Personally I'd do some research, especially before buying a brand like VW which has been beset with all sorts of mechanical problems. If you check the yahoo auto user reviews, the kelly blue book user reviews and the user reviews on Edmunds .. since users usually have no axes to grind and will praise or condemn based on their own experiences, and get hold of the annual Consumer Reports Auto issue which color codes each vehicle and model going back 5 years by individual components as well as overall.. you'll be able to make an informed decision.
If you're looking at that price level, my friend's wife just got a new Hyundai Sonata (he drives Mercs) which he's been very impressed by. Great 10 year powertrain warranty, good JD Powers customer satisfaction rating and it's nice sized, stylish with good gas mileage. Hyundai makes a really good car now.. out of curiosity last year I test drove the Genesis which reminded me of a more cost effective and better waranteed 5 series Bimmer. It turned out not to be, but for the price I found it to be not too far off either.