Q: Advice on purchasing my first car

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Hello, I would like to get my first vehicle, but I know very little about cars. I have started reading up on cars, trying to figure out the most reliable makes & models.I want a car that will last me for years, hopefully.

My plan: a used car, maybe made in 2011 or over with low-average kms. Budget: $10,000, willing to go up to $15,000 if I absolutely love the car. Preference: midsize SUVs, midsized sedans, or compact car.

Cars I like: Hyundai Elentra/Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima/Sentra, Mazda 3. My friends have advised Honda & Toyota as the most reliable cars. I think mechanics are more knowledgeable about cars. If you were purchasing your first vehicle today given your extensive knowledge but on a budget with a focus on reliability, what car would you buy? It doesn't have to be one of my preferences. I included that just for info. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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