The Bora/Jetta is a lot of fun to drive. It is sporty, fairly fast and economical with the 5 speed manual. (Could use a better clutch and a smoother shifter- which they have done now).
There are certainly other cars that are faster, but at what price? The faster Nip cars are much more expensive and some have questionable crash ratings. The Jetta has an excellent crash rating -and has airbags all around.
Highway mileage (average speed around 70) is just short of 30 MPG.
The original Michelin sport 17 Inch tires lasted about 50,000 miles and handled very well in both wet and dry conditions. However, very expensive to replace (USD $215 Ea). Went with an alternative tire.
The 2001 GLX came loaded with electric seats on both sides which were leather, heatedl. The driver seat also had a 3 way memory setting.
The Monsoon Radio and CD were a very noticeable upgrade from the factory.
This car also had the sport option which included stiffer spring setting, performance wheels and tires. Close, but not really getting there. Went with aftermarket 1.5 inch Lowering springs and swaybars from Neuspeed which made a big improvement in handling. (This is a must if you are a driving enthusiast). Coilovers are an expensive step up from the lowering springs - expect to pay minimally USD $1,000 +. As mentioned above also replaced the pulleys which were less than $400 installed. Also, the AEM High Flow Air Intake was added for around $250. (7.5 - 10 HP) Other notible additions were the Neuspeed Cat-Back exhaust system along with the p-flow chip. You do notice the performance gain and you really haven't touched the engine. There are a variety of quality aftermarket options, but Neuspeed is at the top.
The big problem with the car, if comparing to the Passat is the back seat. I'm 6 ft and can set back there, but not on a long trip. It is a bit too cramped.