2006 Volkswagen Jetta Value Edition 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
I've had the Jetta for 3 years and am very satisfied. It's a good sized vehicle for me and the type of driving I do: trips around town, sometimes with people and things, and the occasional road trip. After 48K miles, I'm hard pressed to find any faults at all. It's reliable, fun & sensible, but not boring and bland like the Asian competition. The 5spd and 2.5 motor have plenty of torque to compete off the line if you are a skilled rower. The interior build quality is Teutonic solid, ergonomically correct for the driver. Pax might find it a bit "stiff" (mine have, but I don't care, because I'm having fun driving). Looking forward to at least 100K unless I upgrade to an Audi before then.
Motor grunt, low-end torque, build quality, ability to swallow 2 pairs of skis or bikes with the trunk lid closed, turn radius, crisp handling, trouble-free reliability. It's different in subtle ways that set it apart from Honda and Toyota products, which makes it even more fun.
VW should improve the coatings on radio and window controls. Southern heat and humidity causes it to blister and bubble up. No other suggestions- VW did good on this one.