Major equipment: 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder, six-speed manual transmission, sunroof, SYNC, autodim rear-view mirror.
In the fleet: 5/15/2009 – 5/22/2009
Approximate mileage driven: 450
J. BARUTH: Remember all the things we used to love about “foreign” sedans back in the dino-sized Big Three days of the Eighties? They were good-looking, reasonably-sized, fuel-efficient vehicles that offered manual transmissions, interesting equipment, decent handling, and bulletproof durability.
So now here we are in 2009, and the average “Camcord” is a bloated, cost-conscious, automatic-transmission sled. Meanwhile, Ford has a car that reminds us more than any current mainstream Japanese sedan of what those great Accords and Stanzas used to be like. It’s not overtly sporty, the convincing-looking wheel covers aside, but it’s an acceptably rapid, very spacious, rather pleasant conveyance. To make things more interesting, you can now choose the option of a six-speed manual transmission to help the 175-horsepower Duratec kick the Fusion down the road.