After looking at cars for over 2 years, I chose the Focus over the Mustang GT, Jaguar, Volvo, BMW Z4, and BMW 3 series. The Focus is not as fast, nor does it handle quite as well as a BMW, but it is as comfortable, it gets better mileage, it handles fine, has to be more dependable than the imports, and is $20k less expensive. I am not thrilled with the front wheel drive, it not being as driveable on ice (dangerous in my opinion). Road and engine noise is higher than Ranger pickups, and too much plastic is used in the interior. Brakes are ok but not as good as I think they should be. I was in need of a good little car that is good on gas, and the 2005 Focus fit the bill.
Offer 4 wheel disc brakes on all models, offer automatic transmission on the ST model, quieten road and engine noises, offer regular sized tires for a smoother ride (not all of us like the go-cart look), and use higher quality interior materials (especially the plastic dash and door panels).