2002 Volkswagen New Beetle GLS 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Bought this car at 99K miles, previous owner took exceptional care of it. As had happened with my previous VW though (2000 Jetta), stuff started going wrong with the car shortly over the 100K mark. While understandable with a high-mileage car, the small things in the design of this vehicle were what surprised me, negatively. Shoddy plastic parts often broke down, such as the hatch release and center console. The sunroof is also a water hazard, but I hear VW has issued a recall on that. Love driving this VW, but hate owning. Water pump, oil pan, timing belt, starter, and window reliability are some things to look out for. Keep this in mind if you are even thinking VW.
Love the pep in this car, the great design for the back seat fold-down, converting it into a high-capacity cargo hatchback, and the looks.
Don't skimp on the mechanical parts, making them plastic as opposed to metal. Hatch release, sunroof, electrical systems, windows, etc etc. Many little problems can make one huge problem: owning and maintaining this car.