Times' Test Garage: 2013 Ford Fusion SE

Times' Test Garage: 2013 Ford Fusion SE
The base price on a Fusion SE with this engine is $25,290, but this Ginger Ale-colored version we're testing sells for $30,680. (David Undercoffler / Los Angeles Times)

Welcome to Better Know a Model, a regular feature in which we give you a quick look at what's in the

Los Angeles Times

test garage to preview vehicles we'll be reviewing soon.

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.

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

, Toyota's popular


? Stay tuned for more updates.