Hello, welcome to the club.
First up, I am sure theconsensus on the site would be to go for a diesel and not a petrol, but not an early diesel, so post 2006. Second, the 1.8 petrol seems to be thirsty, whilst the 1.6 is apparently underpowered . Lastly, do not buy a variable automatic transmission - it's nothing but trouble. So, that seems to leave the manual 2.0 petrol, if petrol it is.
Of course it's horses for courses. I really like my 1.6 petrol. It goes plenty well for me, costs me almost nothing to buy, hasn't cost me anything to maintain and does everything I want of it at a reasonable MPG. But if you do a lot of mileage and even more motorway driving then you should be looking for a 2.0 diesel. If you're looking for probably the best all rounder, then go for the 1.6 diesel. Ok, matey[img]smileys/smiley20.gif[/img].
2004 1.6 petrol LX