Great car for the money, the BMW of economy cars. Top notch styling inside and out, 17in. wheels, all power options included, 4 wheel discs w/ABS and EBD and a pretty good stereo for $15k? When you consider how much fun it is to drive - with the excellent handling, acceleration and braking of a 30k sport sedan - competitors like the Corolla S model (with the spoiler and aero body cladding mated to a 126hp engine) are blown away. It boggles the mind why Ford won't incorporate this platform into its US based Focus line yet does so abroad.
Strong acceleration in first 4 of 5 manual gears. Quick cornering is a pleasure. Unique and attractive exterior styling with a well appointed and conventional interior, as opposed to center-of-dash clusters (Scion, Saturn) or funky two-tiered designs with digital speedos (Civic).
As others have noted, an auxiliary audio jack would be much appreciated. The carpet doesn't feel substantial enough for long term durability. I'm getting a cargo mat for behind the rear seats even though it limits use of the underfloor storage. The carpet on the dead pedal needs protection also.