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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Ford Fusion

What is it? Ford’s mainstay in the family-sedan category, the Fusion, has received its first complete redesign since 2005, growing significantly larger in the process. The 2013 Fusion is built on a platform engineered by Ford of Europe and now has a coupe-like silhouette. It will come in three trim lines--S, SE, and Titanium--as well as two hybrid versions. The main engine choice is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for about 180-hp. Up-level variants get a larger turbo four. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic.

What is new or notable? The new Fusion’s 112-inch wheelbase is longer than that of a Camry or Accord (109 and 110 inches, respectively), which suggests that there should be plenty of passenger space front and rear. Instead of a V6, up-level Fusions will have a 237-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. We know that engine from the Ford Edge and Range Rover Evoque, where it works well. There will also be two hybrids offered. The regular Fusion Hybrid has switched to a new lithium-ion battery pack and can go short distances in EV mode. The Fusion Energi will be a plug-in hybrid, said to be able to run in EV mode. Both hybrids use a non-turbo 2.0-lter four-cylinder with combined gas-and-electric oomph rated at 185-hp.

CR’s take: If the Fusion lives up to its potential, it should be a fine competitor in that popular segment. Its increased dimensions may provide a good reason not to buy Ford’s larger offering, the Taurus. Increased interior space is always welcome, so long as it’s put to good use, something the large Taurus does not do. The new Fusion’s sloping roof and diminished rear windows may hurt the driver’s view aft, as such affectations usually do.

When will it be available? Fall 2012  

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