When shopping for my new car I drove the WRX with a factory tuned exhaust a VW GTI (older model) a Velocetor turbo and a mini with a turbo and stick.
Cars I did not consider because they were out of my price range. BMW 335D, BMW M3, Subaru STI, Audi S4, Lancer EVO
Cars I did not drive because I couldn't find one to testdrive: Subaru BRZ, Scion thingy
The Subaru with it's AWD and aftermarket is capable of very impressive performance. You get a good car from the factory and the AWD really helps while learning how to go fast and makes it much safer in bad conditions. It will translate to good numbers on the track too but it's heavier then 2wd. Unfortunately the car feels very unresponsive to throttle input in almost all of the RPM due to the turbo. If your in the 2k band of turbo your good and you have performance. Otherwise it's a very boring motor. I was shocked and offended during my test drive. If Subaru could provide wide band torque like the ST it would be an exceptional car. I have owned a turbo stick before and have the skills to stay in the turbo band but it does take close management of the car. For a daily driver it was under performed. I'm pretty sure I should have driven the STI for comparison.
That said the interior basically looks like a honda civic from the 90's. It's really very boring and lacks any modern features. It wasn't until recently they offered a leather interior. If your going to live with the car day in and out it's nice to have navigation (or use your smartphone) and a stereo with bluetooth link. On my ST I have heated seats and they really help in the cold mornings. It does not improve track times but it does make me love the car.
The VW GTI with it's DSG is very satisfying to drive. The TC is well built and it handles very well on the freeway. The plaid seats are unique and the body lines are pretty good. We all know that VW has suffered from quality issues in their electrics and plastics. Also the older GTI has weak bolts that attach the sub frame (Front clip) and after hard driving you will hear a clunk going into corners. It's easy to correct by adding longer stiffer bolts. Given that the GTI has excellent controllable performance but it's not as fast as the ST. In addition the ST can have leather and current entertainment electronics. Lastly those rims are easy to curb and almost all GTI owners have curb damage on the right wheels (USA).
Lets talk about the Hyundai Velocetor. I drove this car side by side same day of shopping. We put the first miles on the car since it was off the boat and the tires were still slick. The car is fun to drive and has decent acceleration but it is not even in the same class as the ST or the WRX. The fuel numbers they advertise are not even close to real world and Hyundai has been forced to change them. My co worker has one and complains frequently about fuel economy. The electronics package in the car is very similar to the ST but the voice dialing does not work at all with his Android phone so I think they have some work to do there. The seats in my veloceter are comfortable and leather but they don't hug you like the ST seats. I can say the trunk is slightly longer and deeper making it a good daily driver.