By on October 28, 2013

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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.

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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.
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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.
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154 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Car You Want to Buy Used in Three Years (And The Man Who Had the Courage to Buy it New)...”


  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Ugh, white is not a colour. How did it get to be the most popular choice for cars? And it makes this unique build look like a rental special.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      It’s Apple’s fault, of course. You can track “rate of new cars sold in white” vs “popularity of the iPod” and it tracks more or less perfectly.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Not to be snarky, but who buys Ipods anymore?

        • 0 avatar
          aristurtle

          Nobody; they released the last proper iPod in 2009. That’s not the point. Apple made glossy white into the trendy expensive high-tech color, rather than the boring appliance color, and it spread from there to everyone else, from Nintendo to Wall-E and of course to the automotive market.

          Ironically, this caused Apple to shift towards making all of their products out of machined billets of aluminum because white plastic is now passe or something.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            And now every luxury car company offers aluminum trim…

          • 0 avatar
            typhoon

            http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/will-whirlpools-ice-white-kill-the-stainless-steel-trend-174907

            And now appliance companies are returning to white as a premium finish! It’s a weird world.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            White as a premium finish? That’s odd as basic white was always the entry level finish. I hope all white interiors don’t become “in” again. I accidentally insulted a friend’s friend when I saw their new house in the mid 90s. I commented that I never saw somebody prime new walls so neatly. The guy said in a huff “this is the proper permanent finish”. Sure enough, every single surface in the house was white – right down to the phone, the switches, even the knobs on the range. Floor tile was white, and the wood floors where whitewashed. Oh, the white painted garage had a grey floor. Ugh. I felt like I was getting ready for a surgical procedure. To each his own but man, such a lack of imagination.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Ford is now rated an abysmal 26th out of 28th in vehicle reliability according to the latest Consumer Reports reliability survey.

            Ford scrapes the bottom along with Tata.

            Meanwhile, here are your 5 most reliable automotive makes:

            2013 Consumer reliability top 5 brands

            Position Brand

            #1. Lexus
            #2. Toyota
            #3. Acura
            #4. Audi
            #5. Mazda

          • 0 avatar
            chicagoland

            The poor scores in CR are from the hard to learn infotainment systems in new Fords.

            The cars run fine, just know it alls wanting a car that is ‘driverless’ so they can text all their virtual ‘friends’.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            That’s a tried, worn screed that isn’t true.

            Ford is now officially in Tata-land because of bad motors & transmissions more so than MFT.

            Good luck & god speed to the out of warranty buyers of this and other Ford vehicles “in a few years.”

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Deadwieght

            And the difference between the #1 rated car and the worst rated car? IIRC from Micheal Karesh it is something like one more repair on average per year. All modern cars are pretty darned reliable, I’ll cheerfully take a little extra hassle over driving a soulless appliance. So far my BMW has had fewer warranty issues than my Mother’s Prius-V, BTW – one vs. two. And my “Fix It Again Tony” has had fewer issues than either, at NONE. Anecdote does not equal data, of course, and YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      If you live in a hot sunny area like Houston a light colored car helps it stay a little cooler. Yea it’s commercial fleet dull, but after awhile it doesn’t really matter.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        This.

        As I said in last week’s thread, I used to be a skeptic, but then I had a choice of white and nothing else, and I’m glad fortune smiled that way.

        When it is 105*F out, it’s nice to go out to lunch in a white car with tints and windshield shade. Also nice to hose-off salt or back-road dust. Oh, and some jerk dings your door with theirs? White is uniquely fixable. A decent color white car is highly visible yet discreet.

        Those black rims on the white Fusion look pretty solid, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I agree…white kills the deal for me in the future…

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I just bought my first white car (by default) and I love it. After silver, white shows a designer’s lines best.

        This was after 3 silver or gray cars. I also like medium-dark blue and maroon on cars. That’s about it for me.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Pfft – relatively speaking manual sedans are a dime a dozen. Try finding a manual transmission station wagon… Of course, if you are going to find manual transmissions on a dealer lot anywhere, New England it the place. We are cheap SOBs up here.

    That would certainly be my choice for a Fusion too though.

    Of course, now queue the peanut gallery cries of “$29K for a 4-banger, OMG??”, “turbos will never hold up”, and “I drive in traffic so I NEED an autotragic!!”.

    • 0 avatar
      abhi

      This…. I lived in Houston for a time and commuted quite far in traffic with a 6MT GTI

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      $29k for a 4banger would be fine if it was the 2.0 turbo. The 1.6, though…

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        That is one ugly ducklimg!

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        $29K is quite a steep price to pay for that car. I’ve seen loaded FWD Titanium Fusions go for $28K OTD.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I had similar thoughts on pricing.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          “Pfft – relatively speaking manual sedans are a dime a dozen.”

          “29K is quite a steep price…”

          Are you mad?? Please go out and try to find a 6 spd manual sedan with all the goodies in it. This near impossibility makes this car a Unicorn and quite the find. Many a car maker offers a manual sedan (in the states) but only in the basest of base models and with it, you get a seat and a steering wheel and maybe some power stuff but always with the cheesy fabric seats and no sunroof or infotainment option. Totally worth the price. Let me know when his done babying that Fusion and I’ll find her a good spot in my garage.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Compared to manual wagons? Per a friend at headquarters, BMW sold *15* manual transmission RWD 328i wagons in the US in 2011. Probably only one of them was a 328! of course. :-) The only other choices are the VW Jetta wagon and the Cadillac CTS-V wagon, so by comparison even fully loaded manual sedans are dirt common.

            I suspected that $29K was MSRP, makes sense that it turns out he paid ~$25K.

            Of course ultimately it boils down to we enthusiasts need to suck it up and buy NEW, AND buy the car the way we want it, so that the automakers have a business case for providing the option. If fewer of us were cheap bastards, there would be more interesting options available.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @krhodes1, you reminded me of a tongue in cheek C&D piece that suggested that a manual transmission Jaguar X-type wagon should be more collectable than a similar vintage Rolls Royce convertible because of the smaller number imported.

        • 0 avatar
          OM617

          I purchased a 13 6MT as a DD. It had been specially ordered by another client who for whatever reason rejected it. There were no other manuals in the system in the Greater Toronto Area (pop 6+million). One dealership said they couldn’t order for stock, only available through special order.

          There is no difference in price between the 1.6 manual or automatic, so any gripe is the usual astonishment among some of the B&B with new car prices generally

          Considering that I like old MB, (W126, w124, r129) and have driven plenty of the new ones (and BMW), I have no regrets with my purchase. The car drives more european than most of VW offerings anyways

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Here here, sounds a bit high for a “base” version.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Yeah, the 2.0 turbo would be much more entertaining. And much more reasonable at that price point.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    If only it weren’t a Ford.

    I’ve never had any luck with Fords; all of them have been money pits from the moment I laid hands on them.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Ditto. Other than the pick ups, they don’t last either. Shame, some have nice sheet metal.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I guess my near 22 year old station car never got the memo. Never garaged and very high cycle to boot. Oh, only a tiny perforation from rust. That subframe though….

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          How to keep subframe rails rust free, or at least dramatically slow the process of oxidation of this steel, would make for an excellent TTAC article (Sajeev?).

          This is particularly for those of us living in places that use a lot of road salt to battle snowy & icy roadways. I’ve seen cars in the salt belt that have pristine sheet metal all around, yet rusty frame rails dwelling down below, and some of these vehicles are quite young.

  • avatar
    dwford

    5 years ago I managed to get the same type of Fusion: 2008 Fusion SEL stick with heated leather and roof. Of course, it stickered for under $23k back then. Extremely rare car, and yes Ford stopped offering that combo in 2008. After that, only the SE came with a stick. People just don’t want to drive stick any more. Too bad.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    $29k for 178hp and a 3400lb chassis? At least you’re right about being a good buy in 3 years. The 6MT will destroy the resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not necessarily. It just makes it harder to find the right buyer. The right buyer will pay MORE for the stick once you find him/her. I got ALL the money and then some for my ’08 Saab 9-3SportCombi 6spd when I sold it in ’11. More than $5K over what the BMW dealer offered me in trade.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        My brother’s experience selling his 5MT Outback XT (turbo 2.5) was the opposite. If you can sit on the car waiting for that special buyer, sure, but in 2 months of Autotrader and Craigslist, he had 4 bites, all lowball offers, and the one that actually offered him something more than dealer trade turned out to not really have the money. I turned my 6MT GTI around pretty quickly, but a lot of people bought or ordered their GTIs with a 6MT, especially considering the worry about the dual clutch gearbox’s less than stellar reputation. I imagine your Saab buyer market was more like the GTI than the Outback. I imagine the Fusion market is more Outback than 9-3/GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Then obviously Autotrader and Craigslist are not the right marketing venues. Afterall, if you want quick and easy, just trade the thing in for whatever the dealer will deign to give you. If you want to make money, it usually takes hard work.

          I would have posted an MT Outback Turbo on Subaru enthusiast forums first – THAT is where you will find your buyer, not the great unwashed masses. Just like when/if I sell my RWD manual transmission BMW wagon the very first place it will be advertised is Roundel, the BMW club magazine. Assuming one of my friends doesn’t snap it up first – my cars tend not to make it to the advertisement stage.

          • 0 avatar

            krhodes1, don’t forget your pal DK either…

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            IIRC, he had it posted on legacygt.com and nasioc. Your 3 will probably sell fine because it is a RWD, 6MT wagon with some emphasis of being sporty. The Outback, and Fusion in question, don’t have the right bones to make that case. FWD with a tiny engine that needs a turbocharger to make the same power as every 4 cylinder Camry on the road doesn’t light the “performance driver” up the same way a RWD wagon with a 3 liter I6 does. The Outback had the power, but the handling was so sloppy because of the lifted chassis that no one was going to lay extra money out on it. Remember, this car won’t sell in a vacuum. The performance minded driver that absolutely has to have a 6MT and would pay extra for a 6MT has a lot of better choices out there in this theoretical used car market 3 years from now: GTI, GLI, Focus ST, Mazdaspeed3, slightly older A4 and 328i. Your 328i at least brings something to the table you can’t get elsewhere: RWD, MT, wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            chicagoland

            Enthusiast forums expect to buy their ‘favorite’ car cheap, and sell high. Seen it on all different sites.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “My brother’s experience selling his 5MT Outback XT (turbo 2.5) was the opposite . . .”

          Crazy to hear. Must be a region without too many manual drivers and/or without real winters. I see that and the Forester XT as the holy grail of a winter car for Western Canada. I can’t think of anything that would be more fun on our winter roads than that with a set of Hakka 7s or ContiIceContacts. The performance of a WRX with better clearance and suspension for deep snow, pot holes, and gravel roads. A really nice one-owner Forester XT popped up on Kijiji 400 miles away a few months ago. My buddy was on the phone within a few hours of the posting and ready to make the trip but it sold within a day.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I’d say ditto. I wanted a off-lease 6 speed Saab Aero convertible. It took me 3 months to find it but I eventually did…

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    “Tunnels under the Chesapeake”??? You sure you were in Boston?

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      THAT is how fast this thing is with the 6MT. Boston-to-Maryland in ten minutes flat.

      (Bark: Note that there aren’t any tunnels under the Charles, either.)

      • 0 avatar
        Bark M.

        Geography fail? :)

        There’s a tunnel. It goes under something. That’s all I know.

        • 0 avatar
          Jesse

          Hrm.. there’s the Callahan tunnel, but that takes you to the airport. There’s a tunnel under Prudential/Copley that takes you to the Mass Pike. It’s possible you took this west to get to Cambridge.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            There’s the O’Neal Tunnel (93) and the tunnels on Storrow. Storrow Drive is the most scenic for visitors, but sometimes I use the Masspike to the Allston Tolls. Much faster, especially if there’s a Red Sox game.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Hey, it’s not your city. No biggie.

          I’m guessing you were thinking about the underground hellscape that is I-93, the former elevated expressway that was submerged under the Financial District by the Big Dig. It has a turn every fifteen feet, an exit (from either side) every twenty feet, an accident every 25 feet, and a 35mph speed limit that serves only to laugh at (when traffic is flowing at 60) or snarl at (when traffic is jammed). And it flows up onto a bridge before it crosses the river.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    It was my understanding that you could only get the 2.0 in the Titanium Fusion.

  • avatar
    Monty

    If only it came as a 2 door coupe – we’d have one in the driveway right now.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I thought enthusiasts were supposed to want the HIGHEST HP engine with the 6 speed. 1.6 Ecobost, nah… give me the 2.0 with a 6-speed manual. Oh wait Ford doesn’t offer that combo in the Fusion.

    I mean really, I didn’t hear anyone saying that the previous generation Fusion 4cyl manual would be collectable, but I did here people whining about no manual with the V6.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    The reasons you will not see this are not due to customer taste. Capacity (planned take rate) is why you won’t see this. There are only so many motors that Bridgend can manufacture and you have a big platform that relies on the 1.6L – the Escape. Also, figure in 3K per year in volume for the Fiesta ST. This isn’t factoring in the Getrag UK facility’s capacity, either.

    The biggest reason you won’t see this combination next year is tax reasons. What specific taxes (importation, CAFE, etc) I didn’t bother to ask.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    I’d buy it. And love it. The Fusion is a sweet car anyway, IMHO. Throw in the ecoboost and a 6-speed, and it’s got *WUB* written all over it.

    And white is fine.

  • avatar
    VA Terrapin

    Since when is a heavy, low powered car an enthusiast’s choice?

    A V6 powered Camry, Altima and Accord will destroy this car in a straight line while offering similar handling, room, comfort, safety, convenience features and better reliability.

    If for whatever reason someone thinks that Toyota, Honda and Nissan are beneath Ford, there are still other choices like the ILX, Verano turbo, Mercedes CLA, Jetta GLI, and soon the Audi A3. Any of these cars will be lighter, more powerful and more prestigious than the Fusion.

    You have to be a Ford fanatic to believe that this car is the best $30K sedan for enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      The comments about how fast a Camry is make me laugh. If they are so fast why don’t I see them at the track or autocross. Hell they don’t even cruise out to the hill country for drives.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        According to Toyota’s website for MY14 Camry: “The performance-tuned Camry SE with the available 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6″. Nothing to sneeze at, esp when it could be had for similar money to this 29K Fusion with or without stick. I imagine you don’t see many at the track because well, mad Camcord power or not, its buyers are no doubt in the Camry typical demographic and are not out playing Smokey and the Bandit very often. How many Fusions of any generation do you see at the track or hooning around in the country?

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        SEs are no joke. They are tragically serious. Not bad for a 4-door appliance to pull with a V6 fauxpony.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        *Ahem*

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-toyota-camry-se-2-5l-track-tested/

        It has been done…

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        0-60 in 6.5, says the numbers I’ve seen.

        The numbers I can find for the 1.6 Turbo Fusion manual are 8.0.

        VA is right in terms of raw straight-line zoom, by the numbers.

        (I can’t speak for handling, having not driven either a current Camry or Fusion, but …

        And of course 28-Cars is absolutely right about why you don’t see track/cross Camrys. Not The Target Market.)

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      A CLA?!? What exactly does that car do better than any given midsize family sedan, other than give you free lattes in the service waiting room? (CLA 45 notwithstanding, of course.)

      And any fool who lets some perverse sense of “prestige” dictate their buying choices (over other priorities) deserves what they get.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Let’s see:

        A nicer interior (better materials, more interesting color choices)
        More of those thoughtful little premium car touches
        A better driving car (maybe not faster)
        A nicer buying experience (no pressure, very nice sales folks, possibly European delivery)
        A nicer servicing experience (free loaners, maintenance included in price)
        Not seeing 50 cars identical to yours on your daily commute
        That 3-pointed star on the hood and the center of the steering wheel – do not underestimate its ability to brighten your day.

        Whether the above is worth the cost of entry is a very personal decision. As I have said on here before, if the difference between a Camry and a 3-series is lost on you, enjoy your Camry and spend the other $20K on whatever floats your boat. I would rather walk than drive a Camry everyday, life is just too short.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “I would rather walk than drive a Camry everyday, life is just too short.”

          I see where you’re coming from BUT if the only choices I had we’re walk or drive a Camry, I’d be a Camry driving fool.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          No free maintenance on the CLA. Then again, no stick for the US, and it’s $10k more than this Fusion, if you equip the same gadgets. So not such a great comparison.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I was not really speaking specifically of the CLA, but rather why you would buy a premium car in general over the loaded version of an otherwise non-premium car. Even if maintenance is not free on the CLA, you will still probably get a loaner car, a nicer waiting area, free cappuccino, etc.

            The little details matter. Ford has sweated the details unusually well lately though, have to give them credit for that. Given the Fusion is effectively a European car that is not terribly surprising. And the CLA is ONLY $10K more expensive, a 3-series would be $20K more expensive.

        • 0 avatar
          Marko

          OK, maybe I was harsh on the poor CLA. I haven’t even seen a CLA 250 in person; I do have to confess that the one CLA I have sat in, a 45 AMG, was beautiful inside. The midsize sedans I was thinking of for comparison’s sake were the Mazda6 and Accord Sport, not the Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Your point is well taken if you fancy a 3′er, but it doesn’t seem like the CLA is going to deliver on all those things. The Camry or Accord SE could easily be dynamically better than the CLA. Your laundry list basically describes why a person buys the Lexus over the Toyota.

          Everything entry level German has cheap plastic interior just like every other car now, not like bank vault Audi/BMW/Benz of the 80s. Removing RWD from the equation really opens up a number of “lesser” cars to be just as good.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Too early to tell on the CLA. I figure if it is as good as a Volvo S60 it is good enough to justify its price, which is rather cheaper than the next step up the ladder.

            Having owned a number of mid-80s German cars, from W123 and W124 Mercedes to E28 and E30 BMWs, I find your thoughts of current German cars having lesser interiors rather humorous. Have you ever actually SAT in an old Mercedes? Sea of plastic, including the MB-Tex seats. Giant plastic steering wheel that would look at home in a school bus. And certainly my e90 is made of better stuff than any of the old ones were. And I bet the dash isn’t cracked in 10 years. The new cars are also far more reliable while requiring a fraction of the scheduled maintenance. The good old days were not actually all that good.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Yeah I guess we just disagree. Though my opinion was more formed by old Audis over the Benz/BMWs every one of them my ‘rents owned was rock solid. I know that stuff was all plastic/vinyl but it was soft, nice to touch, rattle free.

            I guess when you think of it BMW has always had cheap interiors, at least hard plastic way. They are no different now. Great seats and nice leather though.

            My old CamLexus is all soft touch stuff and the leather looks like new after 12 years. The only thing hard is the american maple wood. Say what you will Camry hatin is popular, Toyota used to turn out quality stuff. The stuff you said does hold water I can see all the little things that might have made someone buy this ES instead of a far cheaper Camry, but unless you drive the car you don’t see all those little things.

    • 0 avatar
      The Soul of Wit

      Diff’rent Strokes for diff’rent folks, bro Thankfully, there ARE enough of us Ford fanatics around for Ford to remain profitable selling these kind of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      The mid sized sedans with V6 engines all show the extra weight when driven back to back with the other engine options, it does affect handling. Their advantages really lie in engine note, straight line performance and high rpm output. So if they get beat or equaled by a turbo 4 in low and mid range output and the turbo 4 handles better (subjectively) then I, personally, would go for the turbo 4. Priorities and driving conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        VA Terrapin

        fredtal: What serious autocross driver races in a Fusion?

        Marko: The CLA is faster, more powerful, doesn’t look obviously derivative of a car from another brand, and should in all likelihood have better fuel economy.

        The Soul of Wit: There’s a reason why the guy mentioned in the article had to order his Fusion. If you’re an enthusiast, why buy a $29K Fusion with a manual transmission when bigger Ford dealers have similarly priced Mustangs and Focus STs in stock?

        tedward: Your point would be better if the guy got a 2.0 EcoBoost. The 1.6 EcoBoost would be adequate for normal driving but lacking when you want rapid acceleration.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Actually, I was thinking the Accord Sport would be the bogey for this car. Much more engine, and a slick-shifting manual. It’s true that you don’t get the leather seats . . . but you have a lot of spare change to use to figure out some custom, aftermarket seating if you’re into leather. And probably some money left to play with the suspension if you thought the handling of the stock setup was deficient. Unfortunately, the color choice is pretty limited, too. I’m not a big fan of white (I did own a white 67 Mustang GT, however), but the black wheels/white body combination on Bark’s friend’s car looks pretty good in the pictures.

      I think the death of manuals will be the fuel economy numbers race. With the computer controlling the shifting in the automatic and with increasingly efficient automatics (multi-speed, quick-locking torque convertors) the automatic is going to put better EPA numbers on the board than the manual, with the same engine. Lots of people buy the EPA numbers, even though the differences become increasingly less meaningful, once you get around 30 mpg.

      And, of course, the obvious trend of cars requiring less and less control inputs from the driver. I’m talking about not just auto trannies, but lane departure warning systems, adaptive cruise controls, radar-controlled low-speed automatic braking systems and the like. A car that keeps the driver busy operating it will seem increasingly strange to people.

    • 0 avatar
      SooperGook

      camry and altima CVT only and horrible handling. can’t get luxury options on a hand shaker accord other than power seats. wrx’s take premium, get bad fuel economy, and are higher on insurance. this is the best daily driver, non high line, MT sedan you can get out of the wrapper right now

    • 0 avatar

      German cars are heavy and there is reason why. Drive e.g. Mazda6 and Fusion and compare – two different philosophies. Depends on what you prefer.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I often base my buying decisions on what 20 year-old parking valets like.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Speaking of sticks being offered, Buick is selling a U-body minivan called GL8 in China with “6-speed manual gearbox” being the only option on all trims.

    Use Chrome and Google translate:

    http://www.buick.com.cn/gl8_258/specifications.aspx

  • avatar
    CoffeeLover

    Don’t forget, the $29K price is at D-plan. The fact that your friend qualified for D-plan (through his father) undoubtedly gave him more credibility that he would buy the special order, too.

  • avatar
    david42

    I’m sure it’s a nice car, and more fun than a normal Fusion, but… why would anyone buy this when BMW will sell you a used E90 with a manual transmission and a CPO warranty? You’d lose some rear seat space, but that’s the only downside I can think of. Heck, you might even find an awd wagon version, if you’re into automotive obscurata.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Different strokes. Different folks. Even with the availability of CPO E90s a plethora of other manual transmission cars are still sold. Let’s see, TL SH-AWD, TSX, Accord Sport, Mazda 6, G37 etc.

      You see a finely tuned German machine others see a headache waiting to happen.

      Choices are good!

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    Mid six-figures is $500K. I’m guessing you actually meant ~$150K.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Probably the former. $150K is below the median income in a lot of that area.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Not for a single guy less than 30yo. 150K median “household” income maybe, for two earners. As a single guy who is very much NOT under 30 but with no kids and a cheap/small mortgage (and a housemate too) I can tell you that kind of income means you can pretty much drive whatever you damned well please. And in my case multiples of that, since I have a place to put them.

        The kid is from a Ford family, and already has the ultimate Mustang in his garage – this seems like pretty much the perfect choice for what will essentially be his company car. He isn’t going to drive a Toyota OR a BMW. The gas mileage will be really good, so he will make bank on the mileage reimbursement. That was pretty much the deal with my first new car, an ’02 Golf TDI. I was driving 15K a year for work, it more than paid for the car. Even with my current job, I have made enough in mileage that my BMW will be paid off a year early at the current rate – I put any mileage money towards the note. Adds up fast at $.505/mile, and my cheap company doesn’t even pay full IRS rate.

        If the kid really is making $500K a year, he should be driving a Ford GT on the weekends, not a Mustang!

        I’d love to see a demographic survey of the TTAC B&B, it would be very interesting to see where we lay.

        • 0 avatar
          darkwing

          I can think of a few industries in the area where, if you’re any good, you can easily break $200K by the time you hit 30. And lots of people would consider “mid six-figures” to go as low as, say, $300K or $350K.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I wonder. Is it easy to live in Boston with $90K worth of new cars at $150K/year? Methinks maybe not.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        In Boston, 350k gets you 700 sq ft, a bathroom and one off street parking space. Seeing there are two cars side by side tells me his place of residence is easily 500+. Or he really lives in Pierre, SD.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Back of envelope calculations – take home on $150K is going to be roughly $6-7K/mo depending on 401K contributions, etc. $90K in cars on cheap financing for 5 years each is ~$1200-1500/mo, but he is leasing the Fusion, so probably less. So I would say, “I can’t imagine NOT being able to do it”. Especially if he has a roommate. Renting is cheaper than buying in Boston, per my various Boston based colleagues.

        I make less than he does, and the difference between just my BMW note and having both my BMW and FIAT notes is pretty much rounding error. Don’t have kids – cars are WAAAAAAY cheaper. Call it $75K of cars, $900/mo combined.

        For me, living in a somewhat cheaper area (Portland, ME), and with a $170K mortgage, I was able to live very comfortably on $50K a year with a roommate. I did not really have the money for new cars though, and mostly drove $5-10K used cars. As my income has gone up, of course my expenses have not, so now I can afford to buy new, and more than one at a time. You can’t take it with you, might as well have some fun while you are here.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          This isn’t meant as an insult, but your last several comments are a crystal clear example of the dichotomy between how many people who have or want children assess and prioritize “things” in their life, and how many of those who don’t want or have children prioritize “things” in their lives.

          This concept would actually make for a decent TTAC essay, actually, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I don’t necessarily prioritize “things”. Cars are my hobby, and I enjoy them greatly. Friends and family are VERY important to me, much more so than cars. Work is very important to me too – I am lucky to have a career that I absolutely love. I just see no particular need to reproduce to make my life whole. And there is no way around it, children ARE incredibly expensive, and if you don’t have any you will have an enormous amount of disposable income.

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        If you don’t have a family to support, yes. And he lives in *a suburb of* Boston, not in Boston.

  • avatar

    Here’s what I don’t get. This guy has owned three different GT500s over the past few years and now he has gone out and dropped another $30K on a Fusion that he’ll dump in about three years, too. Why not just drive the GT500 everyday and then get another in a couple of years?

    Chances are he’s going to do that anyhow once the new model officially drops and the current model is about as fresh as day-old bread…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m going to suggest he’s a “payment” buyer, so to him he keeps getting new cars and perhaps changes colors/options on each one in succession and his payment remains similar. A usually savvy wheeler dealer friend of mine just traded his loaded ’11 F150 STX 5.0 with 21K for a ’13 STX 5.0 the only difference being whatever changed with the touchscreen system and the truck’s color went from blue to I think black. I shook my head trying to understand his logic, all he could say is it was only going to cost him $20/month more in payment to “reset the mileage to zero” as he put it so why not.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I know Ford won’t lease me a Shelby. (And for good reason.) I’d be surprised if they would anybody, even a dealer’s kid…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You also reset the payment countown clock to 60, 72, 84 or 96 months when you do that, assuming the best case that you aren’t upside down int he first vehicle. Payment based buyers tend not to finance for less time than those terms.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s true Danio in my example I wasn’t made privy to the loan terms. This particular guy after trade, x plan, and negotiations told me he financed a hair under 30K in 2011. Two years of 500 and change payments at near zero interest is around 12K off of 30. His trade may have been worth slightly more than 18 with that package and those miles so me might only be financing near the same original 30 on a new one. I still wouldn’t do it personally because your now paying sales tax @ 7% again plus potentially paying registration again if you’ve already paid for the year on your trade but to each his own.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      Chris did this one on a 25K a year lease. He drives serious miles. I don’t know if a Shelby would be super fun in a Boston/NH/Maine winter.

  • avatar
    DGA

    This is the reason I cling to my 2008 Legacy GT, a manual with a 2.5L turbo, with a deathgrip. Unassuming small to medium sedan by todays standards that can scoot and is just not build any more (OK fine a WRX is). Interestingly enough, it’s MSRP ended up in the 29k range too.

  • avatar
    Bark M.

    Some points of clarification:

    The actual transaction price of the car was roughly 25,000. 29,665 was the sticker price.

    Chris owns his Shelby outright, as he has owned all of his Shelbys outright.

    And finally, yes, I do base all of my car purchases on what 20-year-old valets say. It’s how I ended up with a Boss 302.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “The actual transaction price of the car was roughly 25,000. 29,665 was the sticker price.”

      With the D plan dealer employee and family rebate/incentive. Although I wonder how good that is, because $4K off a $30K Ford isn’t the craziest thing I’ve heard of. The problem with getting a good price on this car is it very likely has to be ordered. On the other hand, *if* a dealer has one on the lot they are probably pretty interested in moving it.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Let’s go over the photo again. What we see here, is an allegedly handsome male who allegedly dates a model. Such allegedly existing male is wearing white-ish pants with black! socks and brown fancy leather shoes with shiny yellow buckles. I call BS on at least one of these alleged facts.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “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…”

    This isn’t new gents. My ’98 Ford Contour SVT was a 200 HP, naturally aspirated, 2.5L Mazda-mill that ran through a Getrag 5 spd and had every option you could find in a premium Ford car at that time. Sticker price was $23K. I drove it for three years while stationed in Germany, and ran her on the A3, A5, and A8 reaching 155 mph once on the way to Berlin. Surprisingly quick and with a little work, had the exhaust true-dual plumbed, speed chip installed, and cold-air filtration added a nice tone to the beauty.

    I’ve been waiting and waiting for Ford to get back to the SVT skunkworks for the Fusion. Looks like with the right contacts, I can have my cake and eat it too.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I really don’t think you need any contacts. You can spec out a Fusion 1.6 6MT on the Ford configurator. I’m sure most if not all dealers would gladly take your money.

      And you’re right this is nothing new. When I finished OCS I got a VW Jetta GLX 6MT. But it would be great if Ford offered an SVT Fusion. Use the 3.5 Ecoboost, and AWD and offer a manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I think the 3.5 Ecoboost is a bit on the big side for the Fusion’s engine bay. I’d be happy with a downsized V6 ecoboost between 2.7L and 3.0L (Hopefully not 2.7L for Dan and 28Cars have warned everyone of satan’s work in V6s below 3L). I doubt you would see that in a manual though. More likely the 8-10 speed automatic that is being jointly developed with GM.

        Ford dealers will gladly take your money for this build though. Most will make you deposit some cash up front. I’d make sure to have all the financing and incidentals lined up before order. I’ve special ordered three Ford products, only the Focus ST had a manual. I haven’t been required to give a deposit, but it was an A-plan order and they pre-qualified my finacing before hand.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          When Lutz came down from Mount Dearborn with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he spoke of these commandments: I command thee thou shalt not build engines with cylinders of six smaller than displacement litres of three or ye shall incur my unending wrath upon your patience and pocketbook. (I was trying to dial down the blasphemy a bit)

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Lutz told the following parable to a group of people who were quite assured of their business acumen. “Once praying in the RenCen were a Beancounter and an Engineer. The Beancounter strode to the front of the Lobby and stood as close to the entrance as he could. He prayed aloud; ‘Thank you for not making me like the rest of humanity thinking only of driving enjoyment and not the companies bottom line and how to save 5 cents per unit cost.”

            The Engineer meanwhile stood in the back of the Lobby and prayed silently; ‘Give me the strength to fight the evil that I see each day, such as those who would put the cheapest possible tires on a car and then give it a speed limiter to protect said tires.’

            Lutz turned to the crowd and said; ‘Who do you think was greater in the eyes of the Enthusiasts?’”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So say we all.

            Thx Principal Dan you made my night.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Every day I drive my 2004 Accord I silently thank the unknown person who bought it new. It is a manual 4-banger (aka the cheapest drivetrain combo possible), that someone decided to order in full EX trim with leather! It is a pretty rare combination, as far as I can tell.

    I’m currently searching for a Dakota V8 manual with leather, but it has not been easy!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I was recently offered a V6 Dakota 2WD manual, 110K, for 4 grand but turned it down. I haven’t see too many V8 Dakotas around, let alone stickshifts. If I ever do see one for sale I’ll be sure to pass it along.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I refuse to pay $29k for something with an engine hardly anymore bigger than what I could get in a vintage VW Beetle, yes modern tech makes the engine better, yes Ford hooked up a well-tuned turbo to make up for the gutless engine, but no amount of steroids will make a boy into a man.

    However, drop in the 2 litre from the Focus ST and now we’re talking, well that and ditch the front end. I stress the Focus;’s engine due to it having slightly more hp for some reason.

    Its a shame I can’t have the wagon variant while I’m at it with my insane requests.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      +1 yes this, 2.0 Ecobost at 275hp with six speed auto and torque vectoring from Focus ST into Fusion. That’s a family sedan that will get my blood pumping. Plus you one upped Hyundai by offering a manual when their turbo Sonata is auto only.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Fusion SHO anyone? The Fusion being the supposed fancier model means they oughta equip it with a proper mechanical limited slip, something I’d gladly toss out “Sync” and whatnot for.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      The ‘unwashed masses’ are demanding “100 mpg cars”, so CAFE goes up, and motors shrink. Get used to it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, now I just feel inadequate.

  • avatar
    StoneCrab

    Oh ye of so little imagination. How about a Buick Regal GS, with hi-output 270hp 2.0 turbo, performance exhaust, sport suspension, and 6-speed manual trans! They actually built it to be a performance sedan, rather than some quirky combination of options on an economy model. And it isn’t much more money than the Fusion…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Regal is probably one of the most premium riding sedans on the market today, if one is biased towards a firm yet supple Teutonic ride quality, ala BMW or Audi, which makes sense since it’s a rebadged Opel Insignia.

      Of course, it’s also front wheel drive, has a ridiculously small rear seat for a “mid size” sedan, isn’t exactly bargain priced and its long term reliability is far from established.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    This Fusion makes perfect sense to me. Except for that fact that I do not like sedans at all, it is almost a perfect commuter car. Comfortable, economical with adequate power for commute driving. MT for fun and to extract maximum efficiency from the relatively small motor and great handling as a result of low nose weight (compared to a V6, that is).
    The 2.0 would also handle well and have better torque but will come with a driving style dependent gas mileage penalty.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    Swanky Boston neighborhood? Are you kidding? I lived in Boston for over 20 years and recently moved to SF. Now this place has some swanky neighborhoods. Boston ain’t got nothing on that. Not even the downtown. Seriously.

    I saw more exotic cars in Los Gatos in 1 week that I saw in Boston in an entire year and I looked. Boston is an absolutely awful place to be a car guy all around. Horrible winters, awful drivers, terrible roads and on top of that a government that will do anything to make you take T and not your car. But I’m glad to see some people like Chris haven’t lost their enthusiasm.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Still trying to find out what is so courageous about a rich guy whose family owns a Ford dealership buying a cheap a$$ Ford Fusion at a discounted price? Did he even title it? You keep saying “owned” like he is an actual car buyer like you and I, he is not, he is “buying” these cars, driving them for a hot minute and then throwing them back on the lot, probably losing very little if any money at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      You’re incorrect. His family no longer owns the dealership. If you actually read the story, you would have noticed that he ordered the car from a friend at another store.

      Accurate username, though!

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      I was thinking the same thing. Where’s the story here? You want courageous, my wife commutes in a BMW E70 with 95k miles and no warranty.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The Fusion is a great-handling, great-looking, Euro-bred, comfortable sedan fatally let down by an execrable automatic. In fixing that one flaw, the 1.6T manual Fusion becomes, in essence, the best Traditional VW you can buy…while the mammoth 5-cyl Americanized Passat is in essence the best Traditional Ford you can buy….meaning both are doomed to poor sales until consumer expectations catch up with brand realignment.


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