I bought the GTI to have a fun car to drive while still being able to live with it day by day. It has more than enough power for the street. Quick steering and an easy to use 6-speed gear box, but the clutch travel is long. There is a huge aftermarket to tweak the car to exactly how you want it. Fits four people with ease. The hatch is a bit small compared to my last car's trunk, but cavernous once the rear seats fold down. Adequate 6-disc CD stereo for a non-audiophile. I've had no mechanical problems. The biggest problem with owning the car is how expensive maintenance can be, especially if down at the dealer, but the recommended 10,000 miles between oil changes helps with that.
Powertrain. Interior accent lights at night. 30+ mpg easily achieved if driven with care. Much fun if driven without care. Big aftermarket. Multi-Function Display in dash for car info (mpg, etc), radio control, and car options.
Lots of minor eccentricities with the controls (cruise control, seatback adjustment, lever to lower the seats to get into the rear, etc). Creaks and rattles are common.