Iíve a 2013 Ford Focus SE Sedan with five-speed manual transmission. I shopped it against a 2012 Chevy Cruze LS with six-speed manual. Both are excellent. I chose the Focus for its sportier suspension and steering. The EPA predicts 36 mpg highway; the Focus delivered 35.2 mpg on my most recent trip. I am exceedingly happy with fuel economy. Iím enjoying the five-speed manual transmission. Iíd prefer a sixth gear for freeway driving. (The car would probably get even better mileage with one higher gear). Thatís a small nit though. The 2013 Focus SE with five-speed manual is a sporty, fun-to-drive car with good fuel economy. Be sure you can live with Ford Sync and the strange dashboard layout.
The sporty suspension and tight steering are perhaps my two favorite features. I'm also enjoying the Bluetooth connection to my phone, and the ability to make calls through the car-speaker system. My son is happy to be able to play his iPod through the stereo system. I have the five-speed manual transmission, and like it very much. I've seen many, many complaints against the six-speed automatic. A manual is more fun on a small and sporty car anyway.
The Sync menu system created by Ford and Microsoft is an abomination. Ford should have teamed up with Apple. I'd love to have a shot at improving the system. Dash ergonomics are poor. Especially annoying is that the current speed is not the front-and-center item when you scan the dashboard. You must consciously look away from the big, bright LCD panel to see your speed. I fear an increased risk of speeding tickets. I made a conscious decision to live with the Sync and poor dash design in return for the fun and sporty handling.