I'm very happy with my new Focus! I haven't had any issues with it at all *knock on wood* and the transmission has been smooth as butter, I've never felt a shudder or jerk in 2000 miles. MFT has been laggy once or twice but never for more than a few seconds. I haven't had any rattles, wayward steering or anything like that. I can't say I've 'fallen in love ith it' the way I have other new-to-me cars, but I'm still very happy. And my fuel costs have been cut by 60% or more over my old bimmer.
On the Veloster:
I looked the car over many times and test drove it over and over. I was seriously considering it for several months. The fact they they'll let you get it loaded to the teeth with a 6MT is awesome. But while the Focus is a premium small car that rivals many midsizers, the Veloster is a premium compact that rivals many small cars. It's really in a different class IMO. It rides rougher and noisier (sp?), doesn't have IRS, the interior is not the same quality and it doesn't have nearly the same level of equipment available. That being said, a fully loaded Veloster tops out at $23.5K while the Focus pushes $30K. Similarly equipped the Veloster is $2-3K cheaper. But it's also less car.