I had my jetta for almost 6 years and loved it overall. It was a manual transmission which made it fun to drive. The only problem with the transmission that I had was that it had difficulty going into 1st. It got great gas mileage and other than when the AC broke during a 10 hr drive in the summer, it was great on trips. I did have some mechanical issues including a $600 fix after I attempted to replace the battery and the whole computer shut down. I had electrical problems too and the cup holders and side window adjusters broke often. However, I drove it until I totalled it in March. I will say that I was only hurt minorly and feel that the car was very safe.
The safety, fuel economy, and small size of the vehicle. It was zippy and fun to drive.
Fix the taillights and headlights! Geez I had to replace a bulb like every month, and when it was recalled for this it didnt help the issue any.