It is no doubt that a car can be expensive. New cars, as of February 2016, averaged just under $34,000 according to Kelley Blue Book. With that in mind, it might seem impossible to get a good car under $5,000.
Thankfully that's not the case. You may need to do more homework, but it is possible to get a car under $5k (with or without a car loan). If you're looking for some of the best cars under $5k, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure you get the most for your money.
Who Needs a Car for Under $5k?
A new car is fun to buy. It's shiny. It has that new car smell, though is admittedly toxic. However, it also can come with a nasty car payment. There are many circumstances where a car under $5,000 can be the right fit. Some of those instances are:
- A college student looking for a reliable car
- Someone wanting to avoid a car payment
- Someone wanting a car that can get them from point A to point B
- A new driver who wants the freedom a car brings
In most cases, a car under $5k will fit the needs of any driver. Whereas a car under $10,000 might be a bit out of range for them financially, a car under $5,000 will adequately meet their needs.
Best Cars Under 5k
It may seem impossible to get a car under $5,000. It may also seem that a car that costs less than $5,000 won't be dependable or nice to look at. With a little work, you will find that not to be the case. If you're looking for the best cars under $5k, here are some of the ones you should look at, according to TrustedChoice:
Toyota Corolla, 2000 and Older
Toyota cars, and the Corolla in particular, are often regarded as one of the most reliable cars in the industry. The Corolla may not be the prettiest car to look at, but it's reliable and will last. In fact, Consumer Reports lists the car as one that can get at least 200,000 miles.
Mazda Miata, 1990 to 1997
You might think it's impossible to find a sports car for under $5,000. The Miata proves that's not the case. Thanks to the upkeep given to many Miatas, their older versions are in generally good shape.
Honda CR-V, 2002
You can even find a SUV for under $5,000. Like the Corolla above, the CR-V is known to last for at least 200,000 miles and is well regarded for safety.
Ford Focus, 2002-2004
Like the Toyota Corolla, the Ford Focus is one of the higher rated used passenger cars for under $5k. The Focus boasts good gas mileage and reliability – commonly lasting for at least 150,000 miles.
Subaru Impreza Outback, 1998-2003
The final on the list of best cars under $5k, the Impreza is well suited for those who live in harsh winter climates. With its reliability, the Impreza is one of the better options for those wanting a good used car.
What to Expect With A Car Under $5,000
Buying any type of car requires due diligence. When you buy a car under $5,000, you will have a little extra work to do. Before you start your search, keep some of the following realities in mind:
- The car will obviously be used
- In many instances the car will have at least 100,000 miles on it
- Some dealers may not sell cars at this price level
- You may need to go through a private party to buy
The key to keep in mind is that you will want to get the car inspected prior to purchase by a reputable mechanic. This will help you determine if the car has enough life in it to make it worth buying. You may also want to consider purchasing a vehicle history report prior to purchase to ensure it has a clean history.
The Bottom Line
Cars can be expensive, but if you're in the market for a cheap and reliable used car, one of the best used cars under 5k should meet your needs.