I have about $4,000 to spend on a used car. I am hoping to keep the car for a couple of years. I always do routine maintenance, and definitely don't mind fixing a few things here or there, but I am looking to avoid a money pit type of crapmobile. I'm a baby screenwriter (read: poor), so for now, I want to buy a used car outright and avoid car payments + inflated insurance while I'm trying to work my way into Hollywood. Unfortunately, I know jack about cars and my family's advice ranges from buy a Volvo (ugh) to buy anything Japanese. My preferences right now, within my budget, lean toward a 2000ish Volkswagen Jetta, or a 2000ish Jeep Grand Cherokee. This is primarily based on looks, I fully admit. Gas is obviously a concern with the JGC, but I don't want to pick my car based solely on that. Does anyone have any experience or opinions on which of these cars would be more reliable? I've done some internet research, but all I'm finding are the places where people complain, so it's not very objective. I'm not a particularly hard driver, and I've never driven more than 8k/year, but it will be in LA, so driving daily is a must. I'd also be willing to hear other suggestions. Thanks in advance if anyone has any insight.