This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately since I just moved to another state without a car. For the moment I am hitching rides into town with my friends but I need to be thinking long term and WINTER...
My #1 preferred idea is a http://JuicedRiders.com
Electric Bike. A but on the pricey side at $2k-$3k but these babies will go 50Miles-100Miles at 20MPH and are weather proof and carry 400LB of weight, so its a lot like having a horse.
Speaking of horse, that would be a rad option too, I just need to see if it's a feasible option for getting in and out of town in the winter here.
Otherwise, if I was going to go the registered vehicle route, I would probably opt for a moped (one time registration for life/$30 per year insurance/50 miles to the gallon etc..) or a gas scooter, or an all Terrain motorcycle..
If I decide to get a car, it will probably be something that get excellent gas milage, will tow a small light weight trailer, and maybe 4 wheel drive.. Like this little Suzuki Tracker my friend is offering to sell me right now.
I have owned a minivan and I also really enjoyed that for camping and moving things too.
If money was no option, I think I would like to have a Sprinter! If it's capable of towing a yard of soil or a flat bed trailer.. that would be rad to have a custom tiny house sprinter and a flat bed utility trailer on tow.