Ford focus, and I say that as a vw fan. vWs are better cars but I think they're overpriced now. Ford engineering has improved no end.
I've currently got a ford fusion, Dh has a mondeo, my sister has a lovely focus. We had a focus as a hire car last week and I'm seriously thinking of selling my fusion now to get a focus. Even the delivery driver said what a lovely car it was, that he rates it above and beyond an Audi A3 and he spends his days driving both.
You'll get more for your money with a ford compared to a vw, so newer car, less mileage. Fords are generally cheaper for parts and repairs than vw.
we've just bought a ford focus, '09' plate for 6k. What Car magazines favourite small family car. The boot space is huge and the back seats fold in a 60/40 configuration. It handles well too. We also looked at a Skoda Fabia which was lighter but again really good space. Don't think you can go wrong with a VW/Focus/Toyota but do get an independant vehicle inspection (ie AA or RAC).