Yeah, I laughed when I saw your VW shit the bed. A buddy has a Golf GTI, and that thing was more costly to maintain then my M5. My dad bought a (new at the time) '03 Jetta TDI, and it was a hopeless shit heap.... just brutal.
VW is a brand I'll never touch ever again... hopefully you learned from your mistakes after this ordeal. I dont know why people buy VW's, honestly I dont.
Just my opinion here but I think you are nuts for replacing this car.... Get a transmission from the wreckers and change it yourself.
TDI vws are good for way more than 120k.....Its not uncommon here in canada to see them with well over 400k and still original engine. Even if you pay someone you will still be way further ahead than spending 30k on a steel box that won't last half as long as a diesel vw.
really? I've never seen a single VW past 200k myself. Our '03 was developing serious issues at a whopping 100k.
yeah, great cars aren't they? Incessant Failing electrical issues, just.... ****, it was endless with that car, about the only thing good about it when we sold it was the engine still ran like a top, although it should since it had 110k km's on it when we sold it.
For car suggestions: You may want to take a look at a Pontiac G8 GT. 400hp LS2 powered, yet still a family sedan. Yes they come in auto's as well. With the 6 speed tranny, their surprisingly good on gas, as the RPM's are at 1500 in 6th on the highway.
Basically its just a re-badged Holden Commodore as sold in Australia and other parts of the world.
You may want to look at a newer Cadillac CTS. My uncle just bought one and its seriously bad ass, mind you he got the CTS-V, but even just the regular CTS is a damn good car.
Those Ford Fusions are great cars as well.