being a master auto tech for the last 21yrs i have some suggestions:
subaru.. you cannot kill em, amazing in the snow, cheap, lots of room
toyota/lexus are the best cars built in the world for reliability etc..
honda/acura are also very good
if you are going to invest lots of cash into a car you might think twice b4 u get the look at me euro car. Or have deep pockets for endless repairs.
It's always nice to hear this from mechanics, techs, and industry people, and anyone who is looking to get a new vehicle should pay attention to your advice. I've owned a bunch of Toyotas and a couple of Subarus and currently own a Lexus; they are all exceptionally reliable vehicles. Just about everyone I know who own Euro/American cars is in the shop a lot more than those who own Japanese vehicles.