Thank you both for the responses. I still like this car enough I plan to continue lurking for awhile until I make up my mind one way or the other.
cbdallas: thanks for your detailed comments. I do not consider what you wrote "rambling" at all, as I am equally picky about fit and finish, rattles, etc. and go over all my cars for about 45 min before accepting delivery (which tends to piss off a lot of dealers). Your feedback on paint and alignment is a valid concern in my book.
raptor1956: I drove nothing but manuals (exclusively) for 30 years, so the manual-like quirks such as rolling back slightly on a hill, etc. actually do not bother me at all. The grinding, clunking, and long hesitations I have read about do worry me, and even more worrisome yet is the question I keep asking myself: "Will this transmission need replacement 50,000, 80,000 or even 120,000 miles down the road?" If the answer to that ends up being "yes" I'll have been only a temporary convert, will return to what I know works and likely never give Ford another chance.