copout (copout) wrote in thequestionclub,

car help

TQC, the time has come for me to buy a car. I have 0 interest in or knowledge of cars, so I have no idea how to figure out what I want. (I am taking a car-informed (large, male) coworker with me when I actually go to buy it to minimize the amount I get screwed; in my case all of the assumptions that car salesmen make about women are unfortunately true.)

But before I actually buy it, I have to figure out what I want. There are way too many options out there and I kind of have no idea where to begin. Here are my parameters:

- I plan to buy used and pay up-front (no loan). I do not want a new car.
- My upper budget limit is $15,000. Less would be strongly preferred.
- I do not know how to drive standard; I could learn but would prefer that to not be a requirement at this point.
- I probably need all-wheel drive as I live at the top of an extremely steep hill that is not always well-plowed in winter.
- I prefer a small vehicle as I feel more comfortable driving them and I live in a parallel-parking city.
- Low maintenance is important to me. I do not have the time, patience, or knowledge for a high-maintenance vehicle.
- Reasonably good gas mileage is important to me too. I will be doing a mix of city and highway driving (I will probably use it for short in-city trips about 4 times a week, and a long highway trip about 1 weekend a month).
- Aesthetics (not so important, but might as well throw it out there): I hate the appearance of anything boxy (truck or SUV-like) and I'm not a real fan of hatchbacks.

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