Why is it a better boat than the Vega? Where do I start? To begin with its a far more modern design with a fin keel and big outboard rudder. It's a frac rig and doesn't need big genoas in light air. It's a Peter Norlin design and he was a very good designer. There would be no comparison at all in the overall performance of the Vega compared to the Cirrus 7.8.
I think the appeal to the Vega is that they are inexpensive, have made a number of decent voyages, and are easy to find.
I looked at one and wasn't really crazy about it, but I could see the appeal, especially for the price. I'd also have build quality concerns, the one we looked at had a substantial blistering problem (worse than any other boat we looked at).
Heck, a westsnail 28 might work for someone too. altho, not sure about $$$ initial.........
There was one for sale here for $40k recently. They have some nice features, but there is no way I'd pay that much for one.
I really like the interior layout for a 28ft boat, they did a much better job with the interior than a lot of other boats that size/year. I mostly like the fact it's useful for more than sitting in the cabin staring at each other. Our interior is atrocious, so is the Vega's for that matter.