I’m going to just list the criteria (I will not necessarily explain them) and not even mention what I’ve been shopping and driving, what I’m just waiting to turn up on Autotrader or cars.com, or what I’ve already crossed off the list. I just want to see what you come up with and more importantly WHY. Why should I choose the car you nominate?

  1. $12k maximum
  2. 2004 or newer
  3. Under 100k-ish miles
  4. No salvage titles
  5. Automatic
  6. Four doors
  7. Capable of hauling two small kids and their car seats
  8. As safe, reliable and cheap to own as possible
  9. Relatively good to drive, but certainly not hardcore sports sedan
  10. Fuel efficient, but not at the expense of the above
  11. Comfortable, but not a rolling sofa
  12. Has to be for sale within 300 miles of Austin, Texas
  13. Cannot be for sale by a shady roadside auction dump
  14. As un-boring as is realistic given all of the above