2000 Volvo V70 from North America
Cheap, safe, comfortable, great for DIY'ers who are speed-phobic
Headlight lens, brake hoses, parking brake, thermostat, interior lights, ignition coil - lots of fiddly little things.
This car was quite neglected when I bought it, and it immediately needed about $1,000 in repairs. However, once done, I consider it quite a bargain. Volvo's have a reputation for being expensive to fix (pretty true) and unreliable (not so true), so if you're lucky you can scoop one of these for cheap - I got mine for $2500. That's a steal considering all the options (moonroof, leather, auto climate control) and safety features (stability, traction control, side impact airbags, etc). Plus, being a wagon, you can fit loads of stuff in it - fold the seats flat and you can practically park the QEII back there.
Here's the good: Undervalued and mostly taken care of by the posh soccer moms and college professors who previously owned them - poor resale value means you can get one on the skinny.
Even more good: durability. These cars were built to last 20+ years, so mine has an almost perfect undercarriage (no rust), great body, and feels like it was carved out of a solid block of steel. The interior is about as comfortable as you can get, better than pop's Lexus.
The bad: this car is SLOW, and I mean seriously slow. Grandma-going-up-the-stairs slow. For real. If you want any sort of speed or driving enjoyment, look elsewhere. This is like driving a brontosaurus.
More bad: Major problems will probably be a deal-breaker - engine or transmission work can easily get you into the $4K range, which is probably not worth it for a car this old. Test drive before you buy, and if the engine or transmission leaves you feeling shaky, just walk away.
If you're handy with a wrench, you can find lots of reasonably priced parts online and DIY instructions for fixing common problems, which will save you tons of cash. The engine compartment is simply huge, and easy to work on - not like those Japanese cars where you need midget hands to change out a spark plug.
Would highly recommend for a third car, trips around town, or for teenage drivers.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd June, 2011