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Dearest Lucinda,

My advice (and it certainly isn't gospel) is to buy Japanese, especially when buying "used". There is just no contending the longevity of a Honda or Toyota. I recently purchased a used car myself and only had about $3200.00 to spend. I was able to find a 1989 Honda Civic Si for exactly that amount. If you are able to spend more, you can get one with lower mileage.
Mine had a little under 100,000 miles when i bought it.
Keep in mind that for a Honda or Toyota 100,000 miles is LOW. These cars typically make it to 200,000 miles and beyond easily. Unfortunately, there are few American cars that can match this level of performance and reliability. Go with a Japanese car for the least amount of headaches. Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

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