THE BMWs of this world might seem all conquering when it comes to the junior executive class.
But the VW Jetta is beautifully put together and, in diesel form, comes with about the same performance, emissions and economy for £4,000 less.
It also rides superbly and holds the road like a sport scar, which makes it very easy to live with and great fun.
I drove the 1.6 TDI SE which only just has enough power for the weight, but the 140bhp 2 .0-litre TDI is a superb engine with enough performance for anyone.
The Jetta is as refined and quiet as the BMW and has steering which is just as good, hugely informative through the corners and easy when parking.
It is sharp and agile, stable at speed, has huge economy and low emissions. But it does depreciate faster than the Golf and the BMW, because it's not so sought after in the secondhand market.
It comes with higher levels of equipment than the Golf and SE trim brings, alloys and cruise control plus automatic headights and wipers.
There's loads of legroom throughout, the seats are very comfortable, the driving position excellent and the boot huge.
: BMW 316d