My parents purchased this car new in 2007 for about $17,500. I received it from them in February 2013 w/18,400 miles on it. Today it has just under 50,000 miles. I can't say enough good things about it. The interior headroom is excellent as are the sight lines based on the fact that the front seats are mounted on an elevated platform, unlike the newer Focus model, whose seats are mounted very low. I must transport my elderly mother to frequent doctor appointments and she has no difficulty getting in or out of the car. The car accelerates well, particularly on freeway ramps and corners remarkably well for a smaller vehicle. Gas mileage could be a little better, but I probably average 26-27 mpg in city and 30 or so on the highway. Still operating with its original belts and hoses. I particularly love the hatch and the voluminous trunk storage, which has more cubic feet than on many larger models. Some rattles and noises, particularly when the weather is cold, but nothing major. The heated seats are wonderful during the long Ohio winters as are the heated mirrors. In short, a great car for little money.
This car is best understood in context. I bought it new in December of 2006 for around $15k. Hondas and Nissans from 4 years prior were going for $18k. It was an excellent deal for what you get, and I think that too many people dismissed it because it was an older design. Ford introduced the Focus around 2000, but that means by the time they produced the 2007 model year most of the bugs were worked out. Remember this was an award-winning car for many years until it started getting a little long in the tooth. I have had a few problems in 115k miles, though not as many as I expected. Little things do come up every now and then, but it sure beats having to drive a Corolla. The alternator went out at around 70k, but that is not necessarily Ford's fault. The cruise control stopped working at 60k, simply got a cable replaced and it is as good as new. One problem these cars have is the clockspring (in the steering wheel, works with the airbag system), which had to be replaced at 75k. There was some carbon buildup in the throttle body at around 50k, but that is more because of my short commute at the time and the engine not getting warmed up enough. The radio did stop working a few years ago, so I replaced it with an aftermarket Alpine stereo that sounds a little better, but the stock radio was not bad. Problems are basically electrical in nature, but I have never been stranded and the basic powertrain is simple enough. Simple is good. The hatchback design is one-of-a-kind, and has actually aged a little better than the sedan. The 5-speed manual has crisp shifts and is well-suited to the 2.0 liter gas engine. It has a fantastically light clutch. 136 hp is not a ton, but it will accelerate just fine and keep up with traffic. The best thing about the Focus is its ride-handling tradeoff. The steering has excellent feel, the ride is never harsh, and it will go right where you point it. Not bad for an economy car. We have a 2013 VW Golf as well. While the Golf is a more mature, heavier feeling car, the Focus is much more playful with no dead spot in the steering and a near perfect driving position. The hatchback is nice to be able to load larger items, has great visibility and the back seat is so much bigger than many of the new compact/midsize cars. The 2012-present Focus is much more cramped inside. The weakest thing about this car is that it just wasn't screwed together very well on the inside. It rattles, sometimes badly, sometimes not so much, depending on the tire pressure. Sometimes I feel like I have the best car ever--it is quite fun to drive--and sometimes I just want something a little quieter, a little more refined. But then, I get on a back road with the 5-speed and realize that this car is one-of-a-kind and it will be hard to replace when the time eventually comes.
When gas prices looked like they wouldn't be headed below $3 per gallon last summer, I started looking for a more fuel-efficient car to replace my Saturn VUE. In the past year, I've had opportunities to drive several small cars (Focus, Civic, Mazda3) and midsizers (Fusion, Mazda6, Accord, G6, Maxima). In my book, the Focus and Mazda3 were at the top of the list where driving dynamics are concerned. Since I'm 6'3" tall, head and leg room are big considerations in a small car - - and the Focus fit me better than any other in the class. Add to that the incentives on the Focus and the fact that I live in a state (MI) that's rather dependent on Ford's business success, and the choice is made.
As far as driving goes, it's kinda "spunky". I'm getting over my loss on a nice '95 Mustang GT. But, this little car has surprised me. It's a base model 5-speed. So far the only thing I'm complaining about is a slight engine tapping/knocking. Which I'm still yet to get checked out. But overall, she looks very promising for future modifications.
I bought my Focus brand new in 2006 for business usage. I drive an average of 10,000+ miles per month, having the oil change every 3,500 mi. This car has been nothing but reliable for me and my business needs. I have always been able to count on it to get me from coast to coast. Minor wear and tear repairs are to be expected, as with any car. The most costly repair I've had to get was a new fuel pump in the middle of 2010, and of course tires and brakes. Other than that at 315,000+mi it's time to trade it in for a new Focus. Thanks Ford!