A few months ago I posted to Oppo requesting advice over what car to recommend to a first driver. Well, just recently another one of my friends has announced that her family may be in the market for a new vehicle, although under different circumstances. As long as I have know her their family’s fleet has consisted of a third generation CR-V and an ancient fifth generation E80 Corolla. This seemed to suit them pretty well since her mother daily drove the CR-V for work and her father worked from home with the Corolla as an errand runner. However, in the past few months it seems that the little Corolla has needed a fair share of maintenance and being a thirty year old deathtrap their family has considered replacing it. My friend mentioned this casually last week and I have spent the past few days doing some experimental Craigslisting. She has not noted any restrictions other than a price cap of around $3-4K but I do think that if they were to get another vehicle, I would want something a bit safer than the corrugated metal and lap belts of the airbag-less Corolla. In addition the car should probably be dead reliable as well as cheap to run (so no premium gas, oil, etc.)

To recap:

  • Budget: $3-4K, cheaper is better
  • Safe (preferably with a few airbags, full seatbelts)
  • Reliable (with inexpensive running costs)
  • From a name Japanese brand (just for peace of mind for non-Jalops)
  • Average fuel economy is probably fine
  • Automatic transmission

So from my research, I have decided on something like an older Avalon or Camry. Nice enough that they aren’t usually riced by stupid people but with the same reliability known from the smaller cars. I considered Honda (some nice TL/Legend/Accord and Vigors in our area) but transmission issues I think would be iffy, and a used Lexus LS would just be way too much car (and need premium fuel).

What does Oppo think?