It doesn't sound like you have much need for a car. Been renting one when needed so far?
Two strategies make sense to me:
Get an older four-cylinder Honda Accord or Toyota Camry that can't depreciate much more as it sits, but that should still be fairly reliable.
Get a relatively new Ford Fusion. Nearly as reliable as the Accord or Camry, but less expensive for a given model year, as they depreciate more quickly. The main problem with the Fusion is it will continue to depreciate more quickly after you buy it.
I'd suggest a smaller car for higher fuel economy, but if you'll be driving mostly on the highway then a midsize will be more comfortable. The cars one class down are the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, with the same logic as above.
Among hatchbacks, perhaps a Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix. Not especially quick or quiet, but functional.