Consumer Reports overall used reliability ratings: 2000-05,07-09: Great, 2006: Good
Unfortunately they redesigned it ugly in 2001, so if i was going to get one it would be the 2000 model.
Price: 2000: $6000-$8000
Consumer Reports: Great for all years, despite a bad rating for the Electrical System category for 2001-2003
Despite the good CR ratings, i wonder how much info there is about long term maintenance of hybrid cars so far?
Price: 2001: $10,000, 2002: $9000, 2003: $11,000, 2004: $13,000
It's a very small sample size =) That's a lot higher than the CR estimated prices though...
Consume Reports: 2000-2005: Okay, 2006, 2009: Good, 2007-2008: Great
I mainly included this cause my parents have one and it seems to have worked fairly well for them. Er, i think they still have it. I don't pay that much attention to cars really so they might have gotten a new one and i didn't notice =P
Price: 2005: $14k 2006: No data, 2007: $16k-$18k
Consumer Reports: 2003-2004, 2008-2009: Good, 2005-2007: Great
It's a hatchback, and not quite as smooth and ugly as the newer Rav4s. Supposedly it's bit noisy and with a stiff ride... exactly like the Rav4 :)
Price: 2003: $8k-$10k, 2004: $11k-$12k, with ome $6.5k outlier, 2005: $9k-$13k, 2006: $11k-$15k 2007: $14k-$15k
Consumer Reports: 2000, 2002: Okay, 2003-2004, 2006-2007: Good, 2005, 2008-2009: Great
Another okay looking hatchback
Price: 2002: $12k, 2003: No data, 2004: $9000, 2005: $18k
Consume Reports: 2003-2008: Great, 2009: Good
I don't care what other people say, i think it looks cute :) And it has good ratings, unfortunately it supposedly has lots of road noise (which would probably bother shelleycat)
Prices: 2003: $10k-$13k, 2004: $9k, 2005: $12k-$15k, 2006: $12k-$18k
If anyone has any other suggestions for models i should look at i'd be curious to hear about it. So far i've mostly been looking at the more unusual cars from Consumer Reports' "Best Used Cars" listing 9except for the Scion xB, the new model of that is hella ugly.) For some reason the standard normal shaped cars don't seem to appeal to me much, though i may end up getting one of those just for cost reasons.
I still haven't decided about manual vs. automatic transmission. I _like_ manual, but automatic would probably save me money in the long run =P
Oh, and for the price checks i was using http://edmunds.autotrader.com There's no guarantee that's actually the best price available of course, or even a good representative sample. Especially since a lot of the searches didn't turn up more than two or three cars for a model in any given year.