I need a little help finding the perfect car. Right now my wife and I share a 2014 Mazda5 but I want a second car for work. I work so close that we don’t need a second car but I think it would make our lives a little easier. We have a budget of $4,000 in mind, but I would go as high as $5,000 for the right car.

Like most Oppos I have very narrow and specific requirements for what I’m looking for. Primarily I want something reliable. After my last car this is my biggest concern. I want something that I can be confident will always start and get me to and from work. Something with no known mechanical issues. I don’t want to spend any money on car repairs. So I’ll probably shy away from anything German and, after my last car, absolutely no Hondas.

This is what I put into my craigslist/cargurus/autotrader searches:

Mileage: under 100,000

Radius: 100 miles from Orlando

Price: $1,000 - 5,000

There are thousands of cars in the central Florida area that fit this description. Thousands of German cars. Thousands of old, beat to hell cars with questionable modifications. Thousands of automatic transmission sports cars. Thousands of work trucks. And thousands upon thousands of boring, bland, uninspired, base model compact / economy cars.


Rationality says I should get one of the boring, bland, uninspired compact / economy cars. Preferably a Japanese one. But I can’t help thinking about my brother who says life is too short to drive a boring car.

So among these cars I can sometimes find something interesting and out of the ordinary. I’m wondering if any of you know of any problems with these cars I’m looking at. Also I want to know if you know of any other cars in this price range that I should be searching for.


2006 Saab 9-3 SportCombi Stationwagon (just like the lead-in picture) By far my first choice.

2001 Mazda Millenia S

These are so cheap! And look at that two-tone!


Cadillac STS

It’s definitely an old person’s car but I have a soft spot for Cadillacs.


Lincoln LS

The V6s are cheaper, but why have a V6 when you can have a V8?


Mazda6 (Do you really need a picture of one of these?)

Volvo S40 / V70

Unfortunately, these wagons aren’t so easy to find. The S40 sedans are more common.


Infiniti G35

It’s a rebadged Nissan Skyline. How cool is that?