With neither the proper (last-gen) Golf nor Focus available, there's not much competition so I'm happy with what I get! The 3 drives well although the handling can be described as 'great' only by comparison to something quite wobbly. The shift is tops but the steering isn't too precise. We couldn't get traction ctrl and/or ABS on our model. This is a top-spec (S) yet the power window has no one-touch up. Having just paid the toll you either hold the window-up button with a line of angry Boston drivers behind you or pull away into the Boston winter with the window open. Plus the buttons are placed too far ahead and aren't illuminated. Please, a few LEDs for 17K!
Exterior - looks great! Looks fine on the inside too. Stereo buttons on the wheel are useful. Doesn't lean in turns.
Traction ctrl needed for 2.3, ergonomics. The keyless entry which makes you have press it twice to open the trunk is plain silly. No ABS and just 2 airbags - are they trying to kill me? The mp3 feature (lack thereof) is a bit of a rip-off.