My Nissan is an auto 7 speed with the gearlever option.Extremely easy to drive and relaxing and mid 50s mpg on most runs,careful driving will get around 60mpg but that is very slow driving.
I found all the VW range to be very hard seats like a board so not even a test drive for me.
I also found that all the German cars had the steering wheel offset to the right so you sit at an angle and that also put me off any other German make.
I have always liked the Peugeot range of cars for good seats and economy.You might find a 2008 would suit you well.The Peugeot engines last well over 150,000 miles in diesel form.
Remember also,if buying one a couple of years old,it is likely to be zero road tax so check that out on the low emission diesel range.Petrol models are often paying higher road tax.
Brand new,they are all taxed now.
personally,i only buy diesels for the quiet ride and economy couple with the lower Co2 emissions.With the diesel particle filter,the rumours of pollution are not exactly very true.They are very clean in pollution terms and often,they avoid London congestion charge where you might pay for a similar petrol engined vehicle.
Note,the new VW small engined cars now cut out 2 cylinders when in towns to save fuel.
VW can be a quality car,but comfort is poor if you do have even slight back pain issues.