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6 Finalists for Best Car and Truck of 2013

Ford Fusion

The 2013 Ford Fusion was among the most eagerly anticipated cars of 2012, and Ford succeeded in bringing upgraded styling, improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency to the hotly contested midsize-sedan category.

"Until a month ago, I though Fusion had it locked up" to be car of the year, Brauer said. But a few things altered his perception. For one, he said, he took a more careful look at all the criticism of the Ford Sync in-vehicle communications and entertainment system. "It is messed up, not as good as it should be," he concluded. "The voice recognition is not there." He said GM's CUE and Chrysler's UConnect are better systems.

Additionally, Brauer said that after driving the Honda Accord, he reckoned it is better, even though it "is not quite as nimble as Fusion."

Also, Ford has two Fusion recalls this month, one to fix a headlight problem and one because of problems that could cause engine fires. "Fusion will be a fabulous car for Ford and it will be selling like hotcakes," Brauer said. "But Ford has got to get its launches down."

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