I spent about 80 man hours researching and test drving compact sedans before having to make a decision between the top two candidates: the Focus and the Elantra. I selected the Focus due to better overall value as for 1200 more the Focus provided Sync and leather seating (plus it looked better than the Elantra). After 6,000 miles I am quite confident I made a right decision as I have had no issues with it and the car does not get 24/33 MPG as auto tranny is listed. Rather since the engine has been broken in, it is getting something more like 28/37 as i got 35.9 on a recent 250 mile trip. The primary downside is the sluggish acceleration performance by the transmission.
-SYNC! It is pretty awesome -Much better MPG than advertised -Possibly cheapest available vehicle with leather seats -Seems very reliable -Comfortable for 6'1" 220 lb man -Driver sits quite high for a compact
-Higher quality 5 speed auto tranny -Bigger sun visors -Use better interior plastic for high traffic surfaces as it scuffs somemwhat easily -Interior design could be better: think Mazda3