Branching out beyond Honda/Acura--need some opinions on urgent used car purchase

Glad I found this resource–hoping for some feedback on what I should be looking at.

Current situation: 1999 Acura TL with 195k miles on it. Transmission is starting to slip badly during up-shifts. Local repair guy I trust has quoted 3.3k for new tranny with 1 year warranty. The car runs relatively well but seeing as it’s worth 1.5k tops and has substantial other needs, I’m going to replace it and need to do so quickly before it dies.

I’ve owned Honda’s and Acuras for most of my life and had great luck with them. But in looking around I see other options that are newer with far fewer miles on them that meet my criteria and I’m considering them as well but know nothing about them.

Criteria: Need a 4 door smaller to full size sedan that will primarily be a daily driver but occasionally need to take young kids to soccer etc. I want to pay CASH for the vehicle. I’ve always financed and don’t have bad credit but I’m looking for something that will last me 2-3 years or so until I can get what I really want. So inspite of my desire to spend more I’m forcing myself into options that I can pay cash for and own outright. Must be enjoyable and comfortable to drive.

That translates to vehicles that cost 9k or less. If my TL can last another month I can go up to 10k but I’m not counting on it.

If you were in my shoes today what would you be looking at? Maybe a top 5 list of models?

I’ve looked (online) at Mazda3’s, Toyota Camry’s etc. What’s out there that I should be giving strong consideration to? Thanks!!

Lots of choice. I would be looking at a Hyundai Elantra or Sonata, Toyota Corolla or Camry, Mazda 3, Ford Fusion.

Your best value will be a Hyundai Elantra with low miles and a good maintenance record.

1997-2001 Toyota Camry with the 2.2 liter 4 cylinder engine. Many of these are around at reasonable prices. Reliable car with good gas mileage.

Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Altima, Nissan Sentra, Pontiac Vibe(actually a Toyota Matrix)

I’d but the newest car in the best condition. This would automatically drop Hondas and Toyotas off the list. They are fine cars (I own a Honda), but resale is so high. A 2008 Chevy Cobalt LT is in your price range. A comparable 2005 Civic EX with twice the mileage would be about the same price.