Why the Ford Focus?
Powertrain performance: Pretty quick with the 2.3l and a five-speed stick; enough to make me wish it had a limited-slip differential. Worst MPG ever was 24 - all city, max A/C. Best MPG was 37, at 75 MPH with A/C from Santa Rosa CA to Visalia CA. 140k miles; just passed smog. :)
Front seat support & comfort: Adequate room for me, at six-foot-six and 275 pounds, and my normal-size wife. The back seat is, well - it's the back seat of a two-door hatchback.
Cargo capacity & towing: Fold down the rear seat and you can fit Fibber McGee and his whole closet in the back. It's like the Tardis in there.
Safety & braking: LGood brakes. Didn't get ABS; I wish I had. But it stops quickly and predictably and even when I drive like an idiot, the brakes work.
Tires: Original equipment Goodyear RS-A tires are TERRIFYING in the rain. Fortunately, they were worn out at 20,000 miles. I replaced them with good summer rubber. With Yokohama S-Drives, the traction is incredible. With Kumho Ecsta SPTs, still quite impressive.