Ford’s bet is on Fusion to beat Camry image

With the 2013 Fusion, Ford takes aim at a segment of the U.S. auto market dominated by the Toyota Motor Corp Camry and Honda Motor Co Accord.

The original has been a huge hit since entering the market in 2005 and it topped the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata last year with sales of 250,000. However, the best-seller among midsize sedans – the Camry sold nearly 309,000 last year.

But now, the new 2013 Fusion sedan boasts a more athletic design and more fuel economy options.

“This market, coming out of this recession, is wide open,” said Art Spinella, president of CNW Research, which tracks consumer trends in the auto industry.

The latest edition of the sedan is an ambitious project, and Ford is aiming to capture a wide array of consumers with a broad range of engine selections, including two EcoBoost four-cylinders.
Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, but top-of-the-line Fusions with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine can be had with all-wheel drive.

Ford hasn’t released complete – or official – economy numbers, but Fusions equipped with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine (complete with start/stop technology) are expected to achieve 26/37 miles per gallon city/highway, while front-wheel-drive, 2.0-liter-equipped cars should net around 23/33 mpg.

Even more, the new Fusion hybrid is even more fuel-efficient, promising 47 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. That’s substantially better than the Toyota Camry hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata hybrid.

Most interesting, though, is the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid version that Ford says will get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon (MPGe)!

PRICE: Not revealed. The current Fusion starts at $20,200. [more about the new 2013 Ford Fusion]