2013 Ford Fusion - My Love Affair Continues by Michael Bernstein +VIDEO

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2013 Ford Fusion

…the 2013 Ford Fusion rides even better than it looks.

By Michael Bernstein
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

The North American International Auto Show, the annual event held in Detroit, was the venue the Ford Motor Company chose to give the world its first peek at the changes made to the company's newest brand and latest entry into one of the most significant segments of the domestic auto industry. (CLICK HERE to watch the complete Detroit introduction)

The 2013 Fusion not only caught my eye, but few disagree with its choice as the runaway hit of the 2012 NAIAS. Driven by its eye-catching styling that appealed to every taste by being both bold and sporty without being too aggressive. The Fusion’s exterior styling is highlighted by graceful lines, creased body panels and a contemporary trim package that must be seen to truly be appreciated.

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That was a cold winter day in January, it is now a glorious September day and I find myself standing in front a row of these beauties glistening in the warm California sunshine and as I gazed across the Santa Monica Convention Center’s parking lot, which had been transformed into a Fusion coming out party, I had forgotten just how gorgeous and really cool the Fusion looks and today I would get my first real date, erg the first significant “seat time” behind the wheel of this beauty.

As I entered the vehicle I could see that this car had brains to match its beauty. The Fusion’s smart internal cabin projects a sophisticated vibe to its occupants while at the same time providing rich comfort and unexpected luxury for the mid-sized car segment.

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The center dash IP featured an analog speedometer flanked by two LED customizable displays that are easy to read and access. The center waterfall features a nice video monitor at the top and it ends at the gear shift knob, after flowing past a storage bin, cup holders and the vehicle’s emergency brake.

The sight lines from the driver’s seat are outstanding thanks in part to the angle of the A pillar and the addition of a small window port. The interior cabin also features plenty of leg and upper body space and that includes the ones seated in the rear bench seats.

I was in LA, I had a hot little number and I was ready for a quick drive up the coast. Pulling out on the PCH I could immediately tell that the Fusion rides even better than it looks. The steering was tight and responsive thanks to Ford’s new power steering system, as was the braking, but the real completive advantage the Fusion presents is in the depth of engine options available.

Watch TACH's exclusive 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid promo video

The first Fusion I drove had the base 1.6L engine that was equipped with Ford’s new “stop start” option that literally turns on and off the engine, no the a/c will not shut off, but the $295 option promises to deliver a 3% increase in fuel economy. There is a slight vibration and audible noise when the system engages but after the first time you experience it, the process was no big deal. It’s kind of like a hybrid-lite!

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Speaking of Hybrids, the 2013 Fusion has a Hybrid engine option and it is one of the best I have driven, in fact the performance is close to a conventional ‘gas” engine, except for the class leading fuel economy Ford’s newest hybrid engine achieved, a whopping 47MPG. Seriously, the only discernable difference in engine performance is in low end torque, acceleration and the price.

There are two more engine options, the 2.0L and the top of the line 2.5L that is only available with the Titanium SE Sport package and for you true gear heads, the Fusion has a six speed manual transmission option for the 1.6L and 2.0L engine. The remainder of the Fusion’s engine options will be paired with Fords automatic transmission.

The 2013 Fusion lineup features four trim levels with MSRPs starting at $24,000 and peeking at $36,000 for the loaded SE Sport Titanium. Arriving in deal showrooms in late September and available for sale in October, the 2013 Ford Fusion is the early favorite for Car of the Year and it will be sure to generate sales that will exceed the 250,000 models forecast.

All the particulars are available at the Ford Buyers Guide stay tuned to hear about my next date with the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion.

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