There's also the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix 4wd option that is not super common, but you can find them and they are very reliable. There's also the Honda CR-V and the Toyota Rav 4 that are a step bigger. I think dollar for dollar any of those would, on average, give you a little bit lower automotive repair and maintenance costs than a Subaru. And they'd be a LOT more reliable than a Jeep. A Subaru wouldn't be a bad choice, though. If you're very tight on money, you could get something more in the $3-4k range. If a repair comes along that would cost more than the value of the car, just sell the car unfixed and buy another one. Odds are, though, that any of these models in the $3-4k range would last 10k miles, though, and still be worth about $1k less than you paid for it.