Good suggestion. Yes I've considered both a GTI and a GLI. But with VW's reliability record I'd be hard pressed to buy one. I suspect I'd really like either one otherwise. Strangely enough, according to Consumer's Reports, overall Jetta has a much worse reliability record than Golf for reasons I don't understand.GLI?
We rented a Golf with a manual transmission in Ireland a few years ago and really liked it. But buying one as a long term keeper - that may be dangerous. Lots of stuff going wrong even under warranty would be unwelcome.
We've owned European cars, Japanese cars and American cars. Our European cars (Volvo, BMW) have been lovely but also much more needy than our Japanese cars (Honda, Toyota). We haven't had an American car in some time, though in my experience they were generally good cars (Chevrolet, Buick, Mercury, Dodge).