My 2004 Volkswagen GTI has been first rate from the moment I took it off the lot. It is a considerable improvement in build quality over early models. I traded in a 2002 Golf for this GTI. The turbo, 17" wheels and sport seats make a huge difference. If you need one car to do it all, and you don't want to blow a ton of money, this is it. Romp on the pedal and this car will take off like a rocket. Lay off the pedal for good gas milieage. Need to haul some junk, just fold down the seats. The manual five speed is fun to drive even in traffic. The paint and materials look better than other cars in its class. There is a ton of aftermarket parts available for this car. I've driven Porsches, and yes, they're better, but for the money you can't beat the all around champ, GTI.
Turbo! Style. Road feel. Quality materials. Other owners wave and give thumbs up. Stealth quality keeps me out of trouble with the law.
Do it yourself maintenance is not as easy as other cars.