it is a very fun car. I drive it to college every day and love it but it needs some serous HP improvements. The 5 speed needs a 6th gear because 55 mph =2200 rpms but that means it can do a high top speed. I did 75 in 4th without trouble
Lots of leg room. I am 6'4" and I have no trouble fitting in. Also I like the 39mpg because I have a standard transmision
It need bigger tires and about double the horsepower to be really fun. Other than that it is an awesome
Handles like a good rally car. It can take corners at speed, but has a slightly higher ride height than other vehicles of the same size. I replaced the swaybar(stabilizer bar) bushings with stiffer polyurethane for a little less body roll. I have driven this vehicle for 7.5 years and have enjoyed it immensely. Sure, some things had to be fixed under recall, and some things broke that I had to pay for after the warranty ended, but overall I am happy. I have had worse experiences with cars I bought new. The bucket seats are built for average frames or smaller. Wide shouldered or heavier people (250+ lbs.) will notice marked problems after several years
Steering is very sensitive and gives a great feel for the road. A/C blows ice cubes (not literally). MPG is good - 30mpg under all conditions. There are a ton of aftermarket doohickeys for the Focus. Headrests are reversible if their weird angle annoys.
Strengthen the aluminum wheels. Offer manual transmission on all models. Increase seat frame strength. Headrests are funky.
I bought this car brand new, and have owned it for almost eight years. It's been a blast to drive and way, way more reliable than my previous car (Toyota Corolla). Only major complaint was an ignition lock problem in year seven, which by then was out of warranty and cost $250 to replace. Being a 1st year model it had a few recalls but they were fixed quick, free, and easy. Fuel economy (23 city, 33 highway) was a little lower than expected. Handling was a MAJOR positive surprise. Braking fine, replaced once at 51K. Front and Rear headroom impressive - a friend who is 6'3" fits in the back seat with no complaints... and he even works for GM. 5-speed manual shifts fine, clutch is a breeze.
Handling! Very short turn radius, good stereo, hatchback functionality, interior room, not a Corolla, simple and clean dash, comfortable seats, headroom excellent. This thing is Ole Reliable.
Horsepower increase or better gas mileage for the horsepower. Wait for 2nd year of any new car/truck (any make or model). Ford should have issued recall on ignition switch problem.
I have owned this car for 7 years, and it has been a great commuting vehicle. It is very dependable (only one major repair), and fun to drive. It seems very roomy on the inside compared with other compacts I have been in, and I like the high position of the driver's seat. Great visibility.
Front seats are very structured and supportive. Also love the hatch.