I lived in CT, NY, and CO. The heated seats and heated mirrors are not as necessary as AC in 120+ temps. Don't get me wrong, when I lived in CO and it got real cold out, that "bun warmer" was nice, but I didn't risk major health issues if I didn't have it. A heater is necessary in those climates, but since every engine generates heat, a heater is a matter or two hoses a core, and a fan. Actually even in hot climates a heater is a good thing to have(in the event of overheating). Block heaters may be necessary in some areas as well.
I'd be interested in the lifespan of these "$2000" vehicles. I mean modern cars can go 100000 miles before you even have to change the spark plugs. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of muscle cars, which have a poor track record of longevity, but your average Toyota driver would rather not have to bring their car into a shop every 10000 miles for a tune up. I guess what I'm saying is what is the TCO over 5 years versus continuing to run the vehicle you have.
Honestly, I prefer to just buy a used vehicle. You can get a reasonable vehicle for $2000I picked up my 95 Tahoe for $1800, add in $1000 for various repairs, and I'm at $2800... I could have picked up the same year Accord or Civic for less, but needed the cargo space. You just have to look, and know what is an acceptable defect in a vehicle.
SPEAKING of... I think GM really missed a big opportunity. They should have offered a stripped down version of the Camaro for 2010(currently released). They should offer the ability to pick every option that goes into your car. Rather than force those of us that want the V8 to suck it up and take a boatload of options we DO NOT WANT. Give me a stripped down car with none of the additional bs thrown in. Heck manual windows aren't even an option. HOW CAN YOU HAVE A MUSCLE CAR WITHOUT MANUAL WINDOWS? Ah well... guess I'll have to build my own muscle car instead...
Body: 1000(though I can get a good one for 300 to 600 depending on where I go)
brakes: 2000(I'll spend a lot to make sure I can stop haha)
Heck by the time I get to the 30k mark, I will have a pretty awesome ride. I could save a lot of cash by getting a vehicle that is mostly put together, and upgrading as I go.
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson