If you find one in decent shape, don't think twice
Ignition coil went bad; caused a miss and the check engine light. Was able to hobble it to a mechanic.
Currently, a fan relay or a fuse is not working, so the cooling fan won't turn on at low speeds. It's fine as long as I keep the car moving or if it's cool outside. A simple fix, but symptomatic of the 'electrical gremlins' many other Focus owners note.
The engine revs so easily and there's power in almost any gear at any speed. Of course the tradeoff of this peppy performance is that fuel mileage isn't that good for a car this size. Most comparable Hondas get 5 - 8 MPG better, especially in the city, and I really honestly miss that. It seems jarring to get 22 MPG when poking around town, but no, that's normal. And 30 MPG on the highway isn't bad, just not as good as you'd expect a car of this size to get.
It is comfortable, though. The seats are something you can sit in for hours and feel fine. There's plenty of legroom for the driver (I'm 6'3", and fit in it fine), and even in the backseats, there's room. And a spacious trunk. That's always nice to have.
The sound system is nice, but the speakers could use improvement as well as a new deck (the CD player doesn't like burned CDs, as it was made right before they were big).
The front end suspension is a bit... soft, though. My sister drives a Focus of the same year, and her hubby mentioned that changing the struts helped the handling immensely, and I can see what he means. If you hit a bump on the freeway, the front end feels a bit light as it bounces just a tad too high. It's not unsafe, just a bit unsettling until you get used to it.
The bottom line is that if you find a Focus in good shape (service records and all that jazz) it's worth the money. I lucked out, in that mine was really clean and well-maintained when I bought it, and comes with years of service records. If you're looking at one that's in sort of rough shape, be wary; this isn't a Honda that will take anything you throw at it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th January, 2013