I have a 2005 Volkswagen GTI and I love it. It is a blast to drive, the turbo spools up at about 3,000 to 3,500 rpm and then from there to redline it is a pocket rocket. The torque is there as well, even at low rpms. Passing on the highway is a breeze. You never need to downshift, just keep it in fifth and it will spool up and go. As far as comfort for the price nothing can touch it. It comes with heated seats, leather, power everything, a sunroof, great stereo, and 6 air bags. Also, when it comes to build quality, there is nothing that is better. I have a 7 year history with Volkswagens owned through the family, and no one has ever had any major problems to speak of.
The turbo, the turbo, the turbo. I also love the great build quality, nice stereo, how wonderfully fun it is to drive, and the great option list for the money. The passing power in fifth gear on the highway, is unmatched. It has great gersatility, with the hatch, and the seats folded down you have a surprising amount of cargo room.
The suspension of the car is setup more towards touring than, performance driving. It could use power front driver and passenger seats. The radio controls could be a little more ergonomically designed. It definitely needs a sixth gear, which has been solved in the new GTI, as well a few more horses.