Meet Chris. Chris is a good friend of mine and a disgustingly handsome and successful young man. He’s 28 years old, has a mid six-figure job, lives in a swanky suburb of Boston, and dates a model who also happens to race motorcycles. Oh, and he also owns a 2013 Shelby GT500. Feel free to start hating him… now. Unfortunately, Chris is impossible to hate. He’s a genuinely good dude who comes from a long line of car guys. His family owned a Ford dealership for decades, and as a result, he’s a self-proclaimed Ford fan.
So when he received a promotion at work that caused him to start driving a lot more than he had previously, Chris did something sensible. He parked the GT500 in his garage and bought a Fusion on D-plan.
But it wasn’t just any Fusion.
Chris picked me up from Onyx Hotel in Boston to head out to dinner on Tuesday night, in part to celebrate my thirty-somethingth birthday, and in part just to hang out. When he rolled up in his 2013 Titanium White Fusion SE on black 18″ factory rims, I was initially disappointed, as I had been counting on checking out the Shelby.
I started to say as much when I got into the passenger seat when I noticed something incredibly surprising in the center console.
“Hey, is this a manual six-speed?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yah, buddy!” Chris replied in his stereotypical Boston accent. “Check this out.”
Chris proceeded to roll down the windows, which I had been ready to protest due to the thirty-six degrees fahrenheit temperature. As he quickly accelerated towrd Cambridge, I heard it. Whoosh. Oh snap. Ecoboost.
Chris is an accomplished driver, with dozens of hours of track time in his Shelby. (The fourth one he’s owned.) He’s also done more than a couple Lemons races in the Northeast. He deftly maneuvered through traffic, demonstrating the lateral grip of the Fusion through the tunnels underneath the Chesapeake. The turbo 1.6 whined and hustled on command.
“Dude, how did you find this thing?” I laughed. “There’s not a dealer in the country that floorplans a manual Fusion SE with leather interior and black 18″ rims.”
“I ordered it. The dealer’s a buddy of mine. When I put the order in, he said, ‘You better f—ing buy this thing. I’ll never sell it.’ ”
“He was right, you know.” And as I said those words, I started to wonder…why?
We valeted the car at The Beat Hotel in Cambridge, a subterranean restaurant near Harvard Square. The food was fantastic, the music was at least a valiant effort to mimic Michael Buble, and the waitstaff was both attentive and far too attractive. All in all, a good night. As we left the restaurant, we waited on the curb for the valet to return Chris’ Fusion. Although the other attendants returned with vehicles such as an F30 3 Series, G coupes and the like, our attendant hopped out of the car and said to Chris, “This is an awesome car, bro.”
And you know what? He was right. So I had to ask.
“So how much did this thing run you?”
“Dude, I sat with the order sheet for like an hour. I picked out everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t. 1.6 Ecoboost, Six-speed, Leather, full infotainment, rims, etc. Altogether, it was around $29k.”
I dare say at that price, this Fusion is, indeed, a game-changer. Or at least, it should be.
But unfortunately, there aren’t enough Chrises out there. Enthusiasts always talk about wanting a manual transmission sedan that scoots, but here is one that anyone could walk into any Ford dealer in America and buy, and sales of them are rarer than steaks in Laredo. It’s hard to see why Ford would keep offering this car. When they inevitably remove it from the order sheet, I’ll shed a tear for it. It’s incredible.
When Chris dropped me back at the Onyx, I watched as the valets whistled in appreciation as it drove away. Valets at a luxury boutique hotel, who must see everything under the sun, mind you. I shared their appreciation.
Ironically, Chris is now getting a company car. Doubly ironic, it’s a Fusion. When he sells his unicorn of a car, I’ll be sure to tell all of you, so you can finally have that used manual transmission sedan you’ve been dreaming of. Problem is, if they stop making new ones, there won’t be any used ones to buy. And that will be a shame.