Sorry for bumping an old thread. I recently went through this exact same situation. I sold my 04 BMW M3 which was a hoot to drive but every time a check engine light came on it was $1000-$2000. Thank god I didn't have the SMG trans. I wanted something new with a warranty to fill that void left by the Bimmer. I narrowed it down to Mazda Speed 3, Focus ST, Fiesta ST, and Evo X. I drove the Mazda first. I was greatly disappointed with how the car drove and the amount of torque steer. It was also my least favorite so I crossed that one off the list. I then went and drove the Focus and Fiesta at the same dealer. The Focus was decently quick but you couldn't tell that it was. I know it was fast but I just didn't feel it. It reminded me of my old Caliber SRT4. It did handle great for a FWD but I had to walk away. The Fiesta felt like a cheaper smaller version of the Focus. The shifting didn't feel great and the interior was definitely on the economy side. I am ok with a cheap interior as long as the seats are nice. The Recaros were fantastic. The car pulled but I didn't really feel it until high rpms. I took it on some back roads and it out-performed the Focus, or so it felt like. I then went to a dealer about 45 mins away to drive an Evo. It had a cheap interior much like the Fiesta but the seats were on par with the Recaros in the Fiesta. As far as driving goes its on a whole different level. Ofcourse we are talking about a car $10k more than the Fiesta. I felt very connected in turns and you could tell there was 100 hp more. When it came down to it I chose the Evo. I know maintenance costs will be higher on consumables but you gotta pay to play. Every now and again I found myself thinking about the Fiesta though and how fun it was. Its almost comparing apples to oranges. The Evo has poor mpg and thin paint. Upgrades out out of the question due to voiding warranty. I may keep the Evo for a couple years and then go to a Fiesta. Time will tell.