I need to buy a car that will be reliable for commuting about 25 miles each way to work. Looking for something kind of small but need 4 doors b/c I have a kid who sits in the back still. Want good fuel efficiency (prefer 35+ highway). Need something in the 5-7K range. Old, not-pretty, is fine. Looking for recommendations on make/model/year/mileage to look for. I’ve been buying Hondas for some time, but I think I won’t be able to get into one at the price point I need so open to alternatives. TIA
An older car needs to be carefully checked by a mechanic you trust. An abused car that was not properly maintained can turn into a very expensive choice.
Your best bet for that price range, IMO, is probably a Ford Focus. You can get 2004-2006 models for that price range fairly easily, and they’ve been reliable cars since the 2003 model year - the earlier ones weren’t horrid, though they had a lot of recalls, but definitely not as good as 2003+, which have been reliable and nearly recall-free.
Nissan Sentra, Altima…Focus, Cavalier…Try to find a stick shift…Take your time shopping…
There are millions of Hondas around, many of them in your price range. Have you looked on Craigslist?
You can get a newer, lower mile Chevy Impala compared to a Honda, but you might only get 30 mpg on the highway.
Look at a 2004/2005 Chevy Malibu Base model or LS model. It’s plain-looking and reliable. You can get better than 30 MPG on the highway, but 35 might be a bit high.