We are needing to buy a used car under 30,000 miles, good gas mileage and under $20,000. What cars have the best reputation for fewest repairs needed? Any suggestions?--Honda? Toyota?
That is where I would start looking. Buicks also have a great reputation over the last six years or so for reliability and cost less for insurance and repairs compared to Hondas and Toyotas.
Subaru also makes good cars which come with all wheel drive in all models if you need that. The Forester model is really nice, upright looks for good head room and plenty of leg room without the top heavy feel of a true SUV.
We've had good luck with Toyotas (Avalons), Honda and an older Nissan Maxima. Bad luck with Ford, but that was a bad year for that model (1st year Windstar). Consumer Reports lists best and worst used cars to buy. Go to library and look at the 2008 yearly issue.
For $20,000 you should be able to get a new one with a warranty. Plenty of cars under that price if you don't need all the bells and whistles.
Grab a 3-year-old car to evade the worst of the depreciation hit, unless thou art rich enough it doesn't matter.
Any car can break. Every car has stuff that wears out.
Many variables to consider.
How long to you intend to keep the critter? If long-term you want a car whose parts will not destroy your budget. Some parts of the country are "friendlier" to "foreign" cars than others.
The upper midwest's rural areas beg for the purchase of a Chevy or Ford since the locals know how to fix 'em.
If in a bigger city with a Honda, Toyota, etc. dealer your options increase.
There IS sumpthin' to be said for the Consumer Report's list though they are not infallible.
You can buy a 07 Malibu brand new for less then $20.000 I like mine.You can buy a used 05 Buick Century for under $20.000 again I like mine.I would take a close look at a Buick LaCross also and a Chevy Impala in the slightly used market.
I will not knock a Honda or Toyota but there Its better then the domestics is all hype.
I believe advice submitted earlier in this forum (forget when or who) was accurate -
Honda or Toyota.
If you buy a used one, insist on the respective manufacturer's "Certified" used vehicle.
Do some legwork up front though, not all their vehicles are trouble free.
As for incentives on new vehicles, look down the road a piece, namely residual value. "Incentives" on original sale can translate into a negative $ factor at trade time.