I just bought my 2005 Volkswagen Golf GL two weeks ago and so far, so good. It's comfortable, even for a big guy, handles very well, and has tons of great features standard. You do pay a bit more than other hatchbacks on the road, but the quality of this versus the others is worth the extra money. Since I seldom carry even three passengers, the 2-door is fine. The trunk is as roomy as most small sedans. I would have liked the TDI but you can't get them in NY state. Maybe because it's new, but the engine revs higher at speed than most cars, and has curious shift points at times. For what you pay, I would like a little more power, better gas mileage, and a simple trip computer or something to set it apart.
The handling, the build quality, the appearance. The convenience of the hatch and keyless entry. Full-size spare. It just feels good to look at and drive.
The folding the rear seats are awkward, I can't put my seat back all the way when they are folded, and I want a flat cargo floor. Some controls take time to figure out (the wipers & stereo). It runs at high RPM, shifts feel odd at times. The gas mileage and/or horespower could be better for the price.