Although our 2003 Golf GL may not be very sporty, we found it to be the only small car that could adjust perfectly to us both (I am over 6 feet tall and my wife is just over 5 feet). We have driven across the country twice and made several other long trips, including camping. The stereo is outstanding! Maintenance is simple and cheap (only every 10,000 miles). The interior quality is better than cars twice the price. It may not be a sports car but its driving manners are perfect, even in the snow (without snow tires in our case). The safety features are incredible. We find its advantages simply crush its disadvantages. The Golf is a real giant of a little car.
The adjustable front sea, outstanding stereo, pratical trunk, and Infrequent service intervals.
Give it a more zippy (turbo) engine and a little more rear seat room. Also, a 5-speed auto transmission would be nice instead of the 4.