I have a '98 VW Passat with 90K miles on it. He told me that he wouldn't keep it past 100K. The thing's only a little more than 5 years old. I had planned on driving the thing into the ground, keeping it until annual repairs ran $2500-$3000 (approximately the amortize yearly cost of a new car). I explained this to the mechanic and he said, "Yeah, that's understandable. I recommend getting rid of it fairly soon."
My preliminary research tells me that my first choice for my next car will a Toyota Prius. In part because it'd assuage my liberal guilt stemming from driving 24 miles each way to work and in part because it sounds like a really good car for non-environmental reasons. Unfortunately, they're coming out with a greatly improved 2004 model next month and my guess is that demand will greatly exceed supply meaning that it'll be hard to negotiate a good deal. Also, Toyota dealers in the Houston-area are supposed to suck big, sweaty hippo testicles. Hard.
If anyone wants to give me $20,000, i'll be their best friend.