I've been extremely pleased with my 09 Focus SE coupe. I chose the 5spd because I personally can't stand to drive a car that doesn't have a lot of torque paired with an automatic. With that said the clutch uptake is very smooth and the pedals are well spaced for heel toe downshifting. The shifter itself could be shorter but the detents for the gears are positive. The car rides like a midsize sedan, very quiet and smooth. It's leagues above my friends 08 Cobalt in ride quality and noise control. While it's no drag racer it definitely is entertaining in the twisties, with the 4wheel independent suspension. Not only does it soak up bumps mid corner with ease but it is also very forgiving.
I like that it has power everything (except seats) and heated mirrors. The steering wheel controls for the radio and leather wrapped steering wheel. Also Sync is a very easy to use system that helps you keep your eyes on the road while trying to change albums from your MP3 player or make a call.
Bring back the 2.3L from the earlier model Focus ST. Also 4wheel disc brakes would be another nice addition.