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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What I mean by that is something that's very practical, a little quirky, very reliable, not terribly mainstream and has a bit of a following. About 10 years ago I had a 1995 Toyota T100 truck it had 200k miles on it, it was broken in but not beat down and it had such a great feel to it it almost had a personality I wish I never sold it.

Here's my list of cars I'm considering this way when I see it I'm ready to pounce.

2003 Totota Matrix XR
2005 Nissan Sentra
2006 Acura TSX
Chevrolet HHR
2007 Jeep Liberty
2007 Mazda CX-7
2008 Ford Escape
2008 Honda Accord
2008 Honda CRV
2011 Honda Fit
2012 Ford Focus Hatchback
Mazda5
Mazda6

My main criteria is reliable, 4 doors, decent mileage, $10k or less and it must be presentable.
 

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I would second the Liberty V6. My grandma has one for bouncing around the desert in SoCal looking for cool rocks, so she’s always towing a 1500lb trailer. It’s never let her down. The MAF sensor can be finicky, and a lot of folks recommend replacing it every 3-4th oil change. It’s a $20 part connected with two screws and a hose clamp, so it isn’t a big project. It does come with the 5.7 hemi if you would prefer.

ETA:

I have a 2015 Jeep Renegade, and would not recommend. We bought it with 100k, and less than two weeks later had to replace the transmission. It’s at 114k now, and still gives us problems. It has very little power (struggles to make 50 on on ramps), only gets 22mpg average, and is currently on blocks at work waiting for a rear hub assembly to arrive from Italy.

Now my ‘93 Geo Prizm on the other hand… 278k miles, makes 65 at the top of an on ramp, and averages 35mpg around town/45mpg highway. It has the 3 speed automatic transmission, so one with a 5 speed would do better mileage.
 

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Indefatigable
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My father, a car collector, told me to never buy a Pontiac. Ironically, I inherited his 2006 Pontiac Torrent in 2012. All wheel drive, large cargo, fuel efficient, no rust. I don't know that I would escribe it as quirky or cool but that baby is still going strong. No major repairs, although the radio (not the speakers) died this year so it's as old school as it looks with a book of CDs in the compartment underneath the passengers seat. LOL As an added bonus no one wants to steal it.
I'm not saying they are all that reliable but I threw that out there because if you come across one in your search you might want to give it a second look.
Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Car Vehicle
 

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Just my two cents, I wouldn't touch a Jeep after Fiat bought the company, or anything made by anybody with a turbo, with a 10 foot pole. Everyone I've known that's had a Jeep...post Fiat ownership of the company...has had nothing but problems with them. I know two that had their Jeep Wranglers burn to the ground.

Just a quick glance at the list, I would go with that Toyota pickup or the CRV. I know people who have run the hell out of a CRV...I'm talking well over 250K miles...with little to no problems.
 

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Might I suggest a really quirky car?
My front yard will be lonely without her........ View attachment 381956
I owned a Safari (Thing made in Mexico with Bus running gear - it was registered a truck owing to the GVW))

Despite a gas heater, these are not a winter (Alaska anyway) auto.

However - they are a beast. Easy to work on, EMP proof if that matters and I got 25MPG around town (Las Vegas) Parts can be had- all found on line and locally.. NO CHIPS.

If I could find one not all rusted out & for a decent price, I'd have one in the drive.
 

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Pisticus Veritas
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You did say Quirky and Cool...

I bought my mom's Pacer when I was in my late teens. I beat the heck out of that car. I ended up selling it to a druggy and moved out of California with the money I made (a few hundred bucks).
 

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There's some sort of compact Suzuki for sale around the corner from where I live. I think it falls under the "quirky" title.
 

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I bought this for my fiance about 6 months ago, after much research. Her 2008 Ford Taurus with 140k miles was becoming a nightmare.

2014 Honda CRV with 100k miles and immaculate. AWD, 26+mpg. $11k, cash.

We have taken several trips and it is very comfortable for my 6'5" 240# body, as well as her petite 5'3" 120#'s.

Automotive parking light Car Wheel Tire Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Forget the Mazda CX7, the turbo motor is expensive to fix and parts are becoming obsolete. I came close to buying one a few years back but did my homework and walked away. The CX5 is way more reliable.
From my limited research it also comes with a non-turbo 2.5l engine, I'm not a fan of turbo's or CVT's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Just my two cents, I wouldn't touch a Jeep after Fiat bought the company, or anything made by anybody with a turbo, with a 10 foot pole. Everyone I've known that's had a Jeep...post Fiat ownership of the company...has had nothing but problems with them. I know two that had their Jeep Wranglers burn to the ground.

Just a quick glance at the list, I would go with that Toyota pickup or the CRV. I know people who have run the hell out of a CRV...I'm talking well over 250K miles...with little to no problems.
This generation of Jeep in question is pre-Fiat.
 

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How about a Pontiac Fiero? Probably decently reliable with a stick shift. Not too expensive for parts, and upgrades. Has some collector value, being a rear drive, rear engine small sports car. Like a mini Ferrari. I think the panels may have been fiberglass?

Also in that category, but front engine, the Mazda Miata.

For small 4x4, the old Sidekicks run forever, or XL-7. Rav 4.

For more different, and older, the old Tercel wagons with 4x4 were neat machines.

Probably would give the Jeep a pass. Don't know if they were great for reliability. May be built off the Neon platform.
 
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