• The IIHS rates vehicles in four categories.
  • Top scores of "good" in all categories earn Top Safety Pick designation.
  • The Fusion is completely redesigned for 2013 model year.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the completely redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion a Top Safety Pick for earning the best possible ratings in each of its four safety evaluations.

The completely redesigned midsize sedan received a score of "good" in the institute's offset front crash test, side crash test, roof strength test and head restraint evaluation. Ford says the Fusion's Personal Safety System, which adjusts frontal airbag deployment to match the size and weight of the vehicle's occupants, deserves some credit for the high safety marks.

Ford's Personal Safety System includes a variety of sensors to determine the safest way for airbags to deploy. Such information as seat position and passenger weight are included in the equation, allowing the airbags to respond differently for shorter or taller passengers.

In addition to dual-stage front airbags, the 2013 Fusion includes front side airbags and front and rear curtain airbags. Driver and passenger knee airbags are also included to minimize injuries to occupants' knees in frontal crashes.

The predecessor to the latest Fusion also scored highly in IIHS testing. The 2007-2012 Fusion is an IIHS Top Safety Pick too. It earned four stars in government crash test rating, falling just short of the top five-star mark. The new 2013 Fusion has not yet been tested by the federal government.

Ford offers driver assistance technologies on the new 2013 Fusion that were not available on the outgoing model, some of which could be beneficial to passenger safety. These include lane departure warning with active lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control and driver monitoring aimed at ensuring driver alertness. A blind spot monitoring system is also available and includes a rear cross-traffic alert to warn the driver of possible obstructions when backing out of a driveway or parking space. Until recently, technologies like these were available only on high-end luxury models.

The 2013 Ford Fusion is arriving now in Ford showrooms. Pricing starts at $21,700 for the base S model. The midrange Fusion SE with Ford's advanced driver assistance features is priced at $29,885.

What it means to you: Safety is often a top consideration for new-car buyers. IIHS testing indicates that the latest Ford Fusion offers occupant protection that's among the best in its class. Plus, those willing to spend a bit more can bolster safety with a list of high-tech driver assistance features typically found only on more expensive luxury models.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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