2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)
I was looking for a car with good fuel efficiency, comfortable to travel home from Minneapolis to Bismarck, and room for bicycles in the summer and 210cm cross country skis in the winter. Crash safety was also very important. After narrowing it down to the Jetta and a Subaru Impreza, I chose the Jetta. The manual is a much more tricky than any I've ever used, but once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad. Expect to kill the engine now and again. There's tons of space in the trunk. It is better than hatchback versions of the Subaru and Mazda3 I drove in terms of space and ski/bike fit. The seats are very comfortable, and I fit well in the driver's area. Good visibility.
I'm getting 39mpg combined. the touch screen and driver's computers are well thought out bluetooth It has super acceleration in 2nd gear; the speeds you really need it around town. Faster than that, it's wimpy (so aggressive driving is difficult) making 40mpg+ efficiency easy to achieve
An ULTRA annoying piece of the buying process was that there is a MANDATORY ~$500 "Sport Kit" not included in MSRP. All it is are crappy floor mats and a tiny, ugly spoiler. Total waste of money. I almost didnt buy because of this The air selector knob is difficult to see from the driver's seat