I traded in the 03 VW Jetta 1.8T (Mk4) for the 2011 WRX. My take... My VW was heavily modded with suspension parts and had the powertrain bolt-ons, for what it's worth.
1) As many time as it's been said, the interior is amazing for the money. I had black leather in mine, the cloth was tight and well drawn everywhere else, and the plastics felt soft but heavy and purposeful.
2) Lots of torque with boltons. Was incredible to handle on smooth roads. (Could be attributed to mods.)
3) Sound system was amazing. Monsoon I miss.
4) Reserved style. I could go anywhere in that car. It looked sporty enough, but also racy enough.
5) It was reliable. I beat the living **** out of that car for 100k miles and it rarely ever had a problem.
1) In order to get the good handling the ride had to be stiffened to the point of unenjoyability.
2) FWD couldn't put the 250+ftlbs of torque down well at all.
3) Tiny turbo was blowing fumes at higher boost. (Wasn't a smart car to modify.)
4) Couldn't go ANYWHERE in bad weather. Horrible in moderate rain and up, forget about it in the snow.
I've only had my '11 WRX for a month and 1000 miles now.
1) Fast. Coming from the VW, the AWD, 265hp, and great gearbox are all wonderful things to spend your paycheck on.
2) I can get to work in the bad weather. That's huge to me.
3) Car has more potential to modify but less glaring need for it.
4) Interior is not bad at all. I quite like it actually. The plastics feel a bit lighter/more toyish than the VWs and I have cloth, not leather, but I feel very good about the interior and sound system. Probably 80% as nice as the VWs.
5) Hatchback. Very nice utility to have, and looks like a space pod. (Mine is black.)
6) Just a good fit. I wanted utility, performance, ability to modify, all-weather reliability. I didn't want to be PAYING for the leather, supreme sound, cloth, etc... I feel like my car payment is going toward what I want now.
1) Fuel consumption is, by comparison, piss poor.
2) Looks like a spaceship to some. Don't really care, so it's a small con.
3) I feel that the clutch/gas is a bit out to lunch and not very communicative.
4) The power seems very absent below 4k, where as the VW would pull from 2.5 grand. Rev range is somewhat more peaky. Probably fixable with a tune.
That's how I see it so far. I'm glad I made the switch.