I recently took a new job involving a long commute, and decided to look at the Focus and VW Golf TDI as commuter cars.
Coming from a BMW 335i, I have high standards and the Focus (so far) has lived up to them.
It's no BMW, but it's a fun car to drive and has enough bells and whistles that it doesn't feel like a penalty box even when compared to a far more expensive vehicle.
The engine, chassis, and tranny aren't quite as refined as the Golf, but the car is still very solid and fun to drive with a good trade-off between handling and comfort.
The Focus blows the Golf away in feature content, and both have very nice interiors for the price.
I bought a Loaded SE Manual, and am coming from a Nissan Pathfinder, so am having a little bit of culture shock. Lets go through a few Negatives first: 1) It would have been great if the back seats folded flat, it would have made for a larger cargo area. 2) The drivers area is designed for someone with longer legs than mine. I have a 29' inseam and feel like I am a little to far forward to be able to use the arm rest on either side, and shifting is a little to far forward with my short legs... I will grow use to that after awhile. 3) The rear wings do take up a lot of the rear window, so creates a big blind spot. I use to be a truck driver I will also get use to that pretty quick.
DO NOT BUY. The transmission is absolutely horrible and ford will do NOTHING to fix it. I have broken down 2 times, my car will not accelerate and the
RPMS just go crazy. I have had it in the shop 3 times within the past 2 months and they refuse to do anything for it.
Not like any Focus I've ever been in before.
Outstanding quality of materials throughout.
Looks and feels equivalent to a Mercedes -- no joke.
Feels "big", solid, and quiet while you drive, but has speedy performance when you want it.
I've been driving the Focus long enough now where I can give an objective review.
Overall, the car has a premium feel to it.
I have the base model hatchback and it's still got a really upscale feel to it.
This is not anything like the super cheap Focus Ford was making not so many years ago.
Two big cons that I see:
The automatic transmission needs help.
Personally, I don't shift my car into the next gear when it's below 2000 rpm, but my Focus thinks that's a good idea.
You know that sound a car makes when you shift up too soon?
My car makes that sound everytime I accelerate gently.
I'm hoping Ford fixes this for 2013.
The inside door handles are super cheap feeling.