Insurance costs are flat if you don't have Comprehensive and Collision, something to consider...Also OP, how long did you own that rabbit? How long did it take before you got comfortable at your job?? It just seems like it'd have been cheaper to just rent a car for the duration instead of buying a new car.
Liability is generally the largest insurance cost for me, although on the Rabbit collision is higher.
I was at a particularly weak point when I committed to the Rabbit, and it was not the most logical long-term choice in hindsight. At the time there was no room for the unexpected and I didn't realize that I'd have such a great workplace in the future; I had to be 100% sure to get to work on time.
It's not a total loss for me, I really enjoy the Rabbit and even with gas prices down it's still paying for itself, but I could have done better.
At this point I'm thinking my next car will be a 1996-1998 Volvo 850, which (on paper) offers most of what I like about the Rabbit and should be a reasonably long-lasting car for its price range.
I would suggest avoiding the Focus; I've had two and they are enjoyable cars to drive, but they are not the most reliable cars. They aren't bad on the major stuff (save for SVT's), but a lot of niggling crap seems to break just like on the VW's we had.
'67 Mustang - out of commission after an accident
'00 Echo - DD
'11 Kia Rio - Wife's DD
'09 Harley Nightster - 48mpg and 1/4 miles in the 12's