Thanks, everybody, that helps a lot to know what the choices would be! My husband pulled up some photos of the cars that you all mentioned, and it does look workable. We'd have to look into how much we'd lose by buying when we arrived and selling just two years later, but it might be worth it versus the hassle of having to import a vehicle, especially when dealing with narrow roads and the driver's seat being on the wrong side.
Thanks for mentioning the car seat law, Daisy! My kids are young enough that they legally have to have car seats here as well, anyway (my oldest is 6, and while some states only require them until age 8, she's on the small side and I'll probably stick with the more conservative use of the booster until at least age 10 or so, depending on how she grows and stuff). 12 is definitely a lot higher than here! I think even the most conservative states here only require them until 10, and many only until age 8.