It handles like it's on rails - yet you don't sacrifice ride comfort for handling prowess. The steering is tight and firm yet supple. The engine rocks - you won't win any stoplight drag races against a V8 Mustang or Camaro, but you'll surprise a lot of Honda owners. And it has a nice exhaust tone, too. The six-speed is fun and works well, although occasionally the first- to -second gear change seems a little clunky, and the reverse lockout can be a little hard to overcome. Interior much nicer than previous Ford compact car efforts, although even with only 10,000 miles, already a little squeaky but turning on the excellent stereo cures that problem!
Love the engine/transmission combo. Excellent brakes. Seats cool. Radio (Audiophile option) cool. Love those 17" SVT wheels. I would wholeheartedly recommend this car to anyone looking for a fun, fast little car that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
How about sacrifing the two rear cupholders so that the driver can have a center armrest? Rear seat room is pretty cramped, anyway! A limited-slip differential would be a cool option, too.