2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Rental Review, Avis/National

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_front three fourths

Notable standard features on Avis’s/National’s 2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid

  • 2.0L 4-cyl (141-hp, 129 ft-lb) + electric motor (118-hp, 117 ft-lb); net power (188 hp); 0-60 mph (MotorTrend) ~ 8.5 seconds
  • 47/47 (city/hwy) mpg fuel economy
  • Regular gas
  • 12.0 cubic feet trunk volume
  • Power windows, heated side mirrors with integrated blind spot inset mirrors and turn signals, locks
  • Manual tilt & telescoping steering wheel with audio & cruise controls
  • 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, manual passenger’s seat, cloth
  • Automatic headlamps
  • Dual zone automatic HVAC with rear ducts
  • 6 speaker audio with AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sync (6 months free Sirius subscription)
  • 4.2” center stack display with MyFordTouch
  • Inputs: 2 x USB, RCA audio/video, SD Card, Bluetooth/Sync
  • 60/40 split-fold rear seats

PROS:

- Real world fuel economy
- Retains Fusion’s driving characteristics
- SmartGauge with EcoGuide
- Seamless and quiet transition between gas/electric motors

CONS:

- Little external differentiation from the regular Fusion
- Reduced trunk size
- Slightly noisy gasoline engine on initial acceleration

CONCLUSION: Wow, I achieved fuel economy even better than the EPA rating.  A comfortable hybrid that’s still engaging to drive.

National Car Rental is deploying the new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrids in its fleet.  These new vehicles are classified as SCAH or standard class hybrids.  I suspect the new Fusion Hybrids will be replacing the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrids, but we’ll see if this theory holds.  No Mr. Pixel Rally on this photoshoot unfortunately, so readers will have to make do with my cellphone camera.

See my review of the very similar 2013 Ford C-MAX SEL Hybrid here:

2013 Ford C-MAX SEL Hybrid

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_rear three fourths

The base trim Fusion SE Hybrid starts at $27,995 MSRP and this particular Tuxedo Black on Black rental was also equipped with the optional 505A Luxury Package (+$2,000; including heated leather seats with memory, 10-way power front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel & gear shift knob, foglamps, electrochromatic sideview mirrors) for a total as-rented price of $29,995.  The Hybrid also wears unique 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Externally, I would prefer greater styling differentiation from the conventional Fusion besides slapping on a few “hybrid” badges.

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_engine

The Fusion Hybrid possessed similar driving characteristics to the conventional Fusion and the regenerative braking surprisingly had a very natural feel.  The gas-electric mode transition was seamless and quiet, although initial acceleration from the gasoline engine was slightly noisy.  I haven’t driven the Kia Optima Hybrids, but the Fusion Hybrid was a much better driving vehicle than the Toyota Prius.

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_interior dashboard

The big question of course is whether the Fusion Hybrid performs up to its highly touted EPA fuel economy rating of 47/47 on both the city and highway.  I’ve been following the Consumer Reports allegations and after this rental, I find their arguments unpersuasive.

When I drove with my foot constantly on the gas pedal, I averaged ~ 30 mpg.  When I stuck to the speed limit, I averaged 43 mpg.  When I made judicious use of cruise control (and even turned on the heat, heated seats, and radio), carefully coaxed the car into EV mode whenever possible, and stayed in the right hand lane, I averaged an impressive 57 mpg.  My route consisted of about 50/50 city/highway driving.  I took advantage of the high cruising speed of EV mode to ease off the gas pedal and increase my mpg.  The Fusion Hybrid’s ability to travel at 60 mph on electricity alone was impressive.2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_SmartGauge with efficiency leaves

The hybrid efficiency leaves and EV indicator greatly facilitated fuel economy optimization.  The car even displayed a trip report indicating the amount of gasoline used, EV miles, and combined fuel economy.  It was akin to playing a video game.  A significant downside of the hybrid system is that a large portion of the trunk is occupied by the battery pack.

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid_17 inch aluminum wheels

Lastly, Ford engineers incorporated a thoughtful touch into the SmartGauge.  Frequently with such quiet hybrids, I’ve had trouble discerning whether the car was drivable or just in electric accessory mode.  On the Fusion Hybrid, a warning screen displayed in the left hand gauge indicating that the car was “ready to drive”.

Given my very positive experience with the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, I’d very much like to rent the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, but I’m not sure if rental agencies will purchase it.

***UPDATE (02/17/2013)***: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrids have been spotted in the Avis fleet and they are better optioned than National’s.  I rented a Fusion SE Hybrid from Avis in Deep Impact Blue with Luxury Package - Equipment Group 505A (+$2,000; including 10-way heated leather front seats, electrochromatic mirrors with memory, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, fog lamps) and the Driver Assist Package (+$1,000; including BLIS with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Auto Highbeams, Rain-sensing wipers, 110V outlet) and SE Hybrid Technology Package (+$895; including Rearview camera, Sync, MyFordTouch with 8″ touchscreen) and Moonroof (+$895) for a total as-rented price of $30,890.  Great ride!

For more information on the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, please refer to the manufacturer’s website here:

http://www.ford.com/cars/fusion/trim/hybrid/

 

  • Inputs: RCA audio/video, 2 x USB, SD Card, Bluetooth/Sync

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