I bought my Wolfsburg after my '93 VW Fox was taken away from me in a bad car accident. I ended up getting a really great deal on the car from a used VW dealer, for $1,500 less than book value. The car has been very reliable, and with about 150,000 miles on the clock as of today, only a few things need to get replaced. Its build quality is supurb, despite the fact that not all Jettas are known for it. Living in Michigan, the car goes great all summer and all winter, and going down the highway offers a pretty comfortable ride combined with exelent gas mileage (33 MPG between home and Chicago). I would recommend the Jetta to anyone looking for a first car, but of course, you have to have the money.
The German engineering, simply put, is the only reason to go with this car. I've driven American, Japanese, and other German cars, but my Jetta is still one of the best cars I've ever driven simply because it talks back to you when you are driving. The only thing that has matched it was a Porsche...
I think the lack of a glove-box was a mistake on their behalf, and only having one cupholder that actually works is a dissapointment too. More horsepower would be nice, but at the risk of a loss of fuel mileage, it isn't too bad. The fact that VW is still selling the 2.0 in Europe shows how good it is.