What reliable, high mileage car should I buy?

Help! My 1998 Mercury Tracer died today and I need a new car soon. I'm a teacher, so I don't have a ton to spend. I need reliability (Toyota? Nissan?) and good mileage in a Corolla-sized vehicle. Ideas?

Barbara, Richmond, Va.

Classics like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are continually rated top dog in quality surveys and offer good gas mileage teamed with proven dependability. Cars.com’s reviewers have had their hands on a lot of compact cars — including the aforementioned two — and reviewer David Thomas gives his thoughts:

"If you're looking for reliability and good mileage in a small, efficient car, I'd recommend the Honda Civic. It comes in a variety of trim levels and has a better-than-average reliability rating. The Toyota Corolla is another option, but the current model on the market is on its last legs and will be redesigned in the next year.

”Other models you could consider are the Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubishi Lancer, Mazda3 and Ford Focus. They offer a lot for the money and decent mileage."

For quality and other ratings, see our Research section and Vehicle Summary pages on each of the cars, which is where we list J.D. Power ratings, mileage numbers and prices. You should also check out our new-car Incentives page, where we list cash-back rebates and special financing offers. For example, right now there’s a $3,500 cash-back offer on the 2007 Ford Focus that’s good until Jan. 2, 2008.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on October 24, 2007 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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