So, I’m trying to buy a cheap used car. It’s not going well.
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I think you will need to go for the Saturn.
I’ve only bought two used cars and both were from my brother. One was in college. I was in college and he had graduated and having a good paying job wanted a nicer car. So I bought his old Datsun 210 off him. The body was in bad shape but it ran well. I took the car from 90k miles to 160k miles before it blew a head gasket. Not bad for $250.
The second car I bought off him was a Chevy Berretta. It was a runaway favorite for worst car ever. My brother felt so bad about the non stop repair bills he offered to buy it back. I just junked it instead.
A Ford Torus is a good beater too.
Stay away from older German cars, as much as I love them, parts are prohibitively expensive.
VW’s tend to age particularly fast for some reason.