2017 Ford Focus ST
Though it’s been overshadowed by the all-wheel-drive, drift-happy goodness of the 350-horsepower Focus RS — a car that in the 2018 model year will sticker at $41,995, which is over our limit — the Focus ST offers plenty of fun. It’s only offered in a six-speed manual, and makes 252 horsepower from its 2-liter turbocharged four. That’s a noticeable bump from its hot hatch competitor the VW GTI, which makes 220hp in Sport trim. The VW may be the more livable car, but the Focus ST’s a rowdier machine, and arguably more fun. Find one that’s been overlooked on a dealer’s lot at the end of the month and try to score a bargain.