Do not buy the focus with the "automatic transmission". It's not a true automatic, it's actually a manual transmission that shifts itself. However it's a flawed design and very problematic. The clutches slip, it will shake the front end of the car during acceleration, and make loud grinding noises during shifts sometimes. Ford has no 100% solution to solving these issues, they start by reprogramming the transmission computer but that doesn't help, then they will order a new clutch pack for it but that takes twelve weeks to arrive and still is not a 100% fix. If you want a focus, buy the true manual version of the car. The engine is great, pretty strong and fuel efficient. The ford sync works pretty decent.
So most people can't tell this car from a PT Cruiser. But most people can't tell a new Corvette from a Ferrari. Most people are pretty dim when it comes to cars, as evident in many of the reviews you'll read on here. I'm coming off of a 2006 Audi S4 who's engine was a ticking time bomb. Great fun, very fast car, but ten year old German performance cars are not known for their reliability. But I digress. It's saying something for the Focus ST that I am having just as much fun, if not more, than I was in the S4. This thing is like a go kart on a canyon road, while being practical for a family man. This car is universally loved by the automotive press.
As the title states, the car is great for a first time owner, or if you just need a daily driver, regardless of distance. In fact, I appreciate this car so much that I am going to purchase my 2nd one this weekend as the first was in a bad accident. Overall averages including short trips to grocery store, I was getting about 38mpg in a manual transmission. The gear box is tough enough, and the parts are cheap. If you buy this car around 60k miles, be prepared to replace the struts, and maybe tires. These went out within 9k miles. To those saying the car's interior lights don't come on when opening a door, this is actually false. The dimmer switch by your headlight switch needs to be maxed out. One con would be power with a fully loaded car.