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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

This manual Ford Fusion is a "Four Door Sports Car" with maximum potential

There's no question I had "beige Camry fever" after experiencing the last-and possibly best-of the breed for myself. The Camry went from an unassuming beige wrapper with a standard five-speed manual transmission in 2007 to a legit, close ratio six-speed, gutsy 2AR-FE powered performer in 2009.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/manual-ford-fusion-four-door-sports-car-maximum-potential...
26 REPLIES 26
relton
Advanced Driver

Didn't Ford actually make a Fusion Sport fairly recently? It sounded attractive to me, but I never got to drive one. Decided to stick with rear wheel drive BMWs and Mustangs.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Yup, it was kind of like a Taurus SHO with a little less power and much less weight. They also made a V6 automatic sport in this bodystyle. Nice, but if you want a stick...
gpsuya
Advanced Driver

Nice Fusion. A sleeper of sorts. Blends in with everything else on the road, but far more enjoyable when rowing thru the gears &/or negotiating the twisty bits.
CitationMan
Gearhead

I totally love the generic nature of this Fusion, not a crease or line out of place. I always liked the metal bar grille on these, too. What seals the deal for me is that it handles! This car is a sleeper that you can have a ball with at normal speeds, and no one is going to notice how much fun you’re having. I’m also a fan of this last era of cars without the TV in the dash. Can we all agree that the world would be better place with 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engines in small cars instead of today’s wheezing turbos?
miata93
Advanced Driver

Just get a MoMo shifter knob. I know that they seem expensive, but they are sooo nice.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I like that idea. They will be more expensive than a Mondeo knob with international shipping, but that would be impressive...especially with a wood wheel from a Lincoln MKZ or a Fusion SEL(?)
miata93
Advanced Driver

The Anatomica Long version of the MoMo would be my choice in that. I like the idea of the Milan front clip.
CrazytownRoz
New Driver

Go find the following Mopar unicorns and I'll REALLY be impressed.

- 2002 Dodge Stratus R/T sedan with a manual
- 2002 Chrysler Sebring GTC convertible with a manual 

 

AFAIK these are some of the last cars sold with that old-school 80s style "stepped" shifter boot. 

 

In terms of Non-Mopars, the Pontiac G6 with a manual is a rare-bird as well...

Sajeev
Community Manager

Great ideas!  And yes, challenge accepted! 

Snailish
Instructor

I didn't know such a Stratus existed. My first bought-used-from-a-dealer car after graduation was a grocery-spec 1999 Stratus. Really fun car for being nothing special.

 

I could totally get into a unicorn of that... preferably in the purple colour mine was.

ap41563
Intermediate Driver

You know between this Fusion and that Camry. I would be tempted by the Fusion because it has Factory Bluetooth and ABS. I could be wrong but I thought the CE Camry did not come with ABS brakes and that was another reason a CE was cheaper than an LE.
Sajeev
Community Manager

The older CE Camry didn't have ABS, but it looks like all Camrys after 2007 had ABS standard. Maybe that's why they dumped the CE trim level in 2007 also? 

DaveH
Detailer

ABS was mandated in 2000 for passenger cars.
JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

I voted to buy the Camry last week, but now I'm changing that vote and saying get the Fusion. Our 2006 Fusion SEL with a V6 auto was a great family car that was still fun enough to drive. And it being a Ford fits in well with some of your other collection if I recall correctly. I'm going this weekend to pick up a mid 90s F150 single cab short bed, with a 5.0 and manual transmission, that has been parked in a shed for many years due to dead fuel pumps in both tanks. I don't need another Ford, but I figure I've already got 3 older Ford trucks and an antique Ford car, I might as well get this one too since it'll fit right in.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I like the way you think. I don't need another Ford, but here we have one for sale that will fit into my collection too, so....

RallyRaid
Detailer

Talking unicorns, probably the only Lincoln LS in this country has a few days left in an online auction. I never knew Lincoln produced that car in RHD, and I still can’t find the total numbers. Regardless, they evidently did build a few for the Japanese market and this one made it to Australia. V8, 60,000km and seems to have been extremely well looked after. 

So of course I’ve been researching the model, including Sajeev’s 2006 TTAC’s review. Straight line performance seems pretty horrible for a V8, I don’t care for automatics, and buying it would mean selling my LS1/T56-swapped E39. Still, where am I ever going to find another like it?

Sajeev
Community Manager

Wow, if that was in America I'd buy it. That's one heckuva Unicorn, and you can probably make it feel a lot faster with an aftermarket tune. I am sure its like most Fords where torque management kills a lot of the fun. 

RallyRaid
Detailer

At AU$10,500 (less than US$8k), I think someone got a bargain. I was tempted, but the confusion on both Jag and Lincoln forums regarding the interchangeability of S-Type parts made it too big of a risk for the payoff.

DrillNFill
Pit Crew

Back in 2011 we flew to Tucson to visit my in-laws and we got this-generation Fusion as a rental. It had an automatic but truth be told it was a blast to drive and I was very impressed (and I Daily a Hemi powered Mopar). Having it for a week was a pleasure and it really blasted down those desert back roads.
I thought it was a mistake when Ford went “upscale” with the Fusion, the next generation looked bloated and lacked the “fun” attitude the 2011 I drove had. Great write up
genethemachine
Pit Crew

I am a huge sucker for manual sport sedans. The best one I’ve ever owned has been an 07 Honda Accord Sedan, made only in 06-07 it was the absolute best! I still regret selling it to buy a 3 series. The Accord was quick-mid 14s quarter ( I tested it he he), had great handling, and a limo like back seat. I miss it, and regret selling it daily.

Other cool honorable mentions I’d like to own:

2006-07 Mazdaspeed 6
2012+Buick Regal
2002-06 Nissan Altima SE/SE-R
2006 Pontiac G6 GXP
Acura TSX(especially 1st gen, would also settle for the facelift)

Those some of the coolest rare fwd/awd sedans. One day I’d love to collect them all.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I'm not quite feeling this one Sajeev. However I totally agree on your want for an old Taurus SHO. Yummy.
CJR
Intermediate Driver

That reminds me of the 1992 Ford Tempo I ordered new. 3.0 Vulcan V-6 with 5 spd manual. A nice comfortable responsive car.
Kurt_Kimmerly
New Driver

Sajeev, I've been driving a Fusion SE 2.5 / 6MT for coming up on 8 years now; bought it when I found out my wife was pregnant and nothing in my fleet of Miatas, regular cab pickup trucks, Fieros, and other automotive detritus was going to adequately function as a 'family vehicle'. Its a solid commutabeater that's 'good enough' at just about everything, but not outstanding anywhere, and I'm really fretting about what I'll have to replace it with once the rustbelt finishes consuming it.

Here are my observations:
*Compared to the 13-14 manual Fusions, the 2010-12 car is more comfortable, more ergonomically intuitive, has better outward visibility, has a better clutch, and is more nimble.
*In your pictures, you've got the steel wheels; These are the Achille's heel of the whole car; ditch them for just about any aluminum wheel (OE or aftermarket) and reap the ride/handling/acceleration benefits of losing 10+ lbs PER CORNER in unsprung mass.
*Virtually nobody did the USB-based SYNC software update, but the last update (2014 or 2015 maybe...?) really did improve the experience and makes it so your Spotify song data actually displays on the center stack. Check your version and update if it's old. Be careful updating; it'll say update complete when it's really not- Don't key off during the software update - be patient!
*The e-brake design is marginal at best; expect it to let you down when you need it most.
*Like all Mazda spawn, the rockers rapidly rust through from the back side just ahead of the rear wheels
*I used some spray lube to clean the grease out of the shifter assembly- it gets stiff in sub-freezing weather and makes it hard to push down to get reverse.
*The 2.5 is a long-stroke tractor motor- it'll lug along happily at 35 mph in 6th gear.
*Keep an eye on the belt tensioner; the bearing wears out rapidly; even faster if you buy aftermarket replacement tensioners. I'm on the 3rd belt tensioner but still the first alternator and water pump.
*These cars got Takata airbags on both sides so make sure you've had both recalls performed.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Fantastic assessment. The steel wheels were first to go, the first thing on my modifications list. Well, a theoretical list, as I decided I don't need another car and shouldn't buy this. 😞

RobH
Intermediate Driver

Sajeev, I am a bit late to this party, but thank Jack for me finding this article via his Milan references! I drove a 2008, 2011 and 2014 Fusion - all SE models with the 2.5, before my company switched to Escapes - by far the best 'drivers' car of the bunch was the 2011. Perfect size (the 2014 just seemed big and your explanation of it was perfect) great seating position, nice steering wheel and shifter location, unbelievably fun to drive through the twisty highways here in British Columbia as I navigated the province for work. I outfitted the 2011 with V-rated Goodyear Comfort Treds and had a blast! Now, to be transparent, it wasn't a 6-spd., but it did have manual shifting capabilities with the Automatic. Diced around with an Audi A4 one day and as they turned off the highway, we acknowledged each other with smiles and waves. Even with Dunlop DZ-102's on the 2014, it never matched the handling of the 2011. Eagle F1 Asymmetrics on the Escape with the 1.5 turbo made that SUV fun, but again, not even close to the 2011 and the 2.5 (yes, I worked for a major tire company!). You should buy that Fusion!! Unless it is also sold by my late writing - surely there are others... 🙂
Sajeev
Community Manager

Sadly I passed on this car, even though I still want it. Like, badly.  But I have too many cars and too many projects...something had to give and the 6-speed Fusion did just that.