Another vote for the Suzuki Vitara/Grand Vitara. I've had a 2001 GV for ten years as my daily driver and it's been the most reliable car I've ever had. Simple and easy to work on. I converted the front to manual hubs, which is super easy to do. I have the V6 so the gas milage is not as good as the 4 banger but it moves the car well.Second gen tracker/vitara! Cheap, easy, fuel efficient, durable. They have simple ifs front end and true hi/lo stick shifted 4wd. They have body on frame (unlike rav and Subaru) and live rear axle with 5 link suspension. They are GREAT and best of all they are very affordable. WIll do anything a samurai will with more room, comfort and AC! 30mpg with the 2.0 engine, which is EFI and coil-on-plug ignition.
Also, I can’t stand FWD. these are proper RWD cars with longitudinal engines. Only weak point is the aluminum front axle housing, but with some effort you can source (or just buy) the steel housing and swap in. I bought this one with 135k for $1100 and been loving it ever since. I traded down a 2012 Tacoma for it.