Family sedans offer space, practicality and efficiency, and are a great option for anyone looking for a reliable, affordable used car. Long the most popular segment in the United States, just about every automaker has offered a competitive midsize sedan over the years, meaning that there are a ton to choose from on the used market. Here we’ve outlined six of our favorite used family sedans that you can find for around $5,000 or less. Since the vehicles on this list will all be more than a few years old and will likely come with considerable miles on the odometer, we recommend a getting a pre-purchase inspection from an independent third-party mechanic before committing to buy.
2002-2006 Toyota Camry
For the past couple of decades, the Camry has ranked at or near the top when it comes to the best-selling passenger vehicles in America. While it won’t exactly light a fire when it comes to styling and performance characteristics, the Camry is highly competent in all of the right areas, including build quality, reliability and space, offering a large back seat and trunk. Powertrain options over the 2002 to 2006 model years consisted of both 4- and 6-cylinder engines — the Camry Hybrid wasn’t introduced until the following generation, which came out for 2007. If you’re looking for affordable, smart transportation with no frills, the Camry is a great place to start your search. There are currently around 450 2002-2006 Camrys for sale on Autotrader for $5,000 or less. Find a Toyota Camry for sale
2003-2007 Honda Accord
Long the Toyota Camry’s biggest rival, the Honda Accord is one of the most trusted and most dependable vehicles in America, and examples from the 2003 to 2007 model years — the Accord’s seventh generation — can now be had for around $5,000, with over 550 currently listed that would fit the bill. Like the Camry, the Accord from these years was offered with either an economical 4-cylinder, or a more powerful 6-cylinder. Additional options include a manual transmission, leather interior and sunroof. Buyers wanting more style should note that a sporty Accord coupe was offered over these model years as well, and around 100 of the 2003-2007 Accords currently listed on Autotrader for $5,000 come in this unique body style. Find a Honda Accord for sale
2004-2009 Subaru Legacy
Buyers living in colder climates will appreciate the Legacy for one main reason: standard all-wheel drive (AWD). While all of the other used family sedans on this list come with basic front-wheel drive (FWD), the Legacy, like the rest of Subaru’s lineup, comes with the company’s symmetrical AWD system as standard, meaning that a used Legacy will plow ahead long after winter weather has left the other vehicles on this list stranded in the snow. As a result of its added practicality, expect to pay a small premium for a used Legacy, and there are currently only around 50 2004-2009 examples listed for $5,000 or less. Still, if you’re willing to be patient, on top of its standard all-wheel traction, the Legacy from these years offers a timeless design and sporty driving dynamics that you just won’t find with some of the other vehicles on this list. Find a Subaru Legacy for sale
2006-2012 Ford Fusion
Currently on Autotrader, there are around 450 2006-2012 Ford Fusions listed for around $5,000. Of these, almost half are the updated 2010-or-newer model, which came with heavily revised front and rear fascias, a variety of different powertrain options making up to 263 horsepower, and features like the Ford Sync infotainment system, a 12-speaker Sony Audio system, a keypad on the driver’s door for locking and unlocking the vehicle, leather seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. While a hybrid trim was technically offered over these years, don’t expect to find many for under $5,000, as their added efficiency means they tend to hold their value pretty well, and there are currently just around 10 listed on Autotrader that fall within our budget, all of which come with high mileage. Find a Ford Fusion for sale
Like the rest of Mazda’s lineup, the Mazda6 is known for offering sportier driving dynamics than the competition, making it great for anyone looking for a little extra out of their otherwise mainstream family sedan. The Mazda6’s interior is above that of the competition as well, and employs a smart, elegant design while using upscale materials. Altogether, this combines to make for a midsize family sedan that is a cut above the competition. At the $5,000 mark, buyers are looking at a first-generation Mazda6, offered from the 2003 to 2008 model years. The first-gen 6 was unique in that it was offered not only as a sedan, but as a practical hatchback and wagon as well, making for three total body styles. There are currently around 200 first-generation Mazda6s listed on Autotrader for around $5,000. Of these, around 30 are hatchbacks, while 15 are wagons.
Buyers wanting something newer can look to a second-generation model, sold from 2009 to 2013. There are currently just around 30 listed for $5,000 or less though, and most come with a lot of miles on the odometer. Find a Mazda6 for sale
2007-2012 Nissan Altima
The Altima has long played third-fiddle to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord when it comes to the midsize family sedan segment. Though it doesn’t carry the reputation for durability and dependability of its two main Japanese rivals, the Altima is still plenty reliable, and offers great value. Buyers can currently find a used fourth-generation example from the vehicle’s 2007-2012 model years for around $5,000 with relative ease. The fourth-gen Altima was offered with either a basic 4-cylinder engine or an optional 270-hp 3.5-liter V6, which was considerably more potent than the V6s offered by the competition at the time. Currently on Autotrader, there are around 300 2007-2012 Altimas listed for $5,000 or less. Around 30 even come with the V6. Like the Accord, the Altima from these years was offered in a sporty coupe body style, and there are around 35 Altima coupes listed from these years that fit within our budget. Find a Nissan Altima for sale