Late last week, we got in this 2013 Ford Fusion SE.
It's powered by a mid-level engine, an EcoBoost turbocharged engine making 178-horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power heads to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with a sport mode.
Photos: 2013 Ford Fusion SE in Times test garage
The car Ford sent us was fairly loaded (you'll see a lot of this). The base price on a Fusion SE with this engine is $25,290, but this Ginger Ale-colored version (no, really, that's what Ford calls it) sells for $30,680.
That's a spicy meatball, but it comes with a lot of kit. Here's how the price breaks down:
Ford Fusion SE 1.6-liter EcoBoost base price with automatic transmission: $25,290
Luxury package: $1,505 (includes leather seats that are heated and power in the front, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob).
Driver-assist package: $1,000 (includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and assist and some very annoying automatic high beams).
Tech package: $1,000 (includes backup camera and dual-zone climate control).
Active park assist: $795 (the car will parallel-park itself...more on this later).
Voice-activated navigation: $795. Automatic start-stop: $270. Reverse sensing system: $295.
Because this car comes with the option of an automatic start-stop system, its fuel economy is rated at a respectable 24 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Fusions without this option take a 1 mpg hit on each rating.
The 2013 models are trickling into dealerships now. Is it enough to top Honda's new segment-busting 2013 Accord, Toyota's popular Camry or Nissan's sport-ish Altima? Stay tuned for more updates.