Some people eat sandwiches on their lunch breaks; we eat asphalt. Well, not literally (our dental coverage isn't that great), but we do occasionally get to test drive cars while the rest of the world is slurping soup. This week we took to the streets of Manhattan for a 15-Minute Test Drive in the 2013 Ford Fusion.

We hit the Westside Highway at 2:15 on Tuesday with Cruel Summer blasting through the iPhone link, dreams of a pit stop at Harlem's 125th Street Dinosaur BBQ, and one question buzzing in our minds: Can the 2013 Ford Fusion drive as well as it looks?

The refreshed body of the '13 Fusion is a huge upgrade from the 2012 model. It takes a much more chest-out and handsome stance. The previous Fusion wasn't an unattractive car, but it lacked the aggressive styling favored by the most successful models on the road today. The old model had a flat, stay-in-line feel, while the new model looks like steam should be fuming out of that large, open grille. 


The 2013 model looks like steam should be fuming out of that large, open grille.


From the driver's point of view, the Fusion offers a comfortably seated position with a clean digital dash. With limited time to spare, we quickly hit the gas and the 240hp, 2.0-liter inline-four EcoBoost engine pushed a surprising amount of jolt out of the gate. The six-speed SelectShift automatic trans came with paddle shifters, a nice touch, but they were so small and unpronounced that they become a driver's afterthought. The steering seemed relatively stiff, though changing lanes isn't exactly the most taxing test, and the car handled well along the curvy lanes surrounding Upper Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. 

From the passenger's side, we noticed a few things that were incongruous with the classy exterior. For one, the strange, center touch module isn't as graceful as we'd initially imagined. Attempts are made at a contemporary look, but Ford would have benefitted from hiding new technologies in more traditional trappings. The rear seats are spacious and well appointed, and the trunk space is more than adequate for a mid-sized sedan.  

Snap verdict: The 2013 Ford Fusion attracts attention from the outside. Once inside, driveability is obvious but the some points of the interior design detracted from the overall experience. We'll be back in this car soon, as one thing is certain — Detroit's latest demands a rigorous workout.