The 2013 Ford Fusion is aiming squarely for the top of the pack: the automaker put tentative price figures on its Ford Fusion configurator website this week, and if these figures hold true to the final price points, it appears that the Fusion's $22,495 base price (not including destination) could place it at the top of the midsize sedan segment.
Ford says that the prices on the Ford Fusion site are merely tentative, and that things may change, but even these early numbers show the Fusion moving decidedly upmarket in its pricing strategy. A basic Fusion with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission (including a projected destination charge of $795) will cost you $23,290. That's about equal with the 2013 Nissan Altima ($23,280), and thousands more than competitors like the 2012 Honda Accord ($22,270) and 2012 Volkswagen Passat ($20,765).
For that $23,290, owners will get steel wheels, cloth seats, and the simpler, touchscreen-less version of Ford's Sync system, as well as keyless entry and automatic headlights. From there, Ford appears to offer an SE trim level with alloy wheels and power seats for $25,290, a $31,790 Titanium version that adds larger wheels, premium audio, MyFord Touch, and leather heated seats, and a $28,790 SE Hybrid that has the same trim as the SE, but adds a hybrid powertrain with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission.
If the Ford is at the top of the market in base trim, it's in exactly the same position when you add some options. We pit the Ford Fusion against six other competitors, the 2012 Kia Optima, 2012 Hyundai Sonata, 2013 Nissan Altima, 2012 Toyota Camry, 2012 Honda Accord, and 2012 Volkswagen Passat. We also optioned each one up to include heated leather seats, a sunroof, satellite navigation and satellite radio, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, and a sub-200 horsepower engine--basically giving each the most amount of content without adding high-performance engines.
The Fusion in question was the SE 1.6-liter EcoBoost with the SE Luxury Package, which cost $30,775. That puts it at the top of the heap: similarly optioned cars ranged in price from the $29,165 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5 (with leatherette) to the $30,645, four-cylinder Honda Accord EX-L w/ Navigation.
All in all, the Ford will offer class-leading features (start-stop technology, a sub-200 horsepower turbocharged gas engine, active parallel parking assist), but owners may need to contend with some class-leading prices. No one ever said that beauty and brains didn't come at a cost.