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.
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.
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
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.