Still a unique car that shows other "hot hatchbacks" how it should be done! A solid combination of premium features, safety, performance, and comfort for its class. Fun to drive, yet it won't beat you up in the process. If you want to move up from the kiddie-car competition to something with more comfort and features, the GTI is the one you want. The base 1.8T motor is tons of fun. Overall, a great little commuter car with German attitude, plus you won't see yourself coming and going like the other boy- racer go-karts out there. Be sure to go with the stick-shift for maximum control. No problems yet - seems like most quality control issues have been taken care of from the 2003 models on.
Turbo punch, Audi-quality interior materials with great fit/finish, cool blue/red lighted dash at night, practical overall layout and design, good ride vs. handling compromise ala BMW, decent rear passenger and cargo room for its class. Also gets great gas mileage, though it asks for premium.
Mostly nitpicks: Easier-closing rear hatch with a real grab handle, and that doesn't lock automatically when you close it. Easier access to oil filter for do-it-yourselfers, and a little more bright interior trim would look better(especially with all-black interior). And why no standard foglights?