New beetle well maintained buy?

Hi, this is a car of a family friends of mine. I have personally driven the car for a while, and have found it to be an excellent ride. Now I am looking to buy it.

The problem is that the Nbeetle is a notoriously unreliable car. This particular model was pretty well maintained though. There are no issues with the car, and it runs and drives very well. The starter was the only thing replaced recently, cost 200$.

It is a 2002 VW Beetle and has 105000 miles on it. Well maintained, good condition, manual transmission. It has a small electrical problem, that the central locking acts up at times, and locks itself. Does it sound like I shall be screwing up if I buy the car, or should I go ahead?

Update: the unreliability is well documented on sites like; msn autos etc. Consumer reports also says the same. The car hasnt needed much repair, the tyres were replaced at 85000 and the spark plugs and brakes too at that time. That unreliability hasnt manifested itself when I used the car, for six months this summer.

Buy (SP=3000$) or go for a 6000$ Civic ?

Actually, MSN says it’s a reliable car despite the problems with the engine. I guess they rated these problems as small since the price is less than $500 for any of them. On an older car the most important thing is maintenance. If you are satisfied with the maintnenace from the current owner, then it could be a good deal. Especially at $1300 under cost. That gives you plenty of money to get the electrical problem fixed. If the door lock issue bothers you, though, you might passon it.

Thanks so much for the reply. Honestly, the owner told me, and I can confirm that it hasnt needed much. Is that a good sign or is it that the car has been kind of ignored and poorly maintained?
I remember that the starter went out when we were driving back from Rochester to Albany, we had to push start it. The locks are not a big issue, but if it belies some more electrical issues then it is a problem!
What do you think of the acura rsx/integra? I’m looking at cars from 2000-6000$ and had seen many a car;
2005 Honda Civic with 85000; 6000$
2002 Civic Si with 75000; 7000$ ( it also had the check engine light on, and I passed it up)
Does the ride and handling of the RSXs and the Si’s make up for the fact that they shall cost me around 500$ more annually in insurance and gas?
I’m a graduate student doing a PhD, if that helps.

I’d go for basic transportation at this point in your life. Another car to consider is the Chevy Malibu (2004-2007). This is the last generation design. It’s homely, but reliable. This makes the cost to buy much lower than popular cars like the Accord or Camry. There is an occasional problem with the ignition lock cylinder ($150) in the 2004 and 2005, but that shouldn’t deter you from looking at it. Remember that parts for the Acuras will be more expensive than the Civic, VW and especially the Malibu. But the VW seems to be a good option…from 1500 miles.

The vehicles you are considering are between five and 8 years old. In my opinion, the condition of the car and how well it has been maintained is more significant than the make of the car. I survived my doctoral work drivng an old American Motors Rambler Classic 550. There was a service station near campus that was very good to me and kept my car running through my graduate work. In fact, I drove the car for several more years after I settled into a job. I might still have the Rambler if the floorboard hadn’t rusted away and then the patch rusted through. I would have a mechanit check the VW, find out what it may need and go ffrom there.