There was one manual S available in all of Southern California when I was in the market. While I loved the response of the TD, I just couldn't justify the additional $5-10K. Plus, I live in the desert, so I really don't have any desire for a sunroof.
This car replaces a 2009 Subaru Forester, a reliable yet gas guzzling AWD, with no power & awful seats.
I don't regret not spending the extra $ for the diesel because I'm consistently getting 33-35 mpg/hwy, 26-28mpg/city.
I drive 60/40 hwy/city.
After 5 months, with 5K miles, I'm thoroughly enjoying this car.
Though this is as basic a Sportwagen as one could probably find, I got a lot of car for a very reasonable price.
What I like/love about this car:
Very good MPG.
Great VW Seats: Fit, lumbar support, power recline even on an S model.
The power recline is a good feature.
I don't move my seat back and forth much so the manual feature on that and the seat height is fine.
But I do adjust the recline on long trips because it helps relieve pressure on my lower back.
Gearbox and clutch throw.
Both very good.
Shifting is quick and quiet.
Turning radius is tight and cornering is excellent.
Interior design is very nice, with good space planning, materials, and fit and finishing.
Cargo space is great. This car came with the lego like cargo holders and the monster mats.
The rear mat is great with my dogs.
Climate control system could use some refinement.
It seems to take a while for the AC to really kick in.
I live in the desert, so this is rather important.
Also, the adjustments, while rather basic, could be better marked.
I'd like to see more options available, such as a rearview mirror with Homelink and compass.