If you want Japanese-style sport & affordability with upscale German character, go with VW GTI. Having owned Mazda/Nissan/Honda as well as Audi/BMW, I can say that this little hot hatch combines the best qualities of all. Youthful, nimble performance combined with mature comfort, features, and ride quality. And it is the real deal, standing out from all the kiddie-cars out there. I considered Civic, RSX, Mini, Tiburon, etc., but they seemed too generic or else "flavor of the month" in nature. So why not go with the original pocket rocket that showed the others how it's done?
smooth turbo motor, quality interior finish and materials, German character, practical "boxy" hatchback layout, IP lighting, sporty yet fully adjustable leather seats, good handling yet supple ride.
Even the "improved" console cupholders could be better. And what, a "sport" model without foglights? Plus a little less body roll please, but without sacrificing the nice ride.