After determining that I wanted an efficient sedan with some acceleration zip and handling athleticism, the Jetta TDI prevailed as the most appealing.
The diesel's acceleration is delightful around Houston's inner-city grid, as well as when merging and passing on open highways.
The DSG transmission takes some personal adjustment time, due to its characteristic (normal) hard downshifts during parking-lot creeping and stop & go traffic situations.
Conversely, upshifts are fast and super smooth.
Fuel economy is now averaging 42 mpg in mixed driving.
This car feels amazingly stable, responsive, and capable in all driving situations.
The overall styling - inside and out - is balanced, elegant, and will age gracefully, as most VW designs tend to. The design simplicity of the instruments & controls contributes to the peaceful driving environment (unlike...for example... the overstyled clutter of bezels, seams and textures found on the interiors of Focus, Elantra).
The Jetta's supportive, nicely-shaped front seats also deserve a compliment.
Auto-up at all four windows is a nice touch, as is the i-pod integration, which pauses your song if you mute the stereo.
The leather wrapped steering wheel rim and shift lever are both a pleasure to grasp.
I'd only like a backup camera and a larger nav screen.