• 2013 Fusion will include auto start-stop for $295 extra
  • Ford says fuel economy could increase by up to 10 percent
  • System provides seamless transition when restarting

Ford recently announced that it would offer fuel-saving auto start-stop function in its upcoming 2013 Fusion sedan. The redesigned 2013 Fusion will be the first non-hybrid midsize sedan available with the feature in the U.S. The technology could improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent for drivers who spend most of their time in the city.

According to Ford, the auto start-stop feature will be available for just $295 to Fusion buyers who opt for the automaker's new 172-horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder powerplant. Already available on several luxury vehicles and nearly all hybrids, the feature is designed to save fuel by shutting off the engine when idling, like at a red light. When the driver releases the brake pedal, the engine switches back on, allowing the vehicle to accelerate. While Ford says the system is likely to improve fuel economy by just 3.5 percent for average drivers, those who do mostly city driving could find auto start-stop boosts their gas mileage by up to 10 percent, leading to a major cost savings.

"We expect the average Fusion driver with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Auto Start-Stop will save about $1,100 more than other midsize sedan owners during five years of driving," said Samantha Hoyt, the Fusion's marketing manager. "That's cash in their pocket and time saved with fewer trips to the pump."

While a major complaint about auto start-stop systems in other vehicles is the lag between a driver releasing the brake pedal and the engine restarting, Ford says that its system has the two actions seamlessly integrated. According to the automaker, its auto start-stop technology was specifically calibrated for smooth transitions and designed to be nearly imperceptible.

Whether or not Fusion buyers opt for auto start-stop technology, they will almost certainly be impressed with the sedan's fuel economy. According to Ford, Fusion models powered by the tiny 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will be able to get up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway, while the upcoming Fusion Hybrid will deliver "at least" 47 miles per gallon - better than rival hybrids from Hyundai and Toyota. And if that's not enough, Ford is also planning a plug-in hybrid version of the Fusion, dubbed the Fusion Energi, which is expected to achieve more than 100 miles per gallon "equivalent" - the EPA's fuel economy rating system for electric vehicles.

Ford has not yet announced pricing for the 2013 Fusion, which was released earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show and is expected to go on sale in the fall.

What it means to you: Ford is clearly focused on fuel economy with its upcoming 2013 Fusion sedan.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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