I was leasing a Dodge Dakota (14mpg). Made the decision to not get another pickup pretty easy. Had been watching the Ford Fusion for sometime. Reliability ratings are excellent, most reviews are above average, it's somewhat an American vehicle, I think. When Ford announced the rebates of $3000 on Sept. 10, it made the decision very easy. A brand new Ford Fusion SE with sunroof and sync for around $16000 is simply amazing. I paid $18000 for a new Mazda MX-6 in 1994 with less features than today, obviously. I have the 5-speed, I4. I have always loved 5-speed cars, and this one is no exception. Very forgiving clutch, and the power is not bad. Very fun to drive. 26mpg ave. 60-hwy/40-city
5 speed transmission makes the I4 fun to drive. The price with the current rebate is unbeatable. Of course the rebates are being offered because a facelift is coming for the 2010 model (due out early in 2009 it looks like). The SYNC gives you something to play with for the first few weeks.
The 2008 head restraint change has made the chances of whiplash less likely, but the head restraints are a little annoying for the first week.