Just to provide a counterpoint:
We bought a used '00 Beetle TDI with 40k on it in late '03 for her. We sold it with 100,000 miles on it. During that time I put in a timing belt, tensioner, some glow plugs, a coolant temperature sensor, and too many headlight bulbs. Other than that it returned 50 mpg and was generally fun to drive.
We bought a new '05 Jetta TDI for me. I only kept it 9000 miles before giving it to her, and she put another 90,000 on it before we sold it. The car returned 48 mpg consistently, sometimes better. During that entire time, the sum total of all parts it needed (aside from oil changes and filters) was a recall for the engine driven fuel pump at 5,000 miles, a radio replacement under warranty (CD player quit), a set of glow plugs, and the in-tank fuel pump at 85,000 miles. We sold it to another inmate here almost three years ago, who has to my knowledge been quite happy with the car.
No electrical issues, no broken window regulators, no $4000 repair bills. Just good, reliable, economic transportation that was fun to drive.
"Bueller, you're an island of sense in a sea of bullshit" - swimmer
"bueller, you ARE an island of reason in a sea of bullshit" - quasigentrified