I purchased my SVT Focus new with 67 miles on the clock in 8/04. As of 1/08, it's now at nearly 70k miles. While I can't say they've been entirely trouble free, the Focus has never left me stranded. All of it's foibles have been superficial. Right now it has no issues other then steering wheel wobble at freeway speeds, and even that's not too bad. Performance is superior; 0-60 mph in about 8 secs, and up to 34 mpg on the hwy are both legit numbers I've acheived. Being a hatchback has also helped, such as when I fit an entire kitchen table with the seats folded. Overall, great car for the money, and no regrets in purchasing it.
Cornering ability with stock suspension and tires. No question. Second place would be fuel economy. 34 mpg with three aboard with the cruise set at 75 mph. Amazing.
Gutless off the line. I think my 86' Isuzu Trooper with a 96HP engine is quicker from 0-15mph. Blame a ratio in 1st gear that is too tall.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.