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2013 Ford Fusion 2.5 SE 1.6 Ecoboost 6MT


regfootball

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(Here's a link to my prior test on a 2.5 automatic http://www.cheersandgears.com/topic/81238-2013-ford-fusion-25-se/ )

DRIVEN
2013 Ford Fusion 1.6 Ecoboost 6MT, MSRP unknown (car was preowned with about 30k miles) included MyFord Touch
HIGHS
(with the highs from the prior test below additional for reference, the additional applies here to this MT unit)
Good feeling and working shifter
Somewhat surprising power and drivability of the tiny Ecoboost 4
Torque curve has no real peaks and valleys, just has a nice linear torque build, almost elasticky in feel, no real lag
Remains quiet inside and most of the tiny turbo din is muffled
Amazing that you can find a large, solid car like this with a manual trans (see below)
Good advertised MPG with this powertrain combo
More seat time = the seat structure has a really nice Contour (no pun intended) and noticeable back support
Back seat in fact is usable, although not cavernous with leg room. (At least it's not like the Mazda6).
Feels premium and solid, even in this lesser trim, you will feel you got what you paid for and then some
Lots of bells and whistles, including the trick gauges (but see below)
Feels like a more affordable companion to the likes of a 2011 Saab 9-5MT and current Regal MT
IF YOU CAN FIND ONE, it's nice you can still get a car like this with a manual trans

Aston style on the cheap!

A very welcome new look for those weary of the old Fusion
Big bodacious car!
Feels wide, large and safe, long wheelbase
Many trims and price levels, and with discounts and incentives, can be a hell of value
2.5 is tuned well for this new platform, doesn't really fall on it's face even with it being slightly aged. Tranny manipulates the car well and shifts quick, stays in powerband and doesn't hunt or any reprehensible behavior.
A very nice balance of open cabin with visibility and seclusion. Views out are pretty well done mostly.
Interior plastics and switchgear, what looks cheap on first impression in photos and through the glass is actually nicer than you would think
Non MyFordTouch car still has nice expensive looking switchgear and displays
Switches, controls, and buttons and touch points in general all feel really nice, especially for price
Steering wheel in particular and it's button layout are fantastic
C/D was right, the car indeed feels German and it even SMELLS like a German car also
Once adjusted, the seating feels nicely contoured for mid-girth individuals
SE non sport has probably the best balanced feel of any of the cheap midsizers, not loud inside, not a harsh ride, well weighted steering which in this trim is not too quick....i.e. very good ride and handling, good NVH, and a more premium feel than you'd expect in the class
Really kind of like that open lower center console
Bitchin cupholder setup
Like a good Buick Regal turbo with extra room for many thousand less, or oppositely, like a 2014 Impala you saved about 8 grand on.
LOWS
Despite the composed power delivery, more power and torque would be welcome. This car really should be at least a 1.8t.
Still some residual impressions of a tiny motor working too hard
Motor more than 2500 rpm at 65-70 mph
Shifter throws a bit long, and location (up high and back) is a bit to get used to right away....but then it seems to go away some
Center console is still a leg knocker
Have to hunt and search with steering wheel buttons to get the faux tach up, and then its TINY and fairly useless
Overall, the cool looking gauges are kind of a pain in the ass
MY FORD TOUCH CAN GO TO HELL
USING TOUCH SCREEN FOR RADIO AND CLIMATE IN THIS CAR SUCKS
THE FORD "WE DON'T USE BUTTONS FOR OUR CLIMATE CONTROL" BUTTONS CAN GO TO HELL
Let's think about this for a moment. They give you two ways to control climate by touch and both suck. Where are the regular buttons PLEASE??? I would never try to operate the climate control with Sync, I'd have to ruin something.
THE FORD SYNC B-TCH is just as bad. She never understood what the hell I was saying. I wanted to kill her. I have had a car myself with Sync for nearly 6 years now. IT'S NOT THIS HARD!
Steering response seems initially slow, it's not that, it's just that it is designed to be so stable in a straight line that it takes some concerted effort to get the steering to act
Car is a balance of solidity, stability etc....but I would like to see one with a sportier steering and handling setup.
Taurus is still a better pure highway cruiser (although its not a huge gap)

Aston style ripoff! Busy design, will it be a flash in the pan?

If you like the old Fusion, it will be a huge adjustment to this
You feel the extra wheelbase and size sometimes, maybe for more than a few a shorter wheelbase car like a Malibu or Regal would drive nicer. To some the car might actually feel too large and too ponderous.
Low end trims are a huge value but loaded up with options the Fusion has very ambitious pricing
2.5 engine does the job but you can tell in a few instances it is working hard
Manual shifter control is slow to respond so a bit of a joke
Side mirrors are not designed the best, the split face and size and shape overall not my cup of tea
Monroney sticker is a helluva blind spot, takes up the whole rear window
Switches and controls are hard to find and get used to at first, doesn't fall to hand the way you'd expect sometimes
power seat was hard to dial in, but once i did then it felt ok
Center console controls fall away a bit from natural reach and have some fussiness
Tilt / telescope wheel adjuster is impossible to find and once found is still a headache to use (this is one of the two biggest bitches of the car)
Center console is a leg knocker (but not near as bad as a Taurus)
Really kind of don't like that open center lower console
Malibu interior center stack etc. might feel more driver oriented to most
Not sure if a sport package is available but that would be the way to go to inject a little extra quickness in the steering and tautness in the susp
Suspension as it was managed to get upset a few times by broken pavement and did not seem to respond well that, bounced around, sort of unrefined
More back seat than a Malibu but seriously for this large a car, the back seat should be larger. This is rather embarrassing compared to the Passat
HORRIFIC SEAT CLOTH (the other big bitch). Seriously terrible seat cloth. Looks like $h!, feels like $h!, will probably wear like $h!. I could care less if it is green or not.
Not sure why the Taurus exists now. Will have to try one again to find out and remember.......
SUMMARY
The local dealer a mile from my house (and the group I used to work at) had supposedly 2 new manual trans Fusions coming in recently. They also appeared on FordVehicles.com.
After waiting endlessly and subsequently seeing those new ones go bye bye, I started searching for used 13+ Fusions with MT as I think they would be a great way to test the new popular body and test the Euro driving dynamics.
A local dealer has had this one for a quite many weeks now.....but it is the only MT Fusion I have been able to locate new or used in like at least 500 miles.
I really enjoyed the drive of this car. Like the above says, it has all the good aspects of any of the AT Fusions, and the MT is well done in this car. The engine does ok and is enough to get the car moving and get around. You have to downshift to 4th and 3rd alot as you drive more aggressively, but if you keep it in perspective the motor size and the fuel economy, it's well worth it to most I believe.
I do think though, it would be better suited and would probably get the same mpg if it had a 1.8t with more power and torque. The engine as a 1.6 is not bad, just Ford, scale it up some! Then it would match the Passat and it's 1.8t. If you drove this car everyday for many years, you would probably really say to yourself often enough, "I wish I had some more go juice under the hood". The occasional buzz and minor lack of refinement and go under the hood is what keeps this car from feeling a class up. I referred up top to the 2011 9-5 and Current Regal with MT. It is not a stretch or lie to say that this Fusion feels like an extremely similar car, just giving its price range away just enough to remind you that you did not buy further up the price scale. This is more a complement to the Saab and Buick AND the Ford than it is a knock on the Ford.
This car has a solid stable feel you would equate to a German car. Funny since the 1.8 Passat has some of the sprite that this car should have. It would be cool to combine the best of the two cars together and I think this would be nailed for everyday transportation.
As it is, Ford could tinker with the steering and ride on the models they have now, and it would benefit. I think a sports package would really add to the cache of this Fusion as well.
But to be honest, what this old original Taurus SHO driver was missing and heard begging from under the hood was some serious candy sweet go juice. And some reflexes.
This car would be PERFECT for the 2.7 Ecoboost v6, mated to the MT and with some reflexes. Ford, please build it, keep it affordable, you would have a sleeper on your hands.
As it stands, what is confounding is the lack of availability of any of these new Fusions in MT trim. I realize the MT choices in the segment are getting fewer and fewer. And in general, the population is moving away or being forced away from sticks.
But this car is on the cusp of being one of those that can really carry the torch to make a case to save the manuals. I am not sure what Ford is trying to do with it. The want to offer it and build a few to play to the MT crowd like they care. But then they do not make them available, and it just pisses everyone who would want one off.
There are still a few offerings in the segment with MT. And i would assume the Mazda, Honda and VW sell enough and the Fusion's is done well enough that it should exist in greater numbers to take some of those buyers, because it should and to some degree, can.
The MT version does not take away my impression that the Fusion is overall the best choice in the segment for most of the shoppers. It's not loud and cramped like the Mazda6. It's nicer inside than the Passat. It outdoes the Camry by a LOT. I like it more than the lame Altima and bizarre Accord. It's just a much more complete piece than the Korean Twins. The Malibu at least has buttons on the dash and is great in many ways, but the Fusion is just a much grander concept to start with.
I'll go into the disappointments and frustrations with the MyFordTouch, dash controls, and gauges, etc. in a future post. Needless to say, they are sad distractions from the rest of impressions of the car. Ford really needs to correct this crap that is MyFordTouch and flaky flush climate buttons pronto. I would not buy the car equipped that way, and would generally recommend that others do not either, unless you want to be pissed off and hate the car quite often.
If i sum this up (and i may edit this later) what i think is fairly, I think the MT Fusion gets a B+.....or maybe the lowest A-. I need to think on that one and go through some other competitor's past reviews. This is a really nice car.
If I factor in the MyFordTouch, lame climate control operation, and the stupid woman Sync voice, I have to at least take it a whole letter down or more. So i won't even post that. I'll give Ford some time to wise up and get it fixed.

Waited a while to test this and have driven most all of the others. If you like a Malibu and had never drove the new Fusion, you would be entirely happy with your Malibu purchase.

Once you drive the Fusion, it becomes evident why the Fusion will probably kill the Malibu in retail sales. It's just overall a more well done package.
I like the Malibu myself, but the Fusion is the 2013 version of the most well thought out package in the midsize class. And not having driven the 1.6t (that one was out on a demo :( ) which presumably has a little more grunt and smoothness, I will assume is an acceptable offering in lieu of any of the minor weaknesses of the 2.5.
Fusion does not have:
The loud and unrefined interior sound level of the Accord
The cheap drab feel or crappy base engine of the Passat
The cheesy 'fake luxury' and milquetoast aura of the Altima
The dated proportion and tiny rear of the Malibu
The compromised everything of the Camry
The slightly off the mainstream feel of the Mazda6 (plus its quieter and feels snappier than that car does also
I did not look in the trunk, I hear it is small, but I don't care as a few others in this class are about the same size. The biggest thing dynamically Ford needs to fix about the car is the rear suspension losing its poise a few times and maybe for those want it, to make it feel smaller and nimbler. That is picky though....REAL PICKY. I think the intended market will LOVE the large car feel and balanced, secure ride and handling this car has.
My gripes: terrible seat cloth (I know, buy leather)....and if my biggest gripe about any car being the tilt wheel adjuster and where to find it and use it, then the car should get an A. I'll leave some room for improvement and give it a solid A-. The Fusion is a car I would pretty much tell everybody to buy, regardless of who they were, which is quite a turnaround. I never liked the previous Fusion at all. Completely different, complete and total turnaround.
This car is going to sell huge, it deserves to, and despite the Mazda6 more or less being an equal in terms of total all around goodness, I would put the Fusion at the top of the class because I think it's feel and the minor differences compared to the Mazda is where the broadest swatch of buyers are in the mid size segment. If the Fusion is 1, then the Mazda is 1A. The Accord I can see how the likes of C/D will probably put it atop the list due to bias but Honda needs to fix the interior noise issue first. and the fact that the Accord still has that Honda cheapness feel to it. In no way at all does the Ford feel cheap like that. The Ford does indeed feel more like a German car than the Passat even.
The Malibu turbo is a big upgrade in overall feel over the base Malibu and if they ever adjust the price will be definitely considered more competitive. Regal is a super nice car but Fusion feels a lot like the much more expensive Regal and I really wonder if a base Fusion you can buy for under 20 off the lot will essentially still feel nicer than the soon to hit and the same size 014 Impala which will a lot more expensive. Basically, I consider the Fusion and Impala to be more alike than the Malibu and Fusion now. This is a huge problem for GM.
note: sales guy said Fusion + stick was special order only....... hmmm, also has a 2.0t Fusion and say the gas mileage, not great......not the one to get if you like MPG....
Edited by regfootball
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Interesting write up, so clearly FORD still has a ways to go to get more competative with a solid product is what I get out of this. Thanks for taking the time to drive and write this up.

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I have still never driven one of these, but it's clear to be an incredible car. Living in Philly, I see a nonstop stream of new Fusions everywhere, all day long, in every varying configuration from hubcap base models to fully loaded Titanium level cars. Different generations of people driving them.

From styling, engineering, performance, refinement, etc it just seems to knock it out of the park. The way the Malibu should have been done (as the Impala does on the higher level) but didn't come close to doing, due to awkwardness.

Had clients yesterday that had just received a new 2014 Escape Ecoboost as the wife's latest company vehicle and they were raving about it. Same people have a 2012 Equinox V6 in their household they are selling, and purchasing a new Acura.

Great car, it seems. Interesting model mix as well, 6-speed included which is nice to see as they get rarer and rarer.

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Caddycruiser your comment I find interesting as has others about the Impala and Malibu. It makes me wonder if Chevy would not be better served by killing off one or both of these auto's and building one much better quality car to serve the mid size market.

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I sat in a Fusion the other day and found the front seats couch-like in their softness. I like supportive seats, and this would be a deal breaker for me. Perhaps the sports seats in the Titanium cars are firmer.

I just priced a Fusion Titanium with no options on TrueCar and got $25,503, or 19% off MSRP of $31,425. There are a ton of incentives on this car; too bad most of them are retail-only and cannot be applied towards a lease.

Edited by pow
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My problem with this car remains with the engine/transmission choices. I love the styling, ride, and handling of the Fusion. Even the somewhat shoddy build quality of the interior I could deal with as the materials themselves are pretty nice. But, as the range-topping engine, the 2.0 turbo is completely underpowered and the 6AT just exaggerates that. It felt more like an entry level engine than an uplevel engine. With a manual transmission, I feel like this engine would come alive, but Ford doesn't offer it. As such, you are stuck with the even more underpowered 1.6 turbo and you will lose a drag race against a Kia Rio. Ford could have really shaken up the midsize segment with engine/transmission combinations that don't absolutely suck.

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My problem with this car remains with the engine/transmission choices. I love the styling, ride, and handling of the Fusion. Even the somewhat shoddy build quality of the interior I could deal with as the materials themselves are pretty nice. But, as the range-topping engine, the 2.0 turbo is completely underpowered and the 6AT just exaggerates that. It felt more like an entry level engine than an uplevel engine. With a manual transmission, I feel like this engine would come alive, but Ford doesn't offer it. As such, you are stuck with the even more underpowered 1.6 turbo and you will lose a drag race against a Kia Rio. Ford could have really shaken up the midsize segment with engine/transmission combinations that don't absolutely suck.

Pretty much my thoughts as well..

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Sadly Ford continues to take on a Half Ass approach to building auto's in the attitude that customers will continue to buy plastic cheaply built auto's. Their day is coming, Ford like GM and Chrysler should have filed for Bankruptcy and dumped all their old over paid pension garbage to clean up and right size the company and then moved forward with clearing out the executive line and building quality auto's. Instead, the Ford Family continues to hurt FORD rather than help it and this shows in the auto's. IMHO

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  • 1 month later...

Ford has gone a bit over board with the upcoming Cafe, which isn't here yet in the 2013-2015 Fusion IMO. Why there can't be a V6 option or at the least a 2.3 turbo is ridiculous. Having an engine that get's one to two less overall MPG is hardly going to affect there numbers.

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Caddycruiser your comment I find interesting as has others about the Impala and Malibu. It makes me wonder if Chevy would not be better served by killing off one or both of these auto's and building one much better quality car to serve the mid size market.

I have had the same thought. They could probably kill the Malibu and keep the Impala. The Impala is world class and the current Malibu is currently Camry/Altima level at best. Ford did knock it out of the park with the current Fusion, my Ford Touch is probably a big reason I will buy a Civic SI or GTI when I trade the Miata in. But I still lust after the Focus ST.

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the 2.7 ecoboost v6 + manual would be prime in this ride. Even the forthcoming 2.3 ecoboost.

thank the feds though, its all about mpg.......

In another 5 to 8 years everything will be hybrid and the manual will be dead. Local Honda dealer sales manager said he sold exactly three manual cars all last year other than Civic SI.

My problem with this car remains with the engine/transmission choices. I love the styling, ride, and handling of the Fusion. Even the somewhat shoddy build quality of the interior I could deal with as the materials themselves are pretty nice. But, as the range-topping engine, the 2.0 turbo is completely underpowered and the 6AT just exaggerates that. It felt more like an entry level engine than an uplevel engine. With a manual transmission, I feel like this engine would come alive, but Ford doesn't offer it. As such, you are stuck with the even more underpowered 1.6 turbo and you will lose a drag race against a Kia Rio. Ford could have really shaken up the midsize segment with engine/transmission combinations that don't absolutely suck.

A premium diesel would just rock in this car....

Pretty much my thoughts as well..

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  • 2 months later...

I managed to find a new Fusion 1.6 SE manual to take for a spin today.  My impression again this time was pretty consistent with before.  This one was all black, and to be honest the black cloth interior came off rather well to me this time.  The unit did not have the touchscreen, it had regular radio and CC, and that was alright!

 

I came away impressed again with so much about the car as before.  The car has a great ride down the road, it feels refined inside, and the ergonomics and dash are great. Visually inside and out this car is a treat.  Seats are great, room and space even in the back quite good.

 

My main judgment to make today was to decide if the 1.6 ecoboost had enough pop.  I am so torn.  At times, it felt like a horse leaping out of the gate.  At other times, it felt kind of like my Cobalt.  Weak getting out of the gate, coarse, noisy.  I am not sure if this is a bipolar engine, or just inconsistent driving on my part.  When you drive it right, and it seems creamy and quiet, it is quite convincing that this is a satisfying car perfectly mated to what I believe is a sublime shifter.  But then i ask why am I shifting so much, and why are all the 6 gears are absolutely needed so much.  In the times you want to lean on the car a lot, you want more pull, but you don't want to gas it because of the noise and lack of torque.

 

I think the car could benefit from being a 1.8 or a 2.0.  Sure it would lose some mpg.  The main thing i determined today is I think the 1.8 litre Passat has more zip overall and not as much to shift all the time.  I am trying to sort of pick between the two.  The Fusion is a better car in sooooo many ways, I still believe its the best volume midsizer.  But i think the Passat's motor here mated to the stick has more gusto and you don't need to shift so much.  This would be solved easily if the Fusion had a 1.8 turbo instead of a 1.6.  

 

I bet the 2.0 turbo mated to stick or the 2.3 to a stick in this car would rule.  The new 2.7 Ecoboost v6 with AWD and a stick would be a quattro beater.  We can dream, right?

Edited by regfootball
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