The one thing all buyers should be aware of and this goes for many cars from 1995 to 2008 is that many, even Acura used timing belts. Many of these cars engines are Interference engines which means extremely close tolerances. So, if the timing belt breaks (It will give no warning) , most likely it will destroy your engine. If the engine is non-interference (many 1995 to 2000 were) it means your walking and need to get your car towed, and looking at a $700 repair to reinstall the belt. So, if you are intent to buy one and don't know if that belt was replace, then you must replace it soon or gamble on losing your engine.
The 2002 V-6 Sonata I bought looked almost brand new in and out , underneath and even the engine bay. (I know dealers clean them, but the car was well pampered.) I paid a bit more but this car was outstanding. Not one ding on the car, no accidents , EC interior, and only one very small minor scratch (about an inch ) on the bumper. Pearl White. I did own a 2002 4 cyl long ago and I never had a problem with it. I also own a 2013 Elantra Limited and like that as well.
I know it's early in the process but I put about 550 miles on it so far, and no complaints and very happy. There is a lot of junk out there in that price range. I had Toyota's and they are wonderful reliable cars and would have bought another had the price been right. Anyway, In its present condition it hard to think there will be problems popping up soon, but then again, its relatively new and it is a 14 year old car, but I can tell somethings were replace like the A/C , and front brakes etc. I wrench on cars so I can do somethings when they do come up. I would say the idle is not the smoothest but once in drive it is pretty quiet and a very comfortable soft ride. Quiet in park as well. Tires look almost new, and exhaust doesn't seem that old, so it's relatively quiet, accept upon acceleration. It emits a growl, which sounds kinda like dual exhaust so its not too troubling. No it's not as quiet as my new car on acceleration but hey, it is 14 years old. Power is decent at 170 HP. Handling is good, and visibility is real good. Brakes are firm. Everything works well, including Power sunroof. Dash looks brand new , and its beige in color. I can tell this car spent a lot of time in the garage and not in the sun. Paint shines!
I saw many articles on the rear brakes and how they made lock up. Yes, I think the design was bad. I did take the rear wheels off, and I believe the problem is the metal slide clips they use are a bad design. I sanded down those slides, and also the edge of the pads, and used high temp grease to ensure movement. I just want to avoid possible problems since it seems this was a concern. It's not hard to do this.