Lenny, if you're willing to travel you can pick up a MK1 golf for 4 grand mint condition. Now that is a serious project with mad potential, parts are easy to get and lots of aftermarket stuff out there for the mk1 golf and the polo, either one of those look crazy disgusting sick when slammed.
I see two different side in your post, seems your after power yet something easy to tune work on. I can't speak for the toyota and although it would be damn cool i think you'd get bored of it and sell it.
Couple times in the last few months i almost bought myself a MK1 golf... they are just beautiful machines inside and out easy to work on so easy, even the really old ones don't even rust. I say go for it mate.
The polo is a nice ride and with you coming from a focus the polo will feel like a box room lol, don't go for that, golf, toyota or bora either way it's a win.
With my previous experience from the VAG family a dub has endless potential.
Lucky your vicky allows you another car! i've been under strict rules not allowed an MK1