I would look into used Mercedes , or Volvo's they are some of the safest cars on the road, reliable, and if maintained you will be set. Look for both under the year 2004 trust me. I would only buy if there is maintenance records or you can see maintenance has been done.
There is nothing more expensive that a used Mercedes that has not been maintained with regular service.
Mercedes 94 are the most reliable, great body frame, classics, leather and if maintained well can go over 300,000 miles. I should know I have a couple of paid off Mercedes. Just make sure the harness was redone ( well known in that age to have a "green" disposable harness....sigh don't ask)
I have many friends with leases, car payments etc who are jealous of my Mercedes and Volvo that I just got. They don't look their age, have been maintained , are classics and drive incredible.
I just picked up a Volvo with a turbo , voted one of the safest on the road. Was 33,000 new. Now this is an oldie, but looks brand new interior, leather, fantastic exterior but needed a new hood. Already replaced hood, fan relay, timing belt ( should always do this at 70,000 miles) , water pump, serpentine belt , and PCV flame kit, oil change, fluid check, cam shaft seal ( for small leak) etc. Some needed done, some just preventive maintenance. I bought the parts for a fantastic price. We did this ourselves saved thousands . She looks brand new, drives smooth, and we will probably get 200,00 commuter miles out of her. I won't even say how cheap I got her , as the owner wanted it gone , needed a new hood and smoked from the dipstick . Which in researching is common for that car and needed a new PVC flame kit, it was regularly 150.00 for the kit I got on sale for 85.00 free shipping. Like my friend says she looks brand new. She drives incredible and certain family members love the turbo ...LOL that can go up to 150 but no we won't drive it to that ! :thud::bolt:
Mercedes diesels are great highway commuters, great on mileage, and have been know to go over 400,000 miles if maintained.
Hope this helps. Did I say I love no car payments, classy cars, with leather, power everything, smooth rides and did I say no payments ...LOL I would never trade my Mercedes for a BMW ( sorry BMW lovers, I have heard you either love Mercedes or BMW...well mine have never let me down. But we have been willing to research , join boards for help, get the parts for a good price and do the work ourselves.
Hope this helps sorry for the book, and if no help disregard.
Best wishes in your decision.