It hasn't grown significantly in any dimension, but the 2013 Ford Fusion is nearly a full-size sedan now, in terms of interior volume. It's amply comfortable for four adults, a fifth in a pinch, but the cabin's reorganized in some subtle ways that show its new debt to European tastes.
The numbers show that the Fusion's the better of some of its closest competitors, at least on paper. It rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, up almost 5 inches, and is 191.7 inches long overall, about an inch more than in 2012. At 72.9 inches wide, the Fusion also has 44.3 inches of front-seat leg room and 38.3 inches of rear-seat leg room, while headroom checks in at 39.2 inches and 37.8 inches, respectively. The interior volume of 118.8 cubic feet is just a cube or so shy of the EPA's full-size hurdle; trunk space of 16 cubic feet is good, if not titanic like the bigger Taurus and its 20-cubic-foot whopper.
For comparison, the Altima, Sonata, and Passat all have shorter wheelbases and are shorter--except the Passat, which is the same overall length as the Fusion. The Sonata beats the Fusion's front-seat leg room by nearly an inch; the Altima, by 0.7 inches--but the Passat falls far shy, by almost six inches. The Passat wins in rear-seat leg room by almost four inches, though, with the Altima and Sonata behind the Fusion by almost two inches. The Fusion, it seems, does the better balancing act between front and back.
We've driven Fusions with manual and power seats, and found excellent front-seat space and comfort in both, though on the manual seats, there's a little too much front-end tilt to the bottom cushion for our tastes. The seats are thinner, and the seating position seems higher than before, while the front passengers' feet will have to cant inward slightly, around the wheel wells that intrude marginally into that space. Headroom is excellent, with a few inches to spare even for six-footers--but no cars equipped with the optional sunroof were available for testing.
In the back seat, the doors are cut tall for easy entry and exit, and the cushions are high. As is the case with the Nissan Altima and VW Passat, six-footers will make contact with the headliner; in the Fusion, it's on the back of the head, and the fast roofline doesn't impact the space as much as it could. I found at least an inch or two of knee room in back after I'd set the front seat to leave a few inches between my legs and the dash.
In most of the test cars we've driven so far, the Fusion's panels and materials have been well fitted. and well chosen. Sound damping is especially well done; like the new Chevy Malibu, there's little drivetrain noise heard above the beltline, in contrast to cars like the Sonata and Passat. We'd quibble with some of the textures inside the Fusion, though, especially on the full-tilt versions. The base cloth upholstery has a sheen to it; it's even more true on the Hybrid models, and only the leather option will relieve the inexpensive look. We're no fans of piano-black gloss trim, either, since it scratches so easily--and the Fusion's cockpit wears a lot of it. The dash cap is soft to the touch, though, and the switches and controls operate with precision, down to the soft, vibration-free thump of the doors as they latch closed.