I had spent a week agonizing over the decision of what to buy and from whom. In fact, I still regret missing the opportunity to buy a cherry 2009 Rabbit on a test drive last week, but the timing was off.
So how did I come to the decision? The only used Volkswagen Consumer Reports recommends is the 07-09 Rabbit, and I honestly couldn't deviate too far from "safe and reliable" on my wife's car for the sake of enthusiast zeal. So I started with some other cars, including a Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Volvo S60, Ford Fusion, a new Jetta and our rental car, a Toyota Corolla. Although she liked the height of her Scion XB and the chick-utes we looked at, they were out of our budget. Even an XB with side airbags, my new requirement, was as much as the Rabbit. After test driving the 2009 Rabbit, she began to dislike the floaty feel of the rental Corolla. She wanted that confident, German handling.
The 2008 Rabbit didn't feel quite as solid as the 2009, but it was adequate. It had around the same amount of miles (35,000) but with a sunroof and better seats. It was a CPO vehicle, so it has another 2-year warranty beyond the standard one, albeit with a $50 deductible. So yeah, I had enough confidence in my own car to buy another one.