You really would be surprised when you find out how many great vehicle options you have for a reasonably modest sum of $5,000. While these are going to be used cars, they may still turn out to be just as reliable as many new ones.
Now, let us tell you that there are actually a whole lot of options when it comes to used cars under $5,000. One of the important category seems to be cars that come with great fuel mileage, which translates to a lot more savings for you. On the other hand, there’s also a category of cars that were way too expensive when they first hit the road, but are now just as affordable as most other used cars out there.
However, the list we have come up with tends to focus on used cars that offer the best of both worlds, meaning a reasonably good fuel mileage and are relatively fresh and stylish models.
Mazda MX-5 Miata (1996-2002)
Well, it’s almost certain now that you definitely cannot get a better sportscar than the Mazda MX-5 Miata for this price. It’s been seen as the ultimate style icon by many in the industry, and even the models that are two to three generations old get a lot of respect from both owners and critics alike.
However, that’s not all about the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It actually also comes with a fairly powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder, that puts out an impressive 130-140 horsepower. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission, which is actually more than good enough at this price.
Finally, while any generation of this sports beauty you can get under $5,000 in good condition may turn out to be a great deal, going for the 1996-2002 models is going to be your best bet.
Toyota Camry (1996-2001)
This one is probably going to appeal to a completely different class of drivers than the one mentioned above. While it’s nowhere near to being as fun as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, it’s very reliable and offers a great bang for your buck, especially if you manage to find one with the model year we mentioned.
While you would usually get very “used” Camrys in this price range, the fact that the vehicle is indeed strong enough means that it may not turn out to be a cause for worry. The model year we mentioned ensures that you get an option to choose between a four-cylinder and a six-cylinder, which is actually quite a privilege to have in this price range.
However, if you can, you would still want to prefer going for a 2002-2006 version as it’s going to get you more standard features and hence, a better value for money.
Ford Crown Victoria (2001-2008)
The Ford Crown Victoria may turn out to be a very balanced option for many, as it comes with a combination of a comfortable, modern interior and a never-go-old design. However, as it’s a powerhouse with a 4.6-liter V8 producing 225 horsepower, you’re probably going to have a hard time keeping a check on the fuel costs, especially if you tend to drive in the city only.
However, the mileage still seems to be reasonably good on the highway, and you also have the option to go for the P71 Police Interceptor, which brings an extra boost in the performance, all for well within your modest budget of $5,000.
Honda Civic (2001-2005)
The Honda Civic is a perfect example of a true used budget car. While you can find plenty of them for less than $5,000, it offers a very impressive fuel mileage as well.
After all, there’s a good reason this vehicle dominates the American streets to a great extent. While it isn’t the most stylish automobile out there, it comes with a great level of reliability, affordability and is also efficient enough for most tasks, making it quite an all-round option for most. In fact, a well-maintained Civic may well turn out to be one of the most reliable cars under $5,000 you can go for.
The 2001-2005 models will get you a great fuel mileage, albeit with a little compromise on the performance front, as the 1.7-liter engine would only put out a modest 115 horsepower. However, if you’re after a slightly better performance, you may want to go back a few years and get a model with a 2.0-liter engine, producing 160 horsepower.
Toyota Corolla / Toyota Matrix (2005-2010)
While the Toyota Corolla may not be the top pick on this list, it’s certainly good enough to be listed as one of the best used cars under $5,000. Similarly, though it may not be as good as the Civic Si in many aspects, it’s also available as a hatchback, an option you don’t get with the latter.
Furthermore, it’s five-door version, known as the Toyota Matrix, comes with an all-wheel drive (only some models, though).
Finally, low repair costs, impressive fuel mileage and a reasonably good performance are some of the strongest points of the Toyota Corolla.
A Final Word
While these are indeed some great options for a budget of under $5,000, some of you may be expecting a little more than what they offer. In that case, you would want to take a look at our best used cars under $10,000, that come with a lot more standard and advanced features as well as are considerably more fun to ride.