But onto another option -- you may want to consider buying a recent-but-used car from a rental car company. I've heard that it can be a good option... On the downside, it's been a rental car. Lots of people have been driving it who haven't had its best interests at heart. On the upside, it seems likely that a (reputable) rental agency has probably done a good job with maintenance, and likely has the records to prove it. You may have some limited options as far as make/model go, but might be worth a look.
I bought a new Honda civic in 2001, and I'm still driving it. It's not been without a couple of issues (turns out that historically, the 2001 civic is is one of Honda's poorer efforts), but overall it's been okay. In hindsight, I wish I'd not taken the depreciation hit when I bought it new, but all in all it's been all right. I do think that the next time I look to buy a car, I'll at least put some time into testing recent-model used cars, though. Avoiding the first 3 years of depreciation on a well-maintained car is likely worth any minor hassle.