2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review:
Ever since 1999, when Honda’s lozenge-like Insight introduced us to gas/electric propulsion, hybrids have been on a long, slow slog toward normalcy.
Well, to quote the lady in your navigation system, “You have arrived at your destination.”
The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is normal, nothing weird about it. Only discreet things, like modest badging and efficiency-monitoring instrument panel screens, differentiate it from other Fusions.
There’s no lozenge styling; its Aston Martin-esque sheet metal features the same knock-out look as every other 2013 Fusion. There’s no sloth-like acceleration; 60 mph arrives in an acceptable 9 seconds. There’s no turbine-like whine on deceleration; the car remains civil as it slows. And there’s no trunk-filling battery pack.
Oh, the pack is still in back but, in contrast to the previous nickel-metal hydride setup, it’s now a more compact lithium-ion pack that usurps far less cargo room. This hybrid sedan even has folding rear seats to expand its 12 cu.-ft. trunk, admittedly 4 cubes less than a standard Fusion.
The 1.4 kWh battery pack joins two electric motors in assisting a new 2.0-liter I-4 gas engine in powering this hybrid. The total system hp of 188 is sent to the front wheels via a CVT automatic transmission.
Able to run on pure electric power up to 62 mph, the Fusion Hybrid is rated at a lofty 47 city/47 hwy/47 combined. We drove 225 miles around town and got nothing like 47 mpg. We registered 41 – still, impressive, though, when you consider we made no effort to drive “green.” The car felt normal, so we drove normally.
Inside, room is fine up front and generous in back while cabin trim is understated: black with satin-metal-look accents. We weren’t much on the neoprene-like seat covers, though. (In keeping with the car’s “green” theme, those covers are made of “recyclable sustainable yarns.”)
Of course, all the nanny-ish displays are here: “green driving” scores, “leaf” graphics showing current efficiency, tutorials on how to recoup energy while braking. Heck, turn off the ignition and you get an “efficiency score” and the message, “Thanks for driving a hybrid.” (I’m sorry, but that’s more than I could bear. I refuse to feel guilty if I choose to drive a Mustang GT, instead.)
The much-criticized MyFord Touch controls are simpler but, if you’re still put off by the button-less layout, audio, phone, climate and navigation can be worked via steering-wheel controls or voice commands.
Prices start at $27,995.