When my 2002 VW Passat wagon was diagnosed with over $3000 in repairs for bad components such as starter, wiring to accessories, suspension, etc. I sold it at a huge loss and found a 96 Accord Wagon with 79k miles on it. It is such a superior car in reliability and ease to service, there is little to compare. I have two 96 Accords now, they are amazingly reliable, and 11 years on these cars is nothing they are lively, cheap to own, safe, and fun. I regularly get 25-30 mpg, they start in any weather, owners can service most components, and the web forums are very popular and informative. Pick one of these cars up, they are young at 150k, you cant go wrong at the prices they go for now.
Reliability, ease of service, mileage and strong 4 cylinder engine.
They got it right with this car. I just wish Honda would bring the Wagons back to the US -the rest of the world has them.