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2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Launched as a 2013 model in October 2012, Ford’s second-generation Fusion Hybrid rapidly ascended the sales ranks, and is presently America’s fourth-best-selling hybrid.

Thoroughly face-lifted and overhauled, the 2013 Fusion Hybrid improved on what was already an otherwise well-regarded full hybridization of Ford’s midsized, five-passenger family sedan.

As Ford prepared to launch the new Fusion and other hybrids, the company targeted Toyota models and the Dearborn automaker has since issued triumphant press releases indicating “conquest” and hybrid sales records and new faces visiting Ford dealerships.

Ford was more outspoken before a controversy broke out over the Fusion Hybrid/C-Max’s 47-mpg EPA mileage rating, but the strategy still seems to be working. As of the half-way mark this year, Fusion Hybrid sales were up 283.6 percent compared to June 2012 with 20,283 sold versus the Toyota Camry Hybrid which was up 11.7 percent with 23,834 sold.

Yes, Ford is accelerating, has reported this year’s first quarter as its best ever for hybrid sales, and just today announced software recalibration intended to help the Fusion and other hybrids to maximize their fuel efficiency.

To be sure, hybrids are yet a sub-market

, but we thought we’d look closer at what the commotion coming from Ford is all about.

Additional oomph is supplied by the 118-horsepower, 177 pounds-feet of torque from the electric motor which provides seamless drivability through the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT) driving the front wheels.

System power is rated at 188 horsepower and our in-house guess-o-meter says torque not disclosed by Ford is in the neighborhood of 200 pounds feet.

Naturally, a stop-start system is employed and the engine generates power into the battery along with regenerative braking.

The 3,668-pound car is capable of all-electric running for spurts up to 62 mph (100 kph) – soon to be upgraded to 85 mph (137 kph) – and may toggle back and forth depending on severity of accelerator input.

Acceleration estimates vary, but 0-60 takes around 7.3 seconds, 0-30 requires around 3.2 seconds, and a standing quarter mile run was clocked by one publication at 15.86 seconds at 90.4 mph.

The Fusion Hybrid – as is also true for non-hybrid Fusions and the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi – has become one attractive-looking family car.

Leading the way are headlights like squinting eyes and a new grille treatment borrowed from Aston Martin with variations thereof finding their way onto other midsize and smaller Fords.

The new look is combined with a sleeker flowing silhouette that deviates from the traditional, “three box” design of powertrain/cabin/trunk.

“Our design goal for the new car was to give the mainstream sedan buyer a top-drawer visual experience, adding some emotional appeal to an already sensible choice,” said Chris Hamilton, Fusion chief exterior designer.

The car rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, and is 191.8 inches long overall. Three trim levels are offered from the new S to SE which we drove, and Titanium.

Features include Projector Laser-Cut Headlamps, LED tail lamps, touch-pad keyless entry, and 17-inch wheels standard, with 18-inch wheels for the Titanium. More information about the program is available on the web site at www.hmhid.com.

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