I had a 2007 and traded it to buy a 2009 GTi. The Gti was reliable and a very fun car to own . But its achilles heel was ultimately its high cost to maintain, and the GTi was good at emptying my wallet. Premium was all it was ever fed, and with gas the way it is, 60 dollar tanks were regular. i picked this up for a great price (brand new, in 2011) and it has proven to be a far improved car than its predecessor. I was afraid of loosing my Gti's highspeed stability, and overall feeling of solidity, but the fit, given the difference in weight and how tall it is, makes a good case for itself. it may be slower, but its tossability makes it more fun to drive. And now my wallet is more full :)
Steering feel (spot on and just the right amount of heft, quick), cupholder placement (right next to the wheel, sheer brilliance) excellent visibility, fantastic gas mileage (averaging 32-33 mpg, which is about 2 to three more than the epa's average, and thats my own calculation, no the car's.)
tossability and high fun to drive factor, roomy (and not just for a small car) excellent cargo capacity, reliabilty, cheap to fill up (gas is almost 3.90 here, and it takes less than 40 bucks to fill up and gives at least 300 miles of range) very low cost to own, sporty looks and handling to match
these are just nitpicking, as i'm not the type of person who suddenly realizes very basic things about a car after purchasing it:
the seat cushion could stand to be a little longer, and i'm only 5'8.
the optional armrest is also a center console and could stand to be made standard.
an exterior temperature gauge and more than one trip on the trip computer
height adjustable drivers seat
more hwy mpg could probably be had, other cars in the class do a bit better on that front, but they have other comprimises that outweight a couple of mpg. this will probably be addressed in 2012 with the re-fresh