2013 Ford Fusion to debut Lane Keeping System at 2012 NAIAS

Article by Anita Panait, on December 31, 2011

Ford is offering the Lane Keeping System (LKS) in its 2013 Fusion, which will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January. The Fusion will be the first mainstream midsize sedan in North America installed with this system. Ford will also be mounting the LKS on its 2012 Explorer. The carmaker plans to install the LKS on its vehicles over the next few years.

The LKS utilizes a mounted camera on the vehicles’ windshield to watch the road and detect an unintentional lane departure. The driver must turn on the Lane Keeping System. The system will be enabled once the vehicle reaches a speed of 40 mph and lane markers are noticeable on the road. A lighted green icon – a car inside two lanes, indicates that the LKS is on.

The LKS uses electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to give a vibrating alert to the driver. If the driver does not respond to the alert, the EPAS will steer the car back into the lane.  When the LKS detects the car is nearing the edge of the lane without an activated turn signal, the lane marker in the icon turns yellow and the steering wheel vibrates like hitting strips.

If the driver does not respond to the alert, the icon turns red and EPAS will nudge the vehicle back to the center of the lane. If the vehicle still drifts, EPAS will add vibration to the nudging. The EPAS will turn off once the drive turns the steering wheel, hit the brakes or the accelerator. The LKS offers three levels of assistance depending on the situation: Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid and Driver Alert.

Ford is once again highlighting its commitment to be one of the fuel-efficiency leaders in the auto market. It has unveiled the new Ford Fusion that comes in conventional, hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms. Its conventional engine lineup includes two EcoBoost four-cylinder engines (1.6-liter and 2.0-liter) and a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine.

Its engine has an automatic start stop system that could shut off the engine during a temporary halt and could be paired to an automatic or a manually shifted six-speed gearbox. The new Ford Fusion is available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. When powered by the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the Fusion could return class-leading four-cylinder fuel economy of 26 mpg/37 mpg city/highway.

For those seeking a high-performance version of the Fusion, they could opt for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine mated to a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. This Fusion model could be specified with 19-inch wheels and tires and is fitted with all-wheel drive system that could allocate extra torque to the rear axle when needed. Heralded as the 2010 North American Car of the Year, the new Fusion Hybrid now enters the market with an evolved version of its battery pack. Previously, the Fusion Hybrid gets its juice from nickel-metal hydride batteries that allow electric-only max speed of only 47 mph.

Now, the Fusion Hybrid sources its electricity from new lithium-ion batteries that are lighter and more powerful than their nickel-metal hydride counterpart. These new lithium-ion batteries allow the Fusion to travel as fast as 62 mph in electric-only mode. Complementing the electric motor in the new Ford Fusion Hybrid is an all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine, which is much smaller from 2.5-liter powerplant in the previous model but is still as powerful and efficient.

In fact, this new engine is expected to return a best-in-class fuel economy of 47 mpg city and 44 mpg highway. With these figures, the new Ford Fusion Hybrid could outclass – in terms of fuel economy – its mains rivals like the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid (by 4 mpg city and 5 mpg highway) and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (by 12 mpg and 4 mpg).

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