2008 Volkswagen Rabbit S PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
Bought this car brand new when I was 16, for just under $16,000 and haven't looked back since. It's pushing 7 years and over 100,000 miles now and no problems at all. Changing the oil every 10k miles and changing brakes as needed I'm sure helped the quality remain top-notch. Quick enough for getting around town along with decent fuel economy, however I wish the mpg were a little better.
Interior is really top-notch for the price. Compared to Honda, Toyota, even Subaru, the interior is WAY nicer and seems like a notch or two above the competition. The 177lbs of torque are nice too, you can really feel it in the upper rpms. Lots of room in the back seat, too. I'm 6'1 and fit in the back seats comfortably. However, I do recommend the 4 door over the 2. Clutch is really nice too, without feeling overly assisted like the Golf 6 does.
Fuel economy. The new Tiguans are getting 32 on the highway and my rabbit is pushing 30 if I've got the wind at my back. Not a dealbreaker, but it definitely could be better.