I bought this car in April of 2003 and enjoyed it for about 3 months. It began to deteriorate quickly and had a variety of uncommon and mysterious problems. Many problems came from shoddy materials. I felt trapped by the financing and had to get many rides from friends for the whole time I've owned it. I was reminded daily of old saying "FORD = Fix Or Repair Daily." I've really resented paying high and constant repair bills while still making car payments. I still have two years on that loan but I just got financing to trade it in and get anything other than an American car. I'm looking at a Hyundai Elantra and surprised how much more comfortable it is. I will miss having a wagon though.
The ease of getting in and out of it and nice height of the car and the seats. Easy visibility all around. Liked the looks pretty much always. Color is nice - deep red. Loved having the convenience of a wagon that wasn't too big. I don't have kids - just a lot of cargo needs.
I wouldn't know where to start, though they might start with an upgrade of the quality of materials. Just lost one headlight because the socket burned out, not the bulb. It can't tolerate the new and hotter bulbs in use. Please! Engine never had much power and really missed anti-lock brakes .
After 105K miles, I still love this car. I bought it for the price, because my elderly mom could get in & out of it, & for the cargo space (big enough to fit two Sheltie-size dog crates side-by-side). I've had no major problems with it. I have the 5-speed. I'm female, 5'3", very little use for rear seat. 29-30 mpg highway, 26 city (the rare times I do city).
I've owned my used Ford Focus wagon for about 6 months and thoroughly enjoy it. I only have two quibbles with it. First, the unemovable bar that divides the far rear part of the cargo area from the front rear part is irritating. The helpful rear canopy is stored in this bar, but my two dogs have to wriggle under it to navigate the cargo area. Also, there is room for three people in the back seat, but there is only one cup holder built into the rear area. I've also been told that people in the middle of the back seat feel like they're riding on a hump. Also, I'm 5'3'' and found that many seats were not high enough for me, but the Focus' seat goes up or down with a crank. I'm satisfied.
Tons of storage room, floor mats that lock in place, deep and wide storage compartments on both front doors, several helpful little cubby holes on the dash, nice-sized glove compartment; in general a solid, reliable workhorse.
Make the bar that stores the rear canopy removable. Put cup holders on each rear door. Allow the window in the tailgate to open independently of the tailgate itself. Drop-down glasses case above rear view mirror. Hide-away cup holders on the middle part of the dash where the sound system usually is.
I've owned my Focus over 4 years. Since owning it I have had to get the front brakes replaced and new tires. I've also had the fuel pump go out (recall so it was covered, but had to pay to get fuel filter changed). Also had the 'check engine' light come on which ended up being a sensor that had been recalled. I've had the contraption that turns off the turn signal after going around the corner break twice on this car. First time it was under warranty. Second time it wasn't so now I have to turn it off by hand after turning. My car still runs great after 4 years and shows little signs of wear.
Good visibility while driving, convenience of dashboard features (radio, heater, etc), quietness.
There is not a good place to put a large drink in the car. The cupholders only hold small drinks (medium fast food cups barely fit because of their height). If you get a 32 oz drink, it has to go between the bucket seats between the emergency brake and the seat.
If I were out for a new car, I would buy it again. Very good car in any sense. Had just a few glitches in these five years. The original Goodyear Eagle RS tires provided a smooth ride but started to slid and hydroplane too soon. The new TOYO tires make the Focus a beast with gentle heart.