I would not get the 2012+ Focus because of the widespread transmission and power steering failures. The 2008-2011s were reliable and you can find them for very cheap. The ones before 2008 were not reliable.
The Cruze is also unreliable. There is a class action lawsuit involving coolant leaks. The owners are reporting that their brakes are failing, which is no big deal. In addition, they have a sluggish transmission that fails. More reliable than the Focus, but not by much. The new ones (2016+) are better, but that is over your budget. I just don't see a reason to buy a Cruze or Focus when they are clearly not as reliable as the Civic, Corolla, and Mazda3. They are all point A to B cars, so why buy the car with the data that says the car is unreliable?
With your priorities, there is nothing wrong with the Civic and Corolla. The Corolla is great for people who don't really care if their car is fun to drive. The Civic is a little more fun and is reliable, but doesn't have the same rock-solid reliability as the Corolla. The Mazda3 is the best if you like the car to handle well and be fun. It is reliable, too. The Japanese compacts are more generally more reliable than the domestics. The Kia Forte is also a good choice and they have already depreciated a lot. The Hyundai Elantra is pretty good except for the 2013 because of premature tire wear and blow-outs.