Search Cars for Sale

10 Best Used Cars Under $5,000

If you’re trying to keep to a tight budget, it can be tricky to shop for a used car under $5,000. Still, we’re here with some great news: there are plenty of great, reliable, and even fun options out there that won’t have you spending too much.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best used cars available for under $5,000 on Autotrader.

1. 2002-2006 Toyota Camry

2006 Toyota Camry Front Left Side in Silver

It may not be a thrill machine, but the Toyota Camry is an excellent choice for shoppers on a budget. This sedan delivers sewing machine-grade refinement in every way, from the Lexus-like snick-snick of its controls to its silent highway cruising.

Our budget can buy you a well-equipped Camry XLE with the optional V6, though we might hold out for the slightly sportier SE with the rare manual gearbox. Find a Toyota Camry for sale

2. 2003-2007 Honda Accord

2006 Honda Accord Front Right Side in Silver

If rear-seat space is a priority, look to the Honda Accord. For the 2003 model year, Honda reworked its popular Accord with a focus on what American consumers value the most: interior space. Still, Honda didn’t abandon its fun-to-drive nature, and a hybrid version was even available.

When it comes to a $5,000 budget, we think the best money is spent on an LX or EX with the 2.4-liter inline-4. This engine produced 166 horsepower when new, and it came with a choice of 5-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Find a Honda Accord for sale

3. 2006-2010 Honda Civic

2010 Honda Civic Front Right Side in Silver

The hugely popular Honda Civic was reworked with a spaceship-like dash for 2006, but the automaker didn’t abandon what has made its compact cars so good for generations. The Civic is super reliable, and even a hoot to drive.

Look to the sporty Civic Si for its more powerful engine and slick manual gearbox, or stick with a well-equipped Civic EX for unexpected niceties such as a glass sunroof. Find a Honda Civic for sale

4. 2008-2016 Fiat 500

2016 Fiat 500 Front in Red

If you’re after cheeky styling, a fun chassis, and maybe even turbocharged power, the Italian-style Fiat 500 will suit the bill. This Euro-sized small car is a great fit for congested urban areas, but its high seating position will make drivers feel more comfortable in traffic or even on the open road.

The 500 doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability, so consider a pre-purchase inspection. Still, this is a relatively new vehicle and you may be surprised at just how much 500 you can buy for under $5,000. Find a Fiat 500 for sale

5. 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Right Profile in Red

The rugged second-generation Grand Cherokee is a great option for those who want to explore the great outdoors in comfort. This underappreciated SUV could be had with either durable inline-6 or powerful V8 engine choices, and four-wheel drive was commonly available. Underneath, the Grand Cherokee has tough solid axles that allow for real off-road ability, though it’s comfortable on-road.

Later Grand Cherokees are generally more reliable, and although the inline-6 isn’t as powerful it is a reliable choice. The standard Selec-Trac transfer case is equally as stout. In short: look for a base Grand Cherokee Laredo for the best combination of durability and capability. Find a Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale

6. 2003-2009 Mazda Mazda3

2009 Mazda Mazda3 Front Left Side in Red

As fun to drive back when it was new as it is today, the Mazda3 can also be a practical choice in hatchback form. The zippy 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine that was included on the Mazda3 S when new provides good power and can be paired with automatic or manual transmissions.

Our budget opens up no shortage of later Mazda3s, so grab a 2008 or 2009 for the freshest styling, and look for one with the sporty, bolstered leather seats as well as the high-zoot Bose audio system. Find a Mazda Mazda3 for sale

7. 2005-2009 Subaru Outback

2007 Subaru Outback Front Left Side in Grey

Need all-seasons ability but don’t want to commit to a big SUV? The Subaru Outback strikes a great balance, and the 2005 through 2009 models boast a luxurious, well-equipped interior. Four- and six-cylinder engines were offered, as well as a turbocharged choice. The base 2.5-liter is by far the most common, and it can be paired with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.

The Outback’s engine has a reputation for eating through head gaskets, a debilitating condition. Still, many have been replaced, so make sure to ask first. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

8. 2010-2012 Ford Fusion

2012 Ford Fusion Front Right Side in Beige

Ford updated its mid-size sedan for the 2010 model year with razor-sharp exterior styling and revised engines with more power than before. A hybrid version rated at around 36 mpg on the highway was even available, though a sub-$5,000 budget is best spent on one of the non-hybrid versions.

Most Fusions left the factory with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which delivers good fuel economy and could be paired with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Still, you may find the optional all-wheel-drive system available only with the V6 appealing if you live in a wintry location. Find a Ford Fusion for sale

9. 2005-2010 Scion tC

 

2012 Scion tC in silver

Scion was Toyota’s attempt at appealing to a youthful market. The tC is a zippy coupe with good handling paired with traditional Toyota reliability. Just one engine was offered, and it’s at its best with the standard 5-speed manual transmission.

The tC is surprisingly common on the used market, thanks in part to its reputation for reliability. A sunroof was standard equipment, and side-impact airbags were one of few options. Find a Scion tC for sale

10. 2007-2011 Honda CR-V

2011 Honda CR-V Front Right Side in Blue

The five-seat Honda CR-V is sized perfectly for city streets and tight garages, and it included plenty of safety equipment as standard when it was redesigned for the 2007 model year.

Honda offered the CR-V in three trims: base LX, mid-level EX with a sunroof and alloy wheels, and EX-L with leather seats. They’re all the same underneath, so pick the right combination of features — and of course look for the nicest one in your budget. Find a Honda CR-V for sale

10 Best Used Cars Under $5,000

1. 2002-2006 Toyota Camry
2. 2003-2007 Honda Accord
3. 2006-2010 Honda Civic
4. 2008-2016 Fiat 500
5. 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
6. 2003-2009 Mazda Mazda3
7. 2005-2009 Subaru Outback
8. 2010-2012 Ford Fusion
9. 2005-2010 Scion tC
10. 2007-2011 Honda CR-V

 

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...

Leave a Comment

Toyota Camry News & Reviews

Most Popular Articles

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Truck Deals: April 2021

These are the best deals on trucks for the month of April.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This