Each year the Green Car Journal selects one eco-friendly vehicle to receive the award of “Green Car of the Year”, and for 2013 that car is the Ford Fusion. The Fusion finds itself in good company, alongside past winners that include the Audi A3 TDI Clean Diesel (2010), the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (2011), and last year’s winner, the Honda Civic GX natural gas.
And it had to beat out some stiff competition, including the Toyota Prius C, a hybrid that boasts an average of 50 mpg, the Dodge Dart Aero, which gets 40 mpg despite the fact that it’s fully petroleum powered, and the Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv (the odd name refers to the system’s ability to clear the sky of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the manufacturer), which offers a decent rating of 30 mpg. But what caused the elite panel of 11 judges (including Carl Pope of the Sierra Club and Jay Leno, amongst others) to honor Ford with this prestigious award? Here are a few reasons they liked the new Fusion, and why car-buyers likely will, as well.
The first reason, and perhaps one of the most attractive to buyers, is that the new Fusion will be available in three different models, including varying price points and levels of eco-friendliness. The lineup begins with the standard Fusion, a petroleum-powered vehicle that provides approximately 28 mpg overall for a starting price that’s just over $21,000. These aren’t the best stats in the bunch, but for drivers that aren’t yet ready to make the switch to a significantly greener vehicle, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. What puts the Fusion over the top, though, are the next two models. The hybrid version gets a boost in the area of fuel economy with a rating of 47 mpg, while the Energi model, a plug-in hybrid, is reportedly capable of delivering an estimated 100 mpg, not to mention one of the few tax rebates still available for green vehicles. But even aside from economy and eco-friendliness, the new Ford Fusion has a lot to offer drivers.
According to British designer Chris Hamilton, a lot of emphasis was placed on creating a “beautiful-looking car”, and Ford had its sights squarely aimed on taking a chunk out of the Camry and Accord market with a sleek, sophisticated exterior that looks very little like any Fords currently cruising the roadways. The boxy front end features a wide grill and slit headlamps (as opposed to orbs), and a streamlined body give this model a silhouette redolent of newer muscle cars (what Ford refers to as a “silhouette innovation”). And the lineup benefits from more than just a sporty exterior: the insides are made to match.
Built on the Mondeo platform (unlike previous iterations that were based on the Mazda 6), the 4-door sedan boasts a roomy interior front and back, with plenty of head and leg room. But thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission, featuring a torque converter, aerodynamic trickery on the front and rear corners of the car, and a 2.5-liter engine (in the standard model), this car is capable of speedy and precise handling. And the price is certainly right – in fact, that was one of the main reasons the panel selected the Ford Fusion as the winner, citing the fact that the features offered at this price point could definitely lead to massive sales, effectively having a major impact on the environment. When you take all of these factors together, it’s easy to see how Ford’s new Fusion lineup beat the competition to be named Green Car of the Year for 2013.