what are my best bets below $1800?
If you can find a Geo Prizm, that’s a good cheap car. My daughter recently sold a '91 Prizm with 180K miles for $1,000. The car had been in the family since new, with maintenance records, and ran perfectly. I’m sure it won’t last forever, but someone will get a few good years from it.
Old Corollas are good bets, too. I’d suggest a Honda Civic, but they are so popular with the street racing crowd the prices have stayed high.
If you can afford the gas, Ford Crown Victorias make good cheap cars.
A Ford Ranger two wheel drive work truck–manual transmission and few amenities-- might be a possibility if you don’t need room for more than one or two passengers. There is also an equivalent version with the Mazda nameplate.
I paid $750 for a used 1990 Chevy S10 Truck for a winter vehicle. Only extra money I put in it was the full tune up I gave it myself and the new temprature sending unit. It will probably last for 1 year if I drive it 30 minutes one way every day.
In this price range vehicle make/model and domestic vs asian is irrelevant.
What matters is a mechanical check(for a fee) by a mechanic before purchase. If possible a car with a known history(usually one owner) is really beneficial.
I just sold my 95 Geo Prizm for $1600. Nice car, it only had 107k on it and was very dependable.
Hyundai Accents have improved considerably in the last few years, but still have poor resale value. You might find a low mileage one for very little money.
At one time the Geo Prism was made on the same assembly line as the Toyota Corolla, they just put a bow tie on the Geo. I would look for one of those, or a Corolla. The Civics have gotten pricey.
Check out any chrysler K car derivative. I’m particularly fond of my 93 plymouth sundance. There is also the Dodge shadow, chrysler lebaron, and many others. These cars are not very fancy, but they will run 200,000 miles with no problem.
If it’ll meet your needs, I’d opt for an old Toyota pickup with the 22R or 22RE 4-banger. The engines and drivetrains on those are virtually bulletproof and long lasting, and if a repair needs to be made (on a sub-$2000 vehicle it will), then the repair is generally cheaper and easier. The longitudinal 4-banger with lots of space around it is much easier to change out components on than a transverse mounted engine. And you won’t have those expensive CV joints, timing belts, and struts to worry about.
Oh, and mine was still running strong at 338,000 miles when it got totalled by an errant Hyundae.
Contrary to what he said, you’re much better off with a Japanese Vehicle in general. (The Geo Prizm I believe has a Toyota built engine, transmission, etc.)
Hey original poster also consult a car issue of consumer reports. Under the used cars it will list “good bets” in various price ranges and have the reliability ratings all laid out for you to evaluate. Good luck!
It depends on how much you are going to drive it. Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis can be had cheap and they are reliable and inexpensive to fix.
ANOTHER VOTE FOR Prisms…my last an 02 “Chevy Prism”. $1800 won’t get you much of a choice, but opt for the manual or 4 speed auto instead of 3 speed auto if at all possible. At that price, take the best bang for the buck…regardles, being a Toyota clone doesn’t guarantee no problems. I wouldn’t be afraid of a Ford Ranger. Cheap to fix, but lower milage for the bucks over Toys.