9 of the Best Cars Under $5,000
If you are shopping for a used car and have a budget that is under $5,000, you may think that finding a cheap, yet reliable, car is unlikely. You may also be willing to simply settle for anything you can find that will get you from point A to point B. However, there are used cars available in your price range that have a solid and proven track record, and one may just be the right car for you.
Where to Buy a Reliable Used Car for Under $5,000
If you are able to pay for your car with cash, you may be better off purchasing from a private seller rather than a used car lot. This way, you can save money by avoiding the middleman and you may be better able to negotiate a lower price. While many used car lots certify their vehicles, you are not likely to find a certified pre-owned car for under $5,000.
Of course, there are risks involved when you purchase from a private seller, as you cannot know the carвЂ™s history and the seller may be hiding known problems with the car. Look for things like a current state inspection sticker, and ask the seller for records of the carвЂ™s maintenance and repairs. If the seller can provide you with this information, you are more likely to be buying a well-cared-for car.
What to Look for in a Used Car Under $5,000
When you have found a car in your price range, the most important thing to do is research. You can read reviews about the reliability of the car and can read about well-known problems the car may have as well as what is involved in repairing them. Sometimes, it may be as simple as replacing a $10 part. It is also a good idea to get the carвЂ™s VIN number and purchase an online report about the car. These reports are generally very affordable and are a source of information regarding any documented history of accidents, thefts or flooding for the car.
What Are Some of the Best Used Cars You Can Find for Under $5,000?
Of course, given the number of cheap, used cars available on the market, this list is far from complete, and pricing on these cars will vary according to the carsвЂ™ condition and mileage. However, nine of the best cars you are likely to find for under $5,000, according to industry experts, include the following:
Toyota Corolla , 2000 and older
A Toyota Corolla from 2000 or earlier should cost you less than $5,000. According to Polk, approximately 80 percent of Corollas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road today. This remarkable statistic speaks to this carвЂ™s durability and reliability. While this car is unremarkable in appearance, it can provide you with a stable vehicle that will last for many, many miles.
Lincoln Mark VIII, 1993 to 1998
Think a luxury car is out of your price range? Think again. This car, which comes in a 2-door coupe, has an excellent, long-lasting engine and a smooth ride. The fact that this car has a poor resale value works to your advantage, as someone else will have covered its rapid depreciation. This is probably why Cars Direct lists it among its top recommendations for cars under $5,000.
Mazda Miata, 1990 to 1997
Even on a budget, you can turn heads if you are behind the wheel of one of these cute little convertibles. Because convertibles are typically garage-kept, most used Miatas you look at will have bodies that are in excellent condition. You can often find this early generation Miata for less than $3,000. CarsDirect.com lists this vehicle as one of the best you can buy for under $5,000. Furthermore, consumers who have rated the 1997 Miata on Kelley Blue BookвЂ™s website have given it an overall rating of 9.8 out of 10. Many people, most of whom have more than 100,000 miles on their cars, have taken the time to rave about how well the car handles and how much fun they are to drive.
Ford Focus, 2002 to 2004
Both AOL Autos and MSN Autos list this vehicle among the best you can buy for under $5,000 and with good reason. The Ford Focus in each of these years has received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in customer reviews at Edmunds.com. Some of the features that happy Focus owners have remarked on have included the carвЂ™s great gas mileage and its reliability. Many owners report driving cars that have nearly 150,000 miles on them and are still going strong.
Subaru Impreza Outback, 1998 to 2003
Usedcars.com reports that the Impreza has an impressive history of reliability as well as a large, spacious interior, while AOL Autos lists the Outback as a top choice for inexpensive used cars. Subaru vehicles are tough on rough terrain and snow-covered roads and are, therefore, an ideal choice for those who live in climates that see rough winters.
Michael Zak, Consumer Editor at AOL Autos, is particularly impressed with the amount of cargo and passenger space this small crossover SUV has. He also notes that the fuel mileage this larger vehicle gets is more like what you would expect from a sedan than from an SUV. It is easy to find the 2002 CR-V used. As they have HondaвЂ™s renowned reliability, many CR-Vs last for as many as 200,000 miles. As an added bonus, this vehicle scored very well in IIHS and NHTSA crash and safety testing.
Acura Integra GS-R, 1994 to 2001
According to Cars Direct, this car has an engine that can rev to a maximum 8,000 rpms, and it has an extremely responsive transmission. Their reviewers loved how well this car handles. People who have bought this car used have rated it with 4.5 out of 5 stars at CarGurus and frequently mention its fuel efficiency, speed and how much fun it is to drive, though they do mention that is not very good in the snow.
Jeep Wrangler, 1997 to 1999
When asked for their top pick for a used car under $5,000, both Jeremy Korzeniewski, senior editor at Autoblog and Adam Morath, Multimedia Director at AOL Autos, chose a late ’90s Jeep Wrangler. They reasoned that this vehicle can be easily found fully loaded for a low price and that it is excellent at handling rough terrain and snow. While it may not be the most comfortable vehicle for long trips, it can handle simple daily commutes and shopping runs quite well. As an added bonus, you can remove the top; thus allowing you to experience the joys of a convertible.
Hyundai Elantra, 2002
According to MSN Autos, the Elantra is one of the most frequently recommended used cars on the market. They point out that because this car came with a 10-year power train warranty, most original owners kept it very well maintained. Owners of this car have rated it 8.3 out of 10 at Kelley Blue Book and 4.6 out of 5 stars at Edmunds. Users often comment on this carвЂ™s great fuel mileage, solid build and powerful engine. It is not unusual to break 200,000 miles in an Elantra.
Let Us Know How You Do
Remember, you’re going to need coverage before you hit the road. Car insurance is required by law in nearly every state. When you’re wondering what you need to meet the legal requirements and keep your finances safe after an accident, an independent agent can help. Trusted Choice В® agents work with multiple insurance companies and can show you various quotes before you buy, so you know you’re getting the best deal.
We would love to hear about your used-car buying experiences. Were you able to find a decent car at a bargain-basement price? What pitfalls did you experience, if any? What are your recommendations for a reliable and inexpensive used car? Tell us about it in the comments section!