By on July 11, 2014

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Ford’s confusing strategy of pairing a 6-speed manual 1.6L Ecoboost and a 1.5L Ecoboost automatic on the Fusion just got a bit easier to understand. There’s only one choice now.

Reports say that the three-pedal Fusion is now dead, with the 1.5L engine the sole option for the Fusion’s smaller Ecoboost trim levels. Given what must be an absurdly low take rate, this is hardly surprising.

Last year, Bark M managed to take one for what may be our first Reader Ride Review. It might be the only independent account you’ll ever see of this car.

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62 Comments on “Want A Ford Fusion 6-Speed Manual? Too Late....”


  • avatar

    I was just wondering this morning how long I’d be able to dream of this car. Everyone knew it was just a matter of time with the engine being leftover of the previous run…

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    In happier news, you can now get a Fusion SE with AWD.

    Now can we please have a Fusion Sport/ST?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Vive le Verano!

  • avatar
    dwford

    Why automakers continue this cycle with manual transmissions is beyond me. This list is too long to recount cars introduced with a manual transmission only to have the option dropped a couple model years in. Why bother? This seems to occur even on successive generations of the same car, its not like they didn’t know the manual didn’t sell in the last generation, so why try offering it again?

    - Says the former owner of one of the last 2008 Fusion SEL manual transmission cars before Ford topped the stick option on the SEL

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The SEL trim is all but dead too. Only the Flex and Taurus will have that trim after the new Edge shows up.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The cynical part of me thinks it’s the automakers saying, “See? We told you no-one wants a manual! We sold it, but nobody took it!”

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      Wait, are you guys serious? They keep offering it and cancelling it because all the “enthusiasts” insist that they won’t buy the car without a manual, then said enthusiasts almost completely fail to show up at the dealers with their checkbooks. Coupled with the fact that many (including the manufacturers) often equate “manual” with “sporty” (which is precisely the image they’re trying to project) and the existence of a manual option for the global market, that’s enough for them to offer it.

      Two years later, they’ve got plenty of buyers and the “sportiness” no longer matters and the enthusiasts never showed up, so they quietly dismiss it from the lineup.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Come on Ford. Even Buick has a few 6 speeds available.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Doesn’t seem silly to call it a “six speed” when the automatic also has six speeds?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        It’s a relic naming convention, from the days when the automatics were 3-speed, the base-model manual was column-shifted (3-on-the-tree), and the sportier models had [ooh] _4_gears_ [/ooh]. As the automatics got more gears, so did the manuals, but only recently have companies put out higher-geared autos than manuals (Chrysler 8-speed, upcoming 9- and 10-speeds from GM/Ford).

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    According to Cars.com, there are 14 new manual Fusions within 250 miles of metro Atlanta. Get ‘em while you can.

    So who does that leave, VW, Mazda and Honda? You’ll get plenty of choice if you’re looking for a manual Accord, and I think a manual Passat, as long as you want a diesel, but when I was looking, manual Mazda 6s were pretty scarce.

    • 0 avatar
      jaydez

      Last time I checked cars.com for manual fusions I looked at the details of them and all but 1 was an auto and just labeled wrong by a lazy dealer on the web site. This as for cars within 100 miles of CT though.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        In April and May I was shopping Auto Trader for manual trans family sedans (before I realized what the plans of my wife and I for more than 3 children meant to long term sedan ownership) and there was ONE Colorado Ford dealer who had 2 in stock (within 300 miles of Gallup, NM) but those were the only available. Looking at the pictures they were actually correctly labeled which was a shock to me because far too many online listings have dealers listing manu-matic cars or cars with floppy paddles as “manual.”

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Hell, most of the online ads I’ve seen list console-shift auto-equipped cars as “manual” because that’s either the default choice when entering a new listing and the guy inputting the options doesn’t notice/doesn’t care enough to change it, or maybe (and this is a reeaaally long maybe here) they’ve got someone of …advancing years putting in the cars who thinks console shift=manual.

          • 0 avatar
            dwford

            Reynolds, the company that most dealers use for back end inventory management as well as F&I is supposed to keep up all the model codes for the different brands, but they have some errors on the transmissions that lazy inventory people at the dealerships don’t notice. I used to have to manually adjust the base Sonata from being listed as a manual because Reynolds hadn’t updated it on their end. Which is a pain when that’s the #1 seller.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    Manual transmissions in American sedans are a death rattle when you go to trade in one. Yes there are a small group of buyers in this country that want them, but for the most part they are not desired. I was in the car business for over 30 years and if I appraised a attempted trade in especially in a American sedan if it had a standard tranny it was a 600.00 deduct from it’s condition ranking. Todays 6 speed automatics perform just as well and the fuel mileage difference is hardy an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Todays 6 speed automatics perform just as well and the fuel mileage difference is hardy an issue.”

      Can’t argue with that, except to say that 3 pedaled cars are more fun. Last time I was in the market, I drove an A3 first with the DSG and then with a stick. Both were nice drives and both performed well. The stick was MUCH more fun.

      Says the driver of a 3 pedaled 328i wagon….. but it’s not brown.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      “perform just as well”
      By what metric? certainly not adjusting the set in a turn with the throttle in any reliable and timely manner. Even just trying to jump up speed for a merge when a left blinker pops up ahead of you doesn’t work well if the auto box has to figure out a 2 or 3 step downshift before it can get more torque to the wheels. I’m not done shifting yet. I’m not alone.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        This. I’d say at least half the reviews on this site mention how crappy the slushbox performs. Yes, there are some very well-tuned and engineered automatics, but they seem to be the exception.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “Perform just as well” for 95% of the situations most drivers will encounter daily, that is to say, on the commute. I’ve never had fantasies of the Nürburgring while going to work Monday morning, and I doubt even most of the B&B have either.

        Of course, I subscribe to the school of, “go ahead and pass me, ya putz…I’ll see you at the next stoplight again, and you’ll get there 15 seconds ahead of me.”

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          You don’t have to drive fast to see the benefits of an auto. With todays relatively good autos, I’d actually say the opposite.
          In normal commuting I sometimes just need a little more torque, but I don’t want a downshift. This is annoying and hard to do with a auto. I like coming to a smooth stop. Again, more difficult with an auto where you have to balance gear shifts and the cars “creep”. Manuals don’t do that. Sometime I drive normally, but like to power out a turn to have a tiny bit of safe fun. An auto can’t realize I want to do this. It downshifts way too late, by then I am already through the turn.
          I like to be able to shutoff my car and quickly leave it. An auto requires an extra step.

          Honestly, automatics are much more annoying for me to drive on a daily basis. Have they gotten better. Oh yeah. But when they make a mistake, it annoys me because I paid for it to not do that. When I make a mistake shifting, all I can blame is myself.

  • avatar
    banker43

    The local dealer here has 6 2014 Fusions on the lot. 3 with the 1.6 manual. Drove one as I see they are discounting all Fusions by $5000. The stick was fun, but man, the 1.6 is weak.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      $5000 … Fusion sales have stalled that badly?

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Not really, they’re up a little bit year over year, and were up 13% this June compared to June 2013.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          If they’re having to put $5000 on the hood in order to be “up a little bit year over year” then I think there is indeed a problem. I bet even VW could increase Passat sales if they were handing out rebates this big.

    • 0 avatar
      st1100boy

      I test drove a 1.6/6-speed last summer and I have to agree that the engine was underwhelming. On the boost, it was just OK.

      I’ll likely move to South Dakota in a few years, and the idea of driving 85 mph into a 35 mph headwind with 3 people and a load of luggage powered by that motor wasn’t very inviting. Not sure the engine would really appreciate it either.

      I’m a Ford guy, but I’m even more a manual guy. The Fusion really needs the engine and gearbox from the Focus ST or the forthcoming Mustang 2.3 turbo.

      If I’m to buy a car in that class anytime soon I guess it will have to either be an Accord sport or a 6.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      You REALLY do not want to drive the Dart 1.4T. Sounds amazing, but its pretty weak as well.

      • 0 avatar
        st1100boy

        You’re right about that 1.4T in the Dart. Horrid turbo lag, and NOTHING off boost. The only way I could even think about driving that everyday is if I knew my drive was 99% highway.

    • 0 avatar
      OM617

      Weak compared to what? I I drive the the 1.6 manual and don’t find it weak at all, in relation to the fact that it is the mid-grade engine for a midsize sedan. If anything it feels like it punches above the rated 180ish hp because of the low end torque. Easy to pass on the freeway without downshifting.

      • 0 avatar
        banker43

        Fair question. I spent 6 years driving a VW Passat 2.0 with the 6 speed stick. Smooth, linear, and powerful up and down the powerband. I just know I’d not be happy with the 1.6 after the extended test drive of 2 days and 120 miles. I will say the rest of the car was great. Well built, great ride and handling. Just felt crippled by the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Not only is the Ecoboost slow, it gets pretty dismal mpg in real life.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        It’s either Eco or Boost, never both at once…trouble is, most situations will warrant the latter over the former.

        And st1100boy, if you think you’ll want to drive 85 on I-90 in a 35 mph headwind after you’ve done it once, then all the more power to ya. I know there’s literally nothing between Rapid City and Mitchell (except Wall Drug and the SD Auto Museum in Murdo), but the only difference between 75 mph and 85 mph is that you’ve lost 40 minutes of quality time with your passengers across the entirety of the state.

        • 0 avatar
          st1100boy

          The only reason I’m going 85 on I-29 or I-90 is I don’t want to stick my neck out any further for a ticket. Of course, if I’m on a SD 2-lane, I’m cruising at 100 give or take. I can’t remember the last time I saw a cop running radar on a 2-lane in SD.

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    They need to make a Fusion ST. 350+hp, 300+ft/lbs, manual, and AWD. What other companies have cars with similar specs? Volvo? Subaru? Audi? Mitsubishi (but they’re giving up)?

    It sounds like something they’d traditionally get in Australia.

    If they did it, it’d be essentially guaranteed to have a decent take rate in spite of (or because of) the manual. The Fiesta and Focus ST models are training the next crop of manual drivers in the US after Subaru gave in on the WRX. At least the STi is still manual-only. Audi still has a decent manual take rate on their S# sedans. Clearly there are people that would buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It will never have the manual. Name the last Ford badged AWD car in the US with a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      st1100boy

      I think there’s a real hole in the marketplace that a Fusion ST could fill. Unless you step up to a premium brand, there’s really nothing overtly sporty in that size sedan. I’m not even sure AWD would be a must. A 2.3 ecoboost, even if a bit detuned, could be a nice car. Staying away from AWD would keep the cost down too. Managing that power with FWD could be a challenge, but not necessarily impossible. Just make sure a 6-spd manual is on the menu.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Ah yes… Pair it with the engine nobody wants and then scratch your head when nobody buys it.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Exactly. I don’t like the Fusion, but pairing the manual with the high performance engine or the engine that would outlast a Ford automatic would have made far more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      From the same company that brought us the Taurus MT5 (advertised to compete with the BMW) and the Lincoln LS V6 only.

      They did offer the SHO as a manual only, but with crappy shifter linkage and were surprised when sales were low. Since manuals are now being bought by enthusiasts, the total package must work. It does not need the most powerful engine, but the power must be sufficient and delivered in a way that enhances the driving experience.

      Honda and Mazda seem to get it. No need for the V6 Accord when the IL4 works well. As an owner of the Lincoln LS the V6 just misses the mark. Its low end is slightly lacking in torque and while power is OK (still a little low) when spun up, the roughness is not what you want to constantly hear. If it (the MT) had lasted into the second generation the VVT on the V6 may have made for a better package. The V8 would have been nice also but a slightly higher powered V6 (lighter weight than the V8) with some bottom end grunt would have been fine.

  • avatar
    OM617

    Glad I picked up my 2013 while I could.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I guess that kills a few brown wagon wet dreams

  • avatar
    James2

    The 1.5 Ecoboost always seemed like an odd duck since there was already a 1.6 Ecoboost. I know, China, taxes, displacement, etc. They should have had a little foresight and made it a three-cylinder, just to differentiate it better from the 1.6, not to mention reduce friction and pumping losses.

    (And I can’t believe I’m advocating for a three-cylinder engine…)

  • avatar
    Clarence

    What made Ford finally add daytime running lights? Way to tout an industry-last achievement.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    As one who fears the extinction of stick shifts, all I can do is put my money where my left foot is and insist on a manual when I buy my next car – as I did when I bought my current vehicle.
    If enough of us “stick” to our guns we can keep hope alive.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I stick to my guns, but the auto manufacturers seem to have found the nuclear option. Only provide a manual in the base trim, base engine, and no options.

      Who is buying a manual to save money these days?

      Now I am looking to get a Chevy SS manual if they actually come out. I’d prefer a wagon as all I have owned are wagons/hatchbacks, but I no longer desire a FWD car. THey handle great, but there are certain things they just can’t do. The reverse is is not true. A RWD car can do everything a FWD car can, sans reverse donuts in the snow – which is stupid.

  • avatar
    chris11

    As someone who owns one of these- Id have to say I’m not surprised.

    I had to order mine to spec- and the dealer, who is a friend, put up a huge fight, as if I didn’t buy the car they’d be stuck with it, and no one would want an every option (except for the stupid BLiSS and parking aids) Manual fusion.

    Taking a look around Autotrader, there are less than 6 used ones for sale across the entire country (look at the photos, some are listed as manual but they’re automatic). And not many more new ones.

    No sense offering it if only a microcosm of people want to buy it.

    That being said- it’s one of the best cars (daily drivers) I’ve ever owned- it’s smooth, it handles quite well. People always comment on it, asking what it is, and how handsome the car is. It shifts smooth- and while it’s not fast- it gets out of its own way, and the turbo noises are white fun.

    I’ve put 32k on mine in a little over a year- and it’s going up for sale soon as I need a truck. It will surely be missed.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    Out of the 14 also in a 250 mile radius of me, more than half of them are at a place called Talladega Ford. So, head on to Talladega Ford and pick up your manual transmission Fusion today!

    But hey, an automatic is easier to drive for most. So, this could be better, both for the drivers and body shops, as the body shops don’t have to worry about dented rear-bumpers.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The only mid-sized family sedans that still offer manuals are the Passat, Mazda 6 and the Accord. Toyota dropped the manual in the Camry after 2011 and Nissan went all CVT with the latest Altima redesign. Subaru ditched the 3 pedal in the latest Legacy sedan.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    It’s a shame to see it go for sure, but I would never have bought one. As wonderful a drive as the Fusion is, if I wanted a stick, the Mazda6 delivers similar fun and much better economy. I had no problems with the 1.6t’s power, but for the sort of Economy it got, I would’ve expected a six cylinder with the accompanying refinement.


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