2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Quick Winter Gas Mileage Test

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The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the second of Ford's two hybrid models, both all-new for 2013.

The Fusion Hybrid, unlike the C-Max Hybrid compact hatchback, is a four-door mid-size sedan aimed right at the heart of a high-volume market segment.

Competitors for the Fusion lineup include the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, and Nissan Altima.

The first three all offer hybrid models, the Malibu has its "Eco" mild-hybrid variant, and there's an Altima Hybrid coming in a year or two.

47-mpg EPA rating

The EPA ratings for the 2013 Fusion Hybrid are 47 mpg combined, with both city and highway ratings coming in at that same 47 mpg.

We were eager to drive the Fusion Hybrid to see if it achieved better gas mileage results than the C-Max, with which it shares a powertrain and which seems to return 35 to 39 mpg for most drivers.

The Fusion Hybrid weighs about as much as the C-Max, but it's longer and likely more aerodynamic, so we expected it to do slightly better.

It didn't.

On our usual test cycle, covering 244 miles this time--about two-thirds highway and one-third city and suburban driving--our Fusion Hybrid test car delivered 36.8 mpg.

And we also noted that our test car told us its lifetime gas mileage, over 8,370 miles to date, was an even worse 34.7 mpg.

Effects of temperature

We did our test with average temperatures in the thirties, about 10 degrees higher than our 8-day C-Max winter driving test over the long New Year's holiday week

Ford has argued that winter temperatures reduce battery performance, and real-world gas mileage from its hybrids will rise in the summer.

That's a fair point--we saw a 2- to 3-mpg reduction in the now-discontinued Ford Escape Hybrid, or about 10 percent of that car's 29-mpg combined rating --but it certainly doesn't explain all of the Fusion Hybrid's 22-percent shortfall.

We wonder whether summer mileage over the same route might rise to perhaps 40 or 41 mpg, and we hope to repeat our tests this summer to find out.

Comfortable cruiser

A handful of observations from our quick two-day test:

  • The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid really is a striking design, and the pale silvery green color called Ice Storm sets it off very nicely
  • It's a comfortable car to travel in, and will carry four adults comfortably for long distances
  • It "drives heavy," which is to say, it's less eager to be tossed around turns than the 1.6-liter EcoBoost Fusion with six-speed manual we drove last fall and you're aware of its mass
  • The adaptive cruise control worked well, and we were especially fond of the adjustment that varied following distance from Very Far Away to New York-close (our terms)
  • The front-collision warning system, on the other hand, gave us several false alarms for phone poles, a sharp rise in the road ahead, and one we couldn't source at all

Overall, we found ourselves disappointed with the Fusion Hybrid's gas mileage--but impressed by it as a car otherwise.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, test drive, Catskill Mountains, NY, Mar 2013

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, test drive, Catskill Mountains, NY, Mar 2013

Enlarge Photo

As we've said before, we think the Ford Fusion lineup offers several models of a great car. It even won the Best Car To Buy 2013 award from our sister site, The Car Connection.

But the hybrid Fusion does not appear to be a 47-mpg car.

The average of the gas mileage reported by 45 Fusion Hybrid drivers on the EPA's FuelEconomy.gov website is 39.0 mpg.

Based on not only our test results but dozens of reader comments and literally hundreds of forum posts, the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid seems to deliver 35 to 40 mpg in real-world use.

If you're considering a hybrid mid-size sedan, you should absolutely drive the new Fusion Hybrid.

Just don't expect to get anything like the 47 mpg on the window sticker.


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Comments (14)
  1. I'd encourage you guys to check out fuelly.com as well as fueleconomy.gov for individual owner mileage. The more numbers, the better the data!

    They have 54 2013 Fusion Hybrids posting, coming in at an average of 37.5mpg.

  2. @Chris: I assume the 54 drivers averaging 37.5 mpg is on Fuelly? The EPA site, as I noted in the article above, has 45 drivers averaging 39.0 mpg ...

  3. I have owned a 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid since last March. Overall I'm averaging a little over 40mpg. But for the last 2 months (the coldest time here in the Chicago area) I've only averaged about 36mpg. That's down about 10% which seems to agree with what you found. I put this down to a combination of the batteries being less effecient in the cold weather and the gas engine taking longer to get up to normal. Interestingly, last summer - no matter how hot it got - my mileage didn't seem to vary at all.

  4. I guess the real world 45mpg+ is NOT all that easy to make... You have to make some significant sacrifices like Prius in performance to make that happen. Maybe a Diesel is possible. But diesel carries more energy per gallon...

    This is why plugin makes the best sense. Even my Volt easily get 38-40 mpg in its extended range with my lead foot and Costco's 10% ethanol gas...

  5. Fusion competitors? So what about Mazda6, Subaru, Buicks, etc. What are they -- chopped liver?

  6. @Tom: True, there are mid-size sedans from Subaru (Legacy), Mazda (Mazda6), Buick (Regal), and VW (Passat), among others, but all of them sell in FAR smaller numbers than the heavyweights (Accord, Camry, Malibu, Fusion, Altima, Sonata). Of the secondary list, Legacy and Passat sell far more than the other two.

  7. I just took delivery of a C-Max energi a few hours ago. It is in the garage charging up as I write this. I have Pacific Power as an electric provider and if I do get the 21 mile range that Ford says it will cost me just 2 cents to go those 21 miles. They say that the city MPGE is 108 at 12 cents per KwH. What would that be for me as I only pay 5.6 cents per KwH?

  8. $0.02 for 21 miles? Are you sure?

    Typically, you get about 3-4 miles per KWh. So, 21 miles will take about 6-7 KWh (from the outlet) or about $0.015 per mile...

  9. Also, MPGe has nothing to do with $/KWh...

    MPGe is derived from the 1 gallon of gas = 33.6KWh...

  10. This is roughly consistent with what I have been seeing on my 2013 Fusion hybrid.

  11. I live near Cleveland and currently have 6,400 miles on my '13 hybrid Fusion. I've recorded all my Fusion fill-ups using Fuelly. My best mileage was 42 worst 32. My Fuelly average since new is 36.2 which included a road trip to Key West. I drive this car like a hybrid (very conservative). I love the car but I was expecting my mileage to be in the low to mid 40's. I think Ford got a little too aggressive with their marketing. 47,47,47 equals NO WAY!

  12. I am surprised that the milage isn't better. I have no problems getting 40-50mpg in my wife's 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid, so I can't understand how an additional 4 years of design refinements doesn't provide a real-world efficiency increase. Maybe Ford just needs to drop one off at my house and I will see how it really compares to the previous generation.

  13. I purchased my fusion about 2 months ago, drive about 30 miles a day to school and back, and with the average temperature being about 33....I get 43.6 mpg, and thats what I got figuring the ole fill it up then do the math trick, not what the on board tells you. One must remember when driving a hybrid, that what you get out is how you drive it, its not a race car, so if you drive it the way its supposed to, you will get the maximum mpgs.

  14. Not sure what your cars problem is, but my 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, with the heavier battery and a 2nd passenger and newly bought cases of wine, returned 42.3 mpg on a 390 loop from L.A. to Santa Ynez wine country and back. This was clocked after the EV battery ran out.

    I'm pretty satisfied with the mpg, that is when I'm not running on solar powered electricity.

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