Overall handling and performance with the manual transmission is awesome. Great sound system with the 6 CD radio. For a compact, the handling and performance is more than I expected. The fuel economy is second to none in the non-hybrid class. And that is one of the reasons I purchased the Focus wagon. It's nice and roomy too. When "they" said it's fun to drive, "they" were not kidding. By the way, I'm 65 yrs old and having fun driving it. (and I can afford to drive anything I want and I chose the Focus).
The standard transmission is much more responsive and fun to drive than the automatic transmission. Steering and turning radius is great.
Road noise is a bit more than I'm accustomed to. The bumbers on the exterior doors and body do not match to other cars. I received a ding which could have been prevented with properly matched body molding.