Best Used Cars Under $5,000

Best Used Cars Under $5,000

Face it: 5 grand is not a huge budget for a car. But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to drive a rusty, worn out car without a heater. There are great deals to be had at used car lots all across the country, you just have to know what you are looking for. Take your time when shopping and use this article as a quick guide to finding the best used cars under $5,000.

Best Used Car Options for Under $5,000

Early 2000’s Honda CR-V

Honda is known for building vehicles to last, so purchasing an older CR-V is a great option to get into a quality vehicle that is only less-expensive because of its age. This model of CR-V will get you excellent gas mileage, which is not something you are likely to find in many other used cars. Also, the safety rating of Honda vehicle is legendary, so you can put the whole family inside this one with confidence.

Late ‘90’s Subaru Outback

Much like Honda, Subaru has a great reputation for building vehicles that last. Also, they have a similarly impressive track record in the area of safety. If you need to haul the family around but want to avoid the cost and bulk of a big SUV, this wagon is the way to go. You will get nice gas mileage, reliable performance, and room enough for the whole family plus cargo in the back.

Early to Mid-2000’s Toyota Camry

If you just want a standard family sedan that is a useful all-around car, you can’t do much better than the Toyota Camry. Just as with the two carmakers above, Toyota engines are well-known for their ability to keep on running mile after mile. The Camry also has a slightly larger 4-cylinder engine that others in the class, making it capable of more acceleration and a better driving experience.

Late ‘90’s Honda Odyssey

Sometimes, only a minivan will get the job done when it comes to hauling around family and gear wherever life takes you. The Honda is a great choice for a used van because, again, it will provide impressive durability even as the miles add up. These vans are quite expensive new, so getting one used for under $5,000 is a great opportunity.

There is no reason to settle for a piece of junk vehicle, even if you are only shopping with a $5,000 budget. Any of these vehicles listed above, or other models from those makers, would be excellent choice. Shop around, take your time, and you will be amazed at the kind of deals that you are able to uncover.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake May 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Honda Element


Twyla Fox July 13, 2013 at 6:17 am

I scored a 2007 Suzuki SX-4 last year for $3800 and haven’t had a lick of trouble with it. Gets 29 MPG (all city driving), AWD at a flick of a switch (great for ice & snow), and I love how the accessories are built into the dash. I’m a “big gal” and I take care of a disabled veteran, yet this little roller-skate is incredibly easy to enter & exit and fairly roomy on the inside – holds both of us, her wheelchair, and two cartfulls of groceries – though I wouldn’t recommend trying to fit more than two adults (despite it having four doors).


Idadho June 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Try finding a Honda Odyssey that has not gone through a few transmissions. Odyssey transmissions are changed out more often that most change their automatic transmission fluid. The GOOD price on these vehicles is because many know about the transmission failure problems. Spend a couple thousand more and get a Toyota Sienna.


Robert July 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Agreed. We have a 2003 Odyssey we bought new. When we bought it we had the transmission upgraded to include the towing package. One of the big additions to this upgrade is the auxiliary cooling that’s added. We never did much towing, but did get a lot of trouble free miles out of it.

Eventually the transmission did fail (190K miles). Our mechanic couldn’t believe we’d gotten so many miles out of it! He said they usually fail around 80K. He credited the exceptionally long life to the auxiliary cooling.


Robert July 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

One other thing. The paint on all early 2000′s Honda’s are of a poor quality. Between the paint and the transmission, I’d avoid all 2000′s Odyssey’s.


Saul July 22, 2013 at 9:03 am

Really? My Ody has 162K on the original trans.


wc September 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Minivans are HEAVY vehicles that carry heavy amounts of weaight. & they do it with a standard car engine. Id be willing to bet the typical dodge or ford minivans have the same number of tranny failures. Car companies need to force people to change out their tranny fluid just like they do oil. Or at least once a year for a van & every other year for a car. That & better ventilation/cooling for the tranny.


M.W.Odom June 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm

My Father who is 77 yrs. old swears that the Odyssey is just the best thing ever, but he has switched the transmission out also. Great SUV but has bad transmissions.


Pat Liddle July 1, 2013 at 5:01 am

I’ve owned Subarus continuously for over 30 years. My advice: avoid Legacys, Outbacks & Foresters with 2.5 L. engines from 1996 to 2004–significant head gasket issues resulting in $1200-$2000 repairs.


Eric July 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

Don’t get either one of the Hondas!! 98-05 Hondas/Acuras are plagued by unpredictable torque converter problems and you run the risk of needing a new transmission, which is about what the car is worth.

A manual Accord or Civic is the only safe bet. There are also A FEW manual CRVs.


Daniel Asthon July 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I believe, if you really want a great car at the price, just go for Subarus. I mean, I have owned three of them and never made a bad deal while selling them. These cars are made to be eternal. I am sure, other car companies know about it but are unable to copy the legend.


Billy Brown July 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I bought new a 97 toyota tercel, sold it last year with over 240000 miles on it. Other than regular maintence, it was the best car I have ever owned. NO problems, NONE in 15 years other than the windshield wiper moter started making noise so I replaced it. On long trips, we would average OVER 40 mpg, daily comute driving 37-38. We sold the car to our daughter, still going & almost 300000 miles, but it will need a clutch very soon.


Peter Gustafson July 25, 2013 at 5:21 am

Oops, you missed one Toyota model that is under $5,000, is well liked by its owners, and is a model that Toyota no longer makes, and yet, when I drove it as a rental, I got a combined 41 mpg in / highway driving. Except I just won’t tell the world what the car is, because I’d like to find one, then, another one, and then, another one. Oh, I’m 6’4″ tall and I fit just fine in this car.


Ginsengbull August 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

What? No mention of the Ford Crown Vic?

I don’t see taxi companies using Honda, Toyota, or Subaru.

They drive and maintain vehicles for a living.


jeff August 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

the chrysler dodge and plymouth minivans are often known to clock over 300,000 miles quite dependibly.


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