2008 Volkswagen Rabbit S 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
I drive mostly city in San Francisco, and it handles the bumps just fine. Zips in and out of traffic. 5sp manual is much easier to manage vs. my old 2000 passat 6cyl. Lacking torque just a bit at the very low end, but you can start from 2mph in 2nd if it's flat terrain. Interior materials are fantastic. On mostly city driving with hills, I'm getting 17mpg (but it's San Francisco). I estimate pure hwy at 29, but I got 30 in my Passat V6. Same passenger volume as in B5 Passat! This is ingenious! On reliability: had valve problem - dealer replaced entire cylinder head, and car was in shop for 3 weeks.
5spd manual; heated seats; cup holders; rear a/c vents in console; smooth engine; fine handling.
a) Paint seems to be thinly applied - minor peeling on edge of door from I dunno what; b) Lumbar support not nearly as good as in 2000 Passat model; c) Can we get diesel model for better mileage in CA NOW? d) Need Bluetooth and better iPod integration; e) Monsoon audio; f) DON'T change the design.