I have had this car for 8 years, it has been amazing, I was actually looking to see what the reviews of my car were like to know whether to take other car model/brand reviews with a grain of salt.
I figured that many reviews would be from angry consumers whom may not have had the average experience with their vehicles. It seems that way to me so far because I have so little issues with this car that I am actually scared to sell it, but we are running out of space and planning to have a second child, so -we need a bigger vehicle. Our car has 165K and still runs great. I found it had less serious/cheaper repairs than our 1990 toyota tercel.
I was recently at a local Ford dealer, who had a huge selection of Focus automobiles, and not one was "made in the USA" : all arrived...legally...from south of the border. That aside, the Focus appears to be very well built and a solid performer overall.
I paid 500 dollars for this car and drove it for exactly one year. After replacing all 4 wheel bearings, the front right spring, plus having to refill the antifreeze every morning during the winter months in Northern Canada, I gave up and took it to the dump. I wanted to set this car on fire every single day that I owned it. I do not recommend, I would not say that this is a safe car. Much happier with my older 1990 Honda Accord.
If you drive very gently, you can attain 32 mpg hwy/18 mpg city. Ford dealership seems to think this normal for this car. This car is not fuel efficient for its class, and I hope to get rid of it as soon as I pay it off. The second time I brought the car in to be repaired for leaking coolant, I was told that this make/model is prone to problems with the cooling system. In 3 yrs I've had it leaking large amounts of coolant from two different locations at two different times. If you buy this car, avoid getting the "sporty" wheels (I bought it used, so choice was made for me). They are very expensive to replace.