I began my search a few weeks ago. The first car I looked at is the Honda Element. My dad has one, his second, and loves it. It's known for it's box-like shape, which doesn't give it the "cute car" award according to the lady. But, it's practical, and there are some decent deals out there. My parents are dog people, which makes the Element quite ideal for trips to various abandoned properties to walk the three basset hounds.
After looking at various other vehicles, including the Honda CRV, I've narrowed my choice down to a Subaru Forester. It's more like a wagon, which I'm used to since my first two cars have been wagons, but with more clearance. That, and it's got all-wheel drive. Consumer Reports gave it a very good rating. I took a look on newenglandsubaru.com after seeing a TV ad for the 2010 Forester - pretty good deals. I also found out via automotive-fleet.com that the 2011 models should be arriving later this month. That means that the price on the 2010 should drop significantly.
So, I'm just playing the waiting game. My goal is to get a new car by the first snowfall.