The '03 VW Golf is a very practical, fun to drive car ideally suited for urban commuter use. It was very reliable up to about 60,000 miles, then problems started to crop up, starting with a glow plug failure. After hitting 100,000 miles, I have spent $4,000 on repairs (injector pump, timing belt, water pump, cooling fan, strut mounts, controlling arms). Where I live, diesel generally costs 10% to 15% more than gas, mileage is probably 30% to 40% better than a gas model.
The good gas mileage, practicality, and road feel.