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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall; five stars frontal; four stars side
Top Safety Pick+
The Fusion's coupelike profile means those front windows do not provide the most visibility.
A brand-new vehicle on a new architecture, the 2013 Ford Fusion has earned a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the Fusion deserves its "good" scores its primary frontal and side tests, as well as an 'acceptable' rating in the new small-overlap frontal test, which altogether earns it a Top Safety Pick+ award for the new model year.Meanwhile, a look at the Fusion's safety hardware is promising. Each one comes with eight standard airbags, including dual front knee airbags, a first for the sedan. Along with mandatory stability control, the Fusion also has standard active headrests with a slimmer design than in some other Ford vehicles, and less of the forward protrusion that's made its seats less comfortable. Bluetooth is also standard across the lineup, along with SYNC phone and audio connectivity--and we consider it a safety feature, given the reality of driving and talking on America's highways.
In terms of optional safety features, a rearview camera is not available on the base sedan; it's an option on the SE, and standard on the Titanium, along with an 8-inch LCD touchscreen also used as the MyFord Touch display. Rear parking sensors are an option on the SE and standard on the Titanium, too.
Finally, the Titanium is the only model to offer some of Ford's latest safety technologies, all options, some bundled in a package, some offered independently. They include a lane-departure warning and lane-keeping system, that nudges the car gently back on track if its forward-facing camera detects that it's crossed the lane divider; adaptive cruise control; blind-spot monitors for the side rearview mirrors, with cross-traffic alerts that make backing out of parking spots a little safer; and active park assist, which dials the car into a parallel spot while you operate the pedals.
Visibility in the Fusion is excellent. Its relatively slim roof pillars don't obstruct an over the shoulder glance, and the decklid isn't quite tall enough to blot out much of the rear view--though the rearview mirror itself isn't particularly large.
Knee airbags, Bluetooth and blind-spot monitors are on the list, and the Fusion's a Top Safety Pick.