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Ford Focus ST
The new Focus is at last debuting in the U.S., with a 2.0-liter, direct-injected, 160-hp motor and variable valve timing, as well as a five-speed manual. But, the car to wait for is the 2013 Focus ST, which debuts in early 2012. It gets a six-speed manual with the same EcoBoost (turbocharged) 2.0-liter as the much larger Edge and Explorer and will be good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 hp, which puts it in league with hot hatches like the MazdaSpeed3 and beyond the output of the VW GTI. Ford is also promising a tauter suspension and meatier tires as well as bigger brakes to go with all that horsepower. Expect to pay at least $25,000.