I don't think I can recommend anything, but I do feel your pain. So I do wish you luck with the situation. As for your budget, you seem okay.
I had a car that died once, and I'm sure my current car could die any time soon. I have a cousin who can get me the parts I need for a good price, but I'd rather just replace my car totally. It ended up being a lemon, yet I still wanted to fix it up to make it something more worthwhile, only to have to have something about it fixed almost every month. So now I'm saving up for a new car. I've already taken my tax refund and put it aside towards getting a new car. I might also be getting my own place soon, so I'll just wait until that happens before I really start to worry about buying a new car.
By the way, I think I have my mind set on a Toyota Corolla, and I'd buy it brand new. Also, have any of you ever considered getting anything from Hyundai?
The artist formerly known as PRdude.