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I got my I4S 5-speed the day after Thanksgiving. Wasn't a planned purchase. Was driving from Omaha to Dallas for the holiday in my 2000 Hyundai Elantra and hit an 8 point buck while going 70. Totalled the Elantra. Say what you will about Korean cars, but that little thing ran like a top for 86,000 miles and the only maintenance it ever required was new plug wires once and oil changes every 3000. So I had some pretty high expectations for my next car. I was looking at Honda Fit, Scion xB and Mazda5. I like them all for various reasons. It was just luck that led me to NorthCentral Ford in Dallas (Richardson). Big ad in the paper so I went to look for a Focus. They had several that looked great, but not a single 5-speed. That was pretty much my first criteria for any new car - standard transmission. They had tons of Fusions too but only automatics. They thought they had one 5-speed. Took them nearly an hour to find it wherever it was hidden away. I am very glad now they did. While it is nothing like what I thought I was looking for, it is just about everything I need and want. It stickered for 2,000 more than the Fit I was about to buy that very day, but I was able to get the Fusion for 1,000 less than the Honda with a much better interest rate and a better warranty to boot. Sales staff was super there as opposed to the condescending attitudes from the Honda people. I drove the car back from Dallas this past Sunday and could not believe it. This is the first car I have ever owned that got more than the EPA highway number. Granted, it was only by about 1mpg, but still a new experience for me. And that was driving 75-80 on mixed 2 and 4 lane roads over 600 miles.
Some nits to pick or maybe suggestions to Ford tho. This car is a direct cross shop to the Hyundai Sonata, and I probably would have bought one if there was a 5-speed available anywhere. ABS needs to be standard as it is on the H. The interior grained plastics look very tacky with large grain patterns that look faker than they should. H does a better job. Rear heater ducting should be there too. Something that auto owners probably wont notice, but the armrest needs to be about 2" lower. It interferes with the natural location of my elbow on every shift. I am getting used to it, but that is wrong, the car should be designed around a person, not the other way around. That is a pretty darn short list I think. Now if only I could get MazdaSpeed stuff from my friend to fit this car it would be fantastic. Awaiting the development of cold air intake, almost ready to order the Cat back exhaust and PCM programmer and likely some inexpensive but decent alloy wheels to complete the car.
I am thankful to God that no one was hurt in the accident and that I found an excellent car for my family when we needed it.
 
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