I've had this account for ages and have used it for advice on my Mothers 1999 Corolla CE (1zzfe 1.8L & 4 speed auto). I like the car, mechanically its been very reliable so far. I don't think it has had anything done on it other than replacing some gas lines and brake lines that rusted out (since my mother won't spend the money to have it rust proofed). I don't even think it has had a brake job in the years we have owned it (we have taken it in to the garage, but they only cleaned & adjusted the brakes). My only complaints with the car are ergonomics. I'm a big guy and there is so little space in the interior. I've had a 2009 Corolla as a long term rental and the interior is a bit better in that car.
So, I'm looking for a new car for myself. I'm not wanting to spend too much, and I've noticed the following cars in my price range.
1999-2001 Corollas; Decent milage 130,000km, most have AC, Cruise, PW, PL and can be had for under $3000
The rest of these seem to be hovering around a minimum of $4000:
2000-2004 Echo Sedan, around the same range for milage, most have a/c, but no power accessories, and Cruise seems to be rare.
2004-2005 Echo Hatch, Very high 200,000km+, Top end of my price range, most don't have power anything and no cruise
2004 Matrix - VERY high milage 220,000km+, but has power everything, and cruise. Also considering the Pontiac Vibe
So thats what I'm looking at now. My only real requirement is Cruise Control and a 4 speed auto. I like the 1.8L engine. I'd prefer a hatch back for utility, I move stuff around quite a bit and the trunk of a corolla is basically worthless. I've heard good things about the interior layout of the Echo, so I'm keeping that in the running.
So, my preference would be a hatchback with cruise control, and if I can't find a hatch then I'd buy a older Corolla. So I'm looking for any buying advice.