Sometimes, you don’t need anything big, fancy or powerful. You just need a car. For anyone in the market for basic, no-frills transportation, a used subcompact car can be a great option. Subcompacts tend to be efficient in terms of fuel economy and space, and many offer convenient hatchback body styles. To help with your search for an inexpensive used vehicle, we’ve outlined seven of our favorite used subcompact cars for under $5,000.
2007-2011 Nissan Versa
The humble Nissan Versa is designed with the budget shopper in mind, and it carries a wallet-friendly price tag whether you’re buying new or used. There are currently a ton of used Versas to choose from at the $5,000 price point on Autotrader, with over 300 listed that would do the trick. Both sedan and hatchback versions of the Versa are offered. The hatchback offers great practicality and serves to smooth out some of the awkward lines of the sedan.
It seems like the hatchback is the more popular of the two offerings, as roughly two-thirds of the sub-$5,000 Versas listed on Autotrader are of the 5-door variety. Regardless of which body style you choose, the Versa is efficient. It returns up to 29 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. While a cheap used Versa will be pretty spartan inside and won’t exactly make for a great road trip vehicle, it offers basic, reliable transportation. Should you opt for the hatchback, you can also expect a fair amount of cargo room. Find a Nissan Versa for sale
2011-2015 Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a little smaller than your average subcompact, but we’ll include it here because of the great deals you can find on used examples. Launched in the U.S. for the 2011 model year, the new Fiat 500 makes for a great city car given its tiny packaging, and it measures just 11-foot 8-in long, making it one of the smallest new cars on sale today. As a result, the 500 is great for city dwellers looking to get around town a bit more easily. Fuel economy figures are good: The 500 returns numbers in the low 30s around town and in the high 30s on the highway.
The 500 is also one of the newest vehicles on this list. Because Fiat doesn’t enjoy a lot of brand recognition here in the U.S., its vehicles tend to experience quick depreciation, which is why you can pick up a fairly modern Fiat 500 for such a low price. Right now on Autotrader, there are around 150 used Fiat 500s listed for about $5,000. A few of them are from as recent times as the 2015 model year. Find a Fiat 500 for sale
2010-2013 Kia Soul
The Kia Soul is an interesting little hatchback with a surprised look on its face and upright, boxy proportions. First launched for the 2010 model year, the Soul blends characteristics of a compact car with those of an SUV, although no all-wheel drive variant is offered. Early examples of the Soul have now depreciated into the $5,000 range, and there are currently over 100 listed on Autotrader that would fit within our budget.
Kia made sure to extend the Soul’s funkiness beyond just its exterior styling, as it also offers 18-in wheels, a 350-watt audio system, 2-tone leather seats and a variety of uncommon colors like yellow, brown and green. On top of that, the Soul offers an upright driving position above what you’d get with your average sedan or hatchback and a voluminous cargo area, especially with the second-row seats folded. Find a Kia Soul for sale
2008-2014 Toyota Yaris
While it isn’t the most popular subcompact, the Yaris offers efficiency, practicality and, perhaps most notably, Toyota dependability. From 2008-2014, the Yaris was offered either as a sedan or as a 3-door or 4-door hatchback. While it’s considered a subcompact, the Yaris borders on city-car status. It splits the size difference of the diminutive Fiat 500 and true subcompact cars like the Honda Fit and the Hyundai Accent.
The Yaris offers good fuel economy, respectable safety ratings and great reliability, making it great for anyone who lives in a densely-populated area where space is minimal. Right now on Autotrader, there are just under 100 2008-2014 Yaris models listed for $5,000 or less. Find a Toyota Yaris for sale
2004-2015 Scion xB
The xB is another funky and boxy subcompact hatchback, not unlike the popular Kia Soul. The xB was offered over two generations. The first-gen model was sold from 2004 to 2006 and wore an extremely upright, boxy design. The second-gen xB — introduced for 2008 and sold through 2015 — softened things a bit with more curves and angles for a look that was still bold but overall much more mainstream than its predecessor. Both versions were strictly front-wheel drive. Right now on Autotrader, there are over 150 first-gen and second-gen Scion xBs to choose from for $5,000 or less. Find a Scion xB for sale
2007-2008 Honda Fit
Offered for only two model years, the first-generation Honda Fit was praised for its great standard features, upscale interior and dialed-in driving dynamics that are on par with larger, more expensive vehicles. Like many vehicles on this list, the Fit is a hatchback, which makes it practical for more than just getting from point A to point B. The original Fit was lauded for its interior space, which rivaled that of many small SUVs from its era. There are currently just over 60 first-gen Fits listed on Autotrader for $5,000 or under. Find a Honda Fit for sale
2012-2016 Hyundai Accent
The Accent is Hyundai‘s subcompact entry. It’s offered in both sedan and hatchback body styles. The Accent from this era came with a 4-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower. Amenities are pretty spartan. There’s no available power driver’s seat, no navigation and a rather cramped back seat. Still, the Accent wears attractive styling, and the hatchback offers a good amount of cargo room. There are currently over 80 2012-2016 Accents listed on Autotrader for around $5,000 or less.
Buyers should also consider the Kia Rio from the same era, as it’s mechanically similar to the Accent, but offers a little more style and personality. There are currently upwards of 50 2012-2016 Kia Rios listed on Autotrader that would fit within our budget. Find a Hyundai Accent for sale