be fair. They all lie about their fuel milage.

  13. Who cares about resale value when a car looks this good and drives this well? Why are you so eager to sell it if it's a great car?

  14. this is the best looking car in this segment and many more expensive segments as for the recalls ford is addressing them promptly as for the epa rating how you drive will determine mpg Yes i drive fords so do all my kids. My daughter will be buying a 2013 so will I. I could care less about resale value.I keep a car long term.I'm waiting for USA MADE.

  15. Ford is definitely heading in the right direction however they are still selling models in Europe that aren't available in the states. The Ford Focus with the 1.0 and 1.6 liter ecoboost still isn't available in America. I would also love to have the option of buying a small truck (the new improved Ranger is only available in Europe). What happened to the so called global platform? Until Ford decides to put their best foot forward in the U.S., I'm holding off.

  16. I bought a 2013 Ford Fusion S 12/11/2012. I've had Hondas, and Volkswagons. I traded a Camry Base 2011. Hondas had always been my car of choice, but lately they feel plastic, and cheap. Toyota delivered less gas milage, 2010 Prius, and 2011 Camry. Some trim reliability issues with Camry, as well. 2010 Golf two-door was fun. 2006 Ford Mustang had German touches. This also reminds me of Golf. Solid, quality feel. The Fusion is fun to drive. Looks are off the chart. I told my brother I could see this becoming Car of the Year, and then this article came out. I think Toyota, and Honda are not the companies they once were, and that this car is the future. Nice to see an American company come back. I grew up with Fords.

  17. Wow. I bought the 2013 Accord last month (12/12) and found the new styling very compelling. I didn't consider the Fusion, not exclusively because of it's looks, but they certainly didn't help. Ford has a long way to go in to present a good looking vehicle, and I won't drive an ugly car.

  18. I bought the 2013 Fusion. It has nav, backup camera, 1.6 ecoboost, dual climate, touchscreen, voice activated. After test driving the Madza 6, various volkswagens, and the accord, I drove the Fusion and even though I thought fords were crap and considered myself picking Chevy if I had to buy US, I loved it. The Fusion handles well, no body roll, the sound system is great, looks good, lots of space, and the voice activated system, once you get used to using it, is awesome! Madza6 felt cheap and the radio is trash. The Accord doesn't have telescopic steering and the camera's are distracting. The volkswagens are ok, but the Fusion was beter.

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