I bought the 2300 4 with a 5 speed stick shift. I'm past the age of caring much about speed, and it's fast enough for me. The tranny is a bit stiff going between 2nd and 3rd. It's fine if I shift at low rpm, but if I rap it out it frequently misses 3rd unless I double clutch it. I drive pretty sedately so it's not really a problem. My main complaint is about the fuel economy. I get all they claimed, but I know they could do much better. My last car was a 1998 Mercury Marquis with a 5.0 liter V8. It got at least as good gas mileage as my little Fusion. I think they are sand bagging. I think it should be getting at least 35-40 mpg on the highway, and that's without any fancy technology.
You should be able to get much better fuel efficiency. You also need to improve the manual transmission.