I had never driven a VW two weeks ago. After the test drive, I was sold. Build quality is amazing. Driving it is a joy. The 2.5 PZEV 5M is no slouch. Much more than "acceptable," well beyond "competent." Not a racecar, but great torque, and amazing responsiveness in all the conditions its been through so far. For the price, I would say that my Rabbit is an amazing blend of performance, comfort, and quality. I can't even describe the feeling one gets while driving it. During the test drive, I just wanted to laugh maniacally. On paper, it doesn't look like much of an edge over the Versa, Yaris, Fit, or tC, other than performance. In person, it feels like a whole new class of vehicle.
Standard feature list is better than competition. Comfort and build quality, road feel (can't stress this enough!). Stock performance satisfying. PZEV makes me feel better about getting such mediocre gas mileage. Utility of the hatch is awesome.
I'm gonna go in two opposite directions here. Firstly, I wouldn't mind slightly better mpg (I don't drive responsively, and I'm getting ~18mpg). Secondly, I know this isn't a GTI, but I can't help but think about what a beast this thing would be with a turbo. Engine is cousin to gallardo motor.