Photo: Alex Davies
This week, I drove the 2013 Fusion, the car Ford hopes will beat out Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord in the crucial midsize sedan market.Knowing the details of a car can make it great or ruin the driving experience. Here are seven little things Ford nailed on the head:
- When I turned the key, I heard nothing, so assumed the car had not started. In fact, it had — so said the “Ready to Drive” message on the central screen. Because the engine does not kick in until it is needed, there’s no noise when the car is stopped or moderately accelerating, a pleasure in traffic.
- Putting the car in reverse automatically brings up the the rear view camera on the screen. Lines indicate the projected path of the car, based on how the wheels are turned. In a city full of aggressive pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, it was nice to know I was not about to hit anyone.
- There’s a sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car as well, which went off each time a jaywalker slipped in front of me. If it’s annoying, it can be turned off; I like the extra warning.
- The Fusion features electric power-assisted steering. Turning is easy, but not to the point where it feels like “video game steering.” It makes driving simpler without making it automatic or devoid of fun.
- The dashboard drives home the message that this is a fuel efficient car. The Hybrid uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery; the more gradual the stop, the more energy is captured. Every time I stopped, it told me the percentage of the possible energy I had captured. After scoring in the high 90s, I booked a few perfect scores. The self-esteem boost would have been worth even more had I been paying to fill the tank.
- The car I drove was equipped with a lane keeping system that uses cameras to detect the lines painted on the road. On the highway, I turned it on and drifted to the left, only to be gently guided back to the middle of my lane. (It only kicks in when the car is driving above 25 mph, and is deactivated when the turn signal is on.)
- I didn’t play around much with the entertainment system, but the touch screen was pretty responsive.
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