We bought this car new in 2001. Since then, it has been in the dealer countless times. It has gone through several MAF sensors (expensive!), some turbo work, and plenty of recalls. The interior seems cheap, although the gauge color scheme is a nice touch. It has surprisingly sporty feel in the corners, especially for an economy car. We have the TDI version, which regularly gets 50-55 mpg. I would buy this car ONLY for the mileage, since it has more than made up for the cost of repairs over time - especially with gas prices these days.
Better reliability, TDI could have a bit more power if there is no mileage sacrifice, better designed interior. Cupholders get in the way of shifting!