The newer Jettas are, imo, definitely NOT "driver's cars".
I have tried the cvt's, and my girlfriend really likes them. I just don't. After 14k+ miles, my only complaints about the transmission are the very wide spacing of the gears, and that they aren't the 6mt the aussies and japanese got.
Not sure how the gears are on the foreign market 6mt's but they HAVE to be better than the w I d e five.
This is the only car I can remember owning that requires downshifting to first gear at slow speeds. Normally if a car is even rolling, second gear usually has enough "grunt" to be sufficient. Also- passing or accelerating quickly is really best suited for 3rd, unless you're going 55++.
Having driven it a lot, I am used to the transmission, and while its not ideal, for me its still way more palatable than a cvt. Even with the clutch engagement (which didn't take too long to get used to).