If I were in the market for a new car at this moment, a Fusion with exactly these specifications would be at the top of my realistic list, probably alongside a stick-shift Hyundai Elantra Touring and a Suzuki Kizashi. This Fusion has a surprisingly nice manual gearbox, a peppy and fuel-efficient four-cylinder, an excellent ride-and-handling balance, comfortable seats, stylish looks inside and out, and enough room for my growing family. The fact that you can add Sync and a sunroof to the stick-shift SE (which already comes with cool wheels and fog lights) and keep the price around $24,000 is impressive indeed.
The gaps around the dash-top storage bin are irregular, and (as in most front-drivers) it's easy to induce a bit torque-steer in wet conditions, but overall I have a very hard time coming up with negative comments about the Fusion SE.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor