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9 Good Used Cars Under $5,000 for 2020

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author photo by Chris O'Neill December 2019

Finding a good, reliable used car for not a lot of money can seem like a daunting task. On a tight budget, it can be hard to find a vehicle that has reasonably low miles or hasn't suffered some kind of accident, both things that can save you money up front but will cost you down the line. For this reason, buyers looking for a cheap used car should focus on models with a reputation for sound reliability. Below, we've outlined nine good reliable used cars under $5,000.

2002-2006 Toyota Camry

2002-2006 Toyota Camry

If it's longevity you're after, consider the Camry. Long the bestselling passenger vehicle in America, the Camry won't blow you away with its looks or performance, but its trunk is big enough to swallow four people's luggage for a weekend getaway, and its basic 4-cylinder engine won't guzzle too much gas on the way to your destination. The Camry is as close to generic as a car can get, but if it's simple transportation you're after, you'd be wise to give this long-trusted nameplate a look, as Camrys are known to travel well in excess of 200,000 miles without needing major mechanical attention. Right now, buyers have close to 500 Camrys to choose from listed on Autotrader for around $5,000 or less, most of which are from the 2002-2006 model years. Find a Toyota Camry for sale

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla

For each of the past ten years, Toyota has sold an average of over 300,000 Corollas every year here in the United States, so needless to say, buyers are going to have plenty of used options to choose from. Given the Corolla's typically low selling price of around $20,000 or less when new, plenty of the used Corollas out there will be right around our target price of $5,000. While it won't be as big as the Camry, buyers looking for a $5,000 Corolla will be able to afford a much newer vehicle, likely from the Corolla's 2009 to 2013 model years. Rest assured that it'll offer the same bulletproof reliability of the midsize Camry. There are currently around 100 2009-2013 Corollas listed for sale on Autotrader for around $5k or less and even more if you're willing to go back a few more model years. Find a Toyota Corolla for sale

2003-2007 Honda Accord

2003-2007 Honda Accord

The Camry and Accord are historic rivals, and the Accord has typically been the number two-selling midsize sedan here in the US for every year that the Camry has held the sales crown. Generally, the Accord is a little more stylish and a little nicer to drive than the Camry, but both vehicles generally offer comparable powertrains and feature content including a leather interior, a sunroof and a V6 engine. That said, most of the examples you'll find at the $5,000 mark will offer the more economical 4-cylinder engine. The Accord did offer a coupe variant until just a few years ago, a body style the Camry did away with in the 1990s. There are currently around 500 2003-2007 Honda Accords listed for sale on Autotrader that would be a good fit for our $5,000 budget, and around 100 of these are coupes. Find a Honda Accord for sale

2006-2010 Honda Civic

2006-2010 Honda Civic

Just like the Accord is to the Camry, the Civic is to the Corolla, as both vehicles have long occupied the top two spots here in the US when it comes to yearly compact sedan sales. We think buyers looking for reliable used cars under $5,000 would be wise to set their search on a Civic covering the 2006 through 2010 model years, as doing so will yield close to 600 options. While a Civic hatchback has been offered off and on throughout history, the Civic sold over these years was offered in basic sedan and coupe bodystyles. Either one wears conservative yet quietly sporty styling that has aged well and still looks good today. There was also a hybrid model offered over these years that returned over 40 miles per gallon in combined driving, and there are around 60 listed for under $5k. Find a Honda Civic for sale

2008-2014 Fiat 500

2008-2014 Fiat 500

In the case of the Fiat 500, we're trading some reliability for sheer newness, as it's possible to pick up a reasonably new Fiat 500 for right around our $5,000 budget, with examples from as recent as the 2014 model year listed for around this price. As it's a city car, the 500 is easy to park, easy to maneuver and returns great gas mileage. With an overall length of just eleven-and-a-half feet, though, the 500 is tiny despite technically offering room for four passengers. Either way, the 500 does offer a practical hatchback design that should allow it to swallow more cargo than you might expect of a vehicle with its diminutive footprint. Factor in its retro-inspired European design, and you'll find a lot to like about this little urban runabout. Interior reliability isn't the best, but it's the price you pay for driving a car that's both cheap and fun to look at. There are currently over 100 used Fiat 500s listed for sale on Autotrader for around $5,000 or less. Find a Fiat 500 for sale

1999-2004 Nissan XTerra

1999-2004 Nissan XTerra

Rugged, trucklike SUVs generally hold their value quite well given their inherent capability. No matter how old they get, they'll always offer good utility and decent reliability, not to mention the ability to go off-road. While vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler seldom dip below the $5,000 mark, the Nissan XTerra is an exception, due largely to Nissan's decision to abandon the nameplate earlier this decade, making the XTerra a bit of an orphan. Buyers looking for a cheap XTerra will want to target examples from the vehicle's first generation, which was offered from the 1999-2004 model years. There are currently over 100 such examples listed on Autotrader that would fit the bill. Find a Nissan XTerra for sale

2005-2009 Subaru Outback

2005-2009 Subaru Outback

Wagons offer exceptional practicality thanks to their cavernous long roof design. Add in all-wheel drive, and you've got a great SUV alternative, capable of hauling lots of stuff through rain, snow, dirt, you name it. Perhaps the most famous AWD wagon is the Subaru Outback. Given just how practical they are and how much name recognition the Outback holds, these high-riding wagons can command a premium on the used market, but it is possible to find them for within our budget. Buyers looking for a used Outback for around $5,000 or less should look for a 2005-2009 model, and there are about 100 to choose from currently for sale on Autotrader. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

2001-2005 Toyota RAV4

2001-2005 Toyota RAV4

Long the bestselling compact SUV on sale, the Toyota RAV4 is a trusted and wildly popular small utility vehicle. Given its utility and available AWD, these little crossovers hold their value quite well, but it's still possible to find them for under $5,000, assuming you're willing to go back a few model years. Buyers looking for a cheap RAV4 should filter their search to show examples from the 2001 through 2005 model years, which covers the RAV4's second-generation body style. Powering the RAV4 over these years was a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder good for between 150 and 160 horsepower, depending on model year. As AWD was optional, buyers in need of four-wheel traction will want to filter their search accordingly, although front-wheel drive examples typically sell for less. Right now on Autotrader, buyers have around 100 2001-2005 RAV4s to choose from for around $5,000, around 50 of which offer AWD. Find a Toyota RAV4 for sale

2007-2014 Ford Edge

2007-2014 Ford Edge

The Edge is a five-passenger midsize SUV that places an emphasis on style. We like its unique exterior design that manages to be both blocky and rounded at the same time. The first-generation Edge debuted for the 2007 model year and was sold through 2014. At our desired price point, most buyers will be looking at 2007-2010 models, although the 6-cylinder engine offered in the Edge over these years was both relatively potent and reliable. Currently, there are close to 200 first-generation Ford Edges for sale on Autotrader for around $5,000. Take note -- most of these are two-wheel drive examples, although there are still around 60 AWD options to choose from. Find a Ford Edge for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
9 Good Used Cars Under $5,000 for 2020 - Autotrader
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