2014 Ford Fusion 1.5-Liter Rated at 36 MPG

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Ford's adding a new engine to its Fusion lineup in the hopes of increasing fuel economy. Turns out, the turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is slightly less efficient than the current 1.6-liter EcoBoost.

The 178-horsepower 1.5-liter, which is optional on SE models, is rated at 23/36/28 mpg city/highway/combined with the six-speed automatic transmission, according to the EPA. For 2014, the 178-hp 1.6-liter can only be equipped with a manual transmission and is rated slightly higher at 25/37/29 mpg.

Like the 1.6-liter, the new 1.5-liter will be available with stop-start engine technology. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder (22/34/26 mpg) remains standard on the S and SE models, and the Titanium retains a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 22/33/26 mpg (front-wheel-drive versions.)

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2014 Ford Fusion: What's Changed
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By Jennifer Geiger | October 9, 2013 | Comments (32)

What Does This Button Do?

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Steering wheels provide this series with great content because they're often overcrowded with buttons. The 2013 Ford Fusion's crowded steering wheel seems to have run out of space and relocated one confusing button to the center console. The button in question displays a steering wheel and the letter "P."

Don't worry, we believe the P steering wheel button is sanitary, plus the Fusion doesn't have a clean diesel engine with urea injection. Another more logical and non-bathroom-related guess is a variable power-steering assist system, which on other cars varies the wheel's power-steering assist for comfort or performance; on a button, it's often represented by a steering wheel.

By Joe Bruzek | September 30, 2013 | Comments (10)

2014 Ford Fusion: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Ford adds a new turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that is available with stop-start technology. Inflatable rear seat belts are available on all models.

Price change: The starting price for the base Fusion S is unchanged at $22,695 (including destination charge), the midlevel SE is up by $25 and the Titanium models are up by $300.

On sale: Since August

Which you should buy, 2013 or 2014? The 2013; changes on the 2014 models aren't significant enough to make them more desirable.

Ford hit a home run with the redesigned 2013 Fusion, which features class-defying styling, competent handling and a roomy, functional interior. Sales took off early, and Ford has had a hard time keeping up with demand.

A new turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is a new option for the SE model and is sold along the current 1.6-liter. The 1.5-liter and the standard six-speed automatic feature stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at red lights as a fuel economy feature. However, city and highway mileage are rated 1 mpg less for the 2014 1.5-liter compared to the 2013 1.6-liter that had stop-start as an option. For 2014 the 1.6-liter can only be equipped with a manual transmission. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder remains standard on the S and SE models, and the Titanium retains a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four.

By Rick Popely | September 16, 2013 | Comments (5)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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There was very little movement of note on this week's list of most-read reviews, as the 2014 Jeep Cherokee retained the No. 1 spot. The lone newcomer was the 2013 BMW X1, the smaller sibling of the X3 that Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek called "downsizing done right." Bruzek's X1 review checks in at No. 9. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
2. 2014 Infiniti Q50

3. 2013 BMW 3 Series
4. 2013 Toyota RAV4
5. 2014 Subaru Forester
6. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

7. 2013 Toyota Avalon

8. 2013 Chrysler 300

9. 2013 BMW X1

10. 2013 Ford Fusion

By Matt Schmitz | August 25, 2013 | Comments (0)

Honda Accord, Civic Remain Top Targets for Thieves

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If you own a Honda Accord or Civic, or a full-size Ford pickup truck, you might want to take a moment to make sure your auto-insurance payments are up to date. You drive one of the top three most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. That's according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's just-released "Hot Wheels" list, which examines annual vehicle-theft data submitted by law-enforcement agencies across the country to the National Crime Information Center to determine the makes and models most-frequently reported stolen during the previous year.

As in past years, Honda Accords and Civics by far were the most-stolen vehicles in 2012, totaling 58,596 and 47,037, respectively, with full-size Ford pickups coming in a distant third with 26,770 thefts. Older Accords and Civics eclipsed newer Hondas in theft frequency, which NICB attributes to improved anti-theft technology. Most of the makes and models return from the previous list; the only newcomers were the Nissan Altima (No. 9) and Nissan Maxima (No. 10), knocking the Ford Explorer and Nissan Sentra off this year's roster.

By Matt Schmitz | August 20, 2013 | Comments (4)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2014JeepCherokee

The 2013 Toyota RAV4, a long-term tenant of the top spot on our list of most-read reviews, has at last vacated the premises to make way for our new No. 1, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The 2014 Infiniti Q50, 2013 Dodge Charger and 2013 BMW 3 Series follow at Nos. 2, 3 and 4. And, finally, refusing to drop out of sight entirely, the RAV4 rounds out the top five. Here's what else was popular:

1. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
2. 2014 Infiniti Q50
3. 2013 Dodge Charger
4. 2013 BMW 3 Series
5. 2013 Toyota RAV4
6. 2014 Subaru Forester
7. 2013 Toyota Avalon
8. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
9. 2013 Chrysler 300
10. 2013 Ford Fusion
By Matt Schmitz | August 18, 2013 | Comments (0)

EPA to Update Procedures to Keep Up With Industry

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In the wake of Ford lowering the EPA combined city/highway mileage by 4 mpg for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, the EPA plans to hire some 40% more employees to audit gas mileage and revamp its rules on what needs to be tested.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

Chris Grundler, who directs the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told USA Today the agency will "update general-labeling regulations" — the crux of the issue for the C-Max rerating.

The EPA elaborated Thursday in a press release: "Developed in 1977, EPA label regulations allow, but do not require, vehicles with the same engine, transmission and weight class to use the same fuel economy label value data, since, historically, such vehicle families achieve nearly identical fuel economy performance." As we reported in a 2012 investigation, carmakers can voluntarily rerate cars — which, for example, Toyota does with its Prius variants, according to USA Today. But they don't have to.

By Kelsey Mays | August 16, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford to Reimburse C-Max Owners For MPG Discrepancy

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At a press conference this afternoon, Ford announced it would reimburse current owners of model-year 2013 C-Max vehicles $550 for a 4-mpg difference in its EPA combined city/highway mileage. Lessees will receive $325. Further updates for the 2014 C-Max could raise mileage beyond 43 mpg, which applies to the 2013 C-Max only.

Ford says it voluntarily rerated the 2013 model because the current car matches the Fusion Hybrid's mileage under the EPA's "general label rules." Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, told reporters those rules date "back to the 1970s, and they were created by the EPA as a general means to provide fuel economy labels without having to test every single vehicle in the industry." Most cars are rated using this rule, Nair said.

As we reported in November 2012, that policy allows the EPA and automakers to rate cars with common weight and drivetrain characteristics under the same mileage label — but it can be problematic, as in this case where "combining sedans like the Fusion Hybrid with crossover utility vehicles like the C-Max hybrid under a single, general label could result in anomalies," Nair said.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (3)

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

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Ford will lower EPA mileage on the C-Max hybrid to 43 mpg in combined city/highway ratings — a drop of 4 mpg compared with today's 47-mpg rating. The automaker will announce full details at a press conference later this afternoon, and we'll update you as more information becomes available. Citing two unnamed sources, the Detroit News reported the matter minutes ago. EPA rules allowed Ford to issue the same rating for the C-Max as it did the Fusion Hybrid because the two cars had family similarities, the newspaper reports, but the decades-old procedure doesn't suit hybrids as well.

Loopholes and Fuzzy Math: The Tangled Science of MPG Ratings

The move comes amid a string of criticism. Consumer Reports said in December 2012 that its fuel-economy tests rendered mileage in the high 30s for both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max. The same month, a California law firm filed a class-action lawsuit that claimed real-world hybrid mileage for the C-Max fell well below EPA numbers. However, one Cars.com editor achieved the stated EPA mileage on the C-Max in his commute, and we logged mileage in the low-40s over more than 100 miles of testing.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Ford Expands Inflatable Seatbelt Availability

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The safety features war is on: Honda may be the first automaker to make backup cameras standard across most of its lineup, but Ford is focusing on backseat safety. The automaker is expanding the availability of its rear-seat inflatable seatbelts.

The industry-first safety feature, which debuted on the 2011 Explorer, combines a shoulder seatbelt and a tubular-shaped airbag that inflates in a crash. Ford announced today that the seatbelts will be available on the Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi sedans for 2014.

By Jennifer Geiger | August 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

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