I currently own a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GT. Looking to but something under 25k, smaller (kids now gone)but 'sporty', like leather seats. Am being advised to buy Japanese for reliability - any suggestions?
There are many ways to find cars that fit that profile. You can look through all the models that fit your price point by going here:
Then you can narrow down your choices based on the options installed and the features you want. Often makes like VW, Acura and Mazda will offer leather in their sportier models without going over 25k, however even more domestic models are being offered with leather at lower price points now.
As far as reliability, with any manufacturer you can run into individual cars that have issues. Make sure whatever vehicle you buy that you research the available warranties and service schedules.
Once you narrow down your options, be sure you test drive every vehicle you are considering. You may like something in a picture but once you sit in it and drive it, it could be another story.
Good luck in your search!