I, too, was far more impressed by this sporty-looking Fusion model than I was with the 2009 Fusion. The many changes that Ford made for the 2010 refresh were clearly worth the effort, because the car feels far newer and refined than before. And, what's this? A smooth-shifting, nicely weighted, six-speed manual transmission! In a mainstream, mass-market family sedan. A fun and unexpected touch, and one that helps make the most of the 175-hp four-cylinder engine.
What's more, the Fusion SE looks good, thanks in no small part to the Monochrome Appearance Package, well worth the $895 it costs because it bumps up the wheels from 17-inch silver-painted jobs to really nice, ten-spoke alloys with V-rated performance tires. The package also provides a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. I also think the trapezoidal foglamp surrounds at the front lower corners of the car, flanking the lower air intake, go a long way toward finishing the front styling. The Monochrome package also provides unusually handsome cloth upholstery. For $23K, it all makes for a really nice sedan.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor