Growing up in NYC, my family and I never needed a car. While I'm aware that the 'first car' is a huge symbol of independence for teenagers across America, that concept seems to fall through the cracks in big cities with subway systems. Though I consider myself a bit of a car enthusiast in terms of overall knowledge, living in my urban home I've had little physical experience with driving. That's about to change.

I'm heading off to college next fall in Ithaca, NY, where the winters are rough and the hills rougher. Ithaca gets about 66 inches of snow every year, or so I've read. I'm going to need a relatively cheap used car that can handle these wintry, hilly conditions, and is also a viable 'first car' for someone who has little experience with auto repair/maintenance. If it were fun to drive and a manual, that would be a plus.

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TL;DNR: I need a cheap, Jalop-approved used car that can handle snow and hills.

Sadly, this does appear to be one condition where the answer is NOT Miata. I was thinking something along the lines of a Subaru WRX, perhaps. A hatchback or sedan would be preferable to an SUV.

What do you guys recommend?

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