Well I'm pushing 13 years with my 2000 Toyota Corolla and I feel its time to get something much newer. I'm looking for something thats semi sporty with aftermarket options around the 20k area. I prefer compacts but open to midsize as well. It has to be auto (I know I'm going to get flamed for this but traffic around here just stinks and I dont want to deal with a manual.), 4 door, good mpg, and reliable.
Right now I have my eyes on Mazda 3 and VW GTI but I'm sure you guys know some really nice gems out there.
Those two would have been my recommendations. Excellent choices! Also consider a Golf TDI if you want even better mileage.