I despise the body-color grille on this Fusion, but that's about the only bad thing I have to say about this car. The price is spot on, the equipment is very pragmatic, and it's fun to drive.
I was most surprised by how competent the manual transmission and clutch are. It's easy to say a stick makes every car more fun, but in a midsize sedan where a minute fraction of buyers actually opt for the manual, I didn't expect the gearbox to be so good. The shifter is tall, but the throws are reasonable, with excellent weight and decent feel. The clutch is also perfectly executed and the gas pedal can be poked with your toe while your right foot is on the brake.
I'll agree that the handling exhibits typical sedan characteristics, but it's also willing to comply with your commands. Trail brake hard into a corner, and the performance tires really bite, eliminating any oversteer. The Fusion is a great family car that let's break free from the family when you're carving a road on your own.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor