I owned a 1996 Jetta, and then many other cars since then. I liked my 96' Jetta, but would not say I loved it. It was a small, economic car with good handling...but that was it. Not the case anymore. The moment I sat inside this 2008 Jetta SE at the dealership I fell in love. The first thing I noticed is how the leatherette seats supported me and felt very nice. Although not real leather, they feel just as good but without the maintenance and wear of real leather. Real leather wears and can get real ugly over time. The second thing I noticed is how elegant the dash looked (like a Lexus). Then I felt the leather wrapped steering wheel and the rest of the gadgets. The overall feel was perfect. The car is very comfortable. Then the drive. I was surprised at how much power it had, not like my 96'. However, like my 96' the 2008 Jetta keeps with its tradition of excellent handling. There is really no other car that offers all the Jetta offers at $21k...170HP, 16" Alloys, great handling, leatherette back-supporting seats, sunroof, 6 disc MP3 w/ Siruis, and 6 airbags (LOWER CAR INSURANCE than its competitors to my surprise). The only gripe I have is gas mileage. I'm only getting around 21 mpg. I do roughly 75% city, 25% highway. I drive a little spirted, but still expected a little better mpg. Hopefully it will get better once the engine gets broken in - I only have 900 miles on it so far. Bottom line - If you want a luxury, sporty sedan with moderate power this is your car. If you want one with more power, get the GLI for a grand more. If you have 6'5" kids and take long trips frequently with your car full of passengers, maybe then consider the Altima, Camry, or Accord....or perhaps the Passat. Comparing to the Corolla, Civic, or Sentra...you've got to be kidding me. I used to sell 07 Corollas, rented an 07 Civic, and test drove an 08 Sentra. Not even close. Good cars, but no where near as fun and comfortable. They have less power, same or less space, less supportive seats, and are about the same price when similarly equipped.