I suspect no one has responded yet because a price of under $4,000 and reliability is a rare combination. Once just about any car has over 150,000 all bets are off. It might last for a while with no significant repairs, but a major failure at any time also would not surprise me.
Your best bet might be a 2008-2011 Ford Focus, if you can find one in the sporty SES trim in good condition in your price range. The 2005-2007 Focus ZX4 ST is sportier and easier to find in your price range, but is less reliable than the 2008-2011 car (though the 2.3-liter engine in the older car tends to be solid). Any repairs these cars do require should be relatively inexpensive.
Buying the car from a private party should help, as the margins dealers require to remain in business are an especially high percentage of the price of inexpensive cars.
The right car could come down to what you can luck into. If you find a car that could be a contender, check it out and share your impressions here. I'll be happy to contribute what I know about the model.