Focus's are supposed to be brill cars but (sorry to offend any owners) they look terrible. Guy next door to us has a st (in the only colour it should be, orange), i just dont like the back of it.
Golf gti is another option i will take a look at.
The only issue im having with the older cars is finding a unmolested one.
Think my plan of action is to get the fabia paid of (few months) and take them all out.
Theres a nie 2002 106gti on auto trader at the min
my other half has recently purchased a mk1 1.6 focus edge 3 door and it drives VERY well
sticks to the road nice and level when pushing it no real body roll or wobble so an ST must be great fun. and i have seen them for sub 3k in good nick and not molested as they have decent wheels anyway.
I know it might be considered a girly car but have you thought about a BMW E36/46 compact? RWD goodness still i think
If you liked your Metro you could build a 1.8 for under a grand that will embarrass a lot more expensive cars on the road ;)
Also cheap right now any MG ZR, again a 160VVC will be quick and easily get one of those for £1k-2k
Early New Mini Cooper S
Would buy another just for the supercharger whine!!!
I had a mk1 Focus built in 2003. It drove OK but the interior and general build quality of the thing was awful. The doors sounded like they were made out of tin, the plastics felt cheap, the seats were uncomfortable and were made out of a horrible shiny fabric. The tailgate rattled unless you put electrical tape around the locking pin. The external door trim strips kept on coming off. It was unexpectedly thirsty for a 1.6l car. Plus the radio was rubbish! I don't think the look of the car has dated particularly well either.
I stuck with it for about six months then bought a 2001 Golf. Hand on heart, the drive isn't quite as good (not that there's an awful lot in it) but overall the car is a much nicer place to be when you're driving for upwards of two hours a day. More comfortable, velour seats. More solid construction. Much better brakes. Quieter too. Even things like the switchgear feel more solid.
So, um, yeah, not really helpful I suppose :)