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by Jez Spinks

The 2013 Ford Fusion has just been unveiled officially on the eve of the 2012 Detroit motor show, revealing the look and details of the medium-size car that will retain the Mondeo nameplate in Europe and Australia.

Ford’s new Fusion will go on sale in the US in the second half of 2012 but, as the Mondeo, isn’t expected in Australia until 2013.

The 2013 Ford Fusion/Mondeo presents a striking new look that Ford’s design boss J Mays claims will set a styling benchmark in a segment populated by models such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord Euro and Mazda6.

“I think [with Fusion] we’ve got a bit of a milestone moment with this car,” said Mays. “This is not just another C/D [medium size] car. It’s going to be a real contender in that market.

“And when I look at the competition, whether it’s Volkswagen, Toyota,  Hyundai, Kia, Nissan … we’ve got a really strong product that we’re bringing to market.”

As expected, the Fusion/Mondeo is influenced by last year’s Ford Evos concept.

The Fusion’s front end – notably the grille and narrow headlights – seems to have been inspired by current Aston Martins.

The new Fusion is the latest global model under the blue oval’s ‘One Ford’ manner, and the overall styling – and the nicely balanced proportions – is clearly more of an evolution of the outgoing European Mondeo’s ‘Kinetic’ design than the previously separate US-focused Fusion.

Ford says it expects the Fusion/Mondeo to achieve best-in-class fuel efficiency whether customers opt for the ‘Ecoboost’ petrol models or hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

The turbocharged direct fuel injection Ecoboost models include a 133kW/233Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder and a 177kW/339Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

The latter is the engine – including likely similar outputs – that will power the Ford Falcon Ecoboost model out in April.

Diesels will also be in the mix again for the Mondeo in Europe and Australia.

The new Fusion could have even greater relevancy for the Falcon after Ford executives last week hinted the company’s new global large car could be based on the front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive Fusion/Mondeo platform – either with a slightly stretched platform or simply stretched sheetmetal.

J Mays told Australian motoring media at last week’s Delhi Auto Expo, where Ford launched its new EcoSport baby SUV, that the Fusion/Mondeo would influence the design of the new large car that will also replace the Taurus in the US.

The new Fusion’s underpinnings includes an all-new multi-link rear suspension, with Ford claiming the model will remain a driver’s car. More higher-strength steel has made the body 10 per cent stronger than its predecessor, according to the car maker.

Technological features for the new Fusion/Mondeo will include active parallel parking assist from the Focus small car, blind spot warning warning and a lane departure warning system Ford says is exclusive to the medium car segment and found only in the luxury car category.

Ford is also promising improved noise refinement and higher-quality cabin materials for the 2013 Ford Fusion.