I'm going to start off here with a bit of background. I am a college student, living in Rochester, NY and for the past few years I have been trying to figure out what vehicle best suits my needs.
Over the past couple years I have bought and sold way too many cars and trucks, but I still haven't found one I really like in all respects.
I have had:
a 1994 Toyota Camry
a 1993 Jeep Wrangler
a 2000 Jeep Wrangler
a 1998 Ford Ranger
and Serenity, my 1999 For F150
There are a handful of things which I really want in a vehicle, which I haven't really been able to find together.
Decent gas mileage (Mid 20's would be great), as I don't make a whole lot of money at my job and I'm in school full time
4WD - Living in the snow, and being a firefighter/emt, when the weather is at its worst, I want to make sure I can get through it.
Being able to carry at least 3 people semi comfortably. My roommates and I are all from the Albany area so we travel together to and from on holidays. Given I'm the only one with a licence, my vehicle needs to be able to fit them if I want to keep getting thier gas money.
Being able to fit in a parking spot, Serenity is a little over 20' long and is a bitch to maneuver in small parking lots and in the city. Its wonderful on the farm and fine on the highway, but cities are a nightmare.
Some other things which I would like, but I'm willing to give up are:
Bed space/Towing capacity - While I often don't need a 8' bed, or even a bed at all, they are certainly handy while moving and you can make a buck or two by helping your friends move, not to mention hauling materials back home or towing a trailer.
Off road ability - Serenity can't really off road, but the ranger and the wranglers could, and they were great for it, and loads of fun.
Manual transmission - Really this should be more of a must have, than a would like to have, but it eliminates many SUVs which only came as auto, so I'm not completly set on it.
Also, to make everything more fun, I can't really afford to spend more than what I can get by selling Serenity, so maybe $4000-$4500? Anyone have any vehicles they would suggest I look at?