Thunderstruck: I hear you re: HID headlights. I'm no spring chicken either, and notice headlight deficiency, but I'll wager the car you test drove came from the factory with the headlights focused too low. I have no idea why they come that way, but they do. A very minor adjustment improves the visibility a great deal.
Still, not even close to HID, but MUCH better than what you experienced.
As for VWoA never listening: mgmt. has done their research, they were looking for a price-point to compete, and in 2012, they nailed it with a very successful rollout of a completely new factory, new car, new engine, etc. etc. Now, several years later, keeping costs down is more important than satisfying the few (yes, the few!) folk that know the difference between a regular headlight and an HID headlight.