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Best Cars Under $5k: Fantastic Cars For A Mundane Budget

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Technology and sophistication have inflated the prices of cars. The latest car models cost twice as much as they used to. Getting a good car with a limited budget can be difficult. However, some affordable used cars out there still get the job done. We are happy to help you identify some of the best cars under $5k. 

If you want a car with a budget below $5k, you’ll have to be savvy, resourceful, and practical. You need to find a dependable car that will keep running without having to repair it constantly. When going for a used car, it’s crucial to consider the odometer mileage, the age of the car, availability of parts, accident history, and engine condition. 

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The Best Cars Under $5k

Cars have gotten expensive over the years, making it difficult for families and individuals to get new cars. In this post, we have compiled a list of the best cars under $5k for buyers who are ready to settle for a reliable used car. We picked the best from different brands, each offering a unique set of features. Hence, you can find a car for every use case on this list. 

2007 Toyota Matrix

2007 Toyota Matrix

The Toyota Matrix lineup offers one of the best cars under $5k. The 2007 model is a sporty hatchback built on the Corolla platform. It is offered in three trims with a price range between $3,4000 and $4,700 across them. Toyota partnered with GM in 2001 to build the Matrix, a mechanical twin of the Pontiac Vibe. 

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The 2007 Matrix is driven by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces up to 180 horsepower. Like the Corolla, the compact car is known for reliability and affordable maintenance costs. It has attained a high reliability score on many car review platforms. 

2010 Honda Accord

2010 Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is another popular and well-regarded model from the Honda lineup. Like the Civic, it holds a strong reputation for quality, reliability, and overall excellence, and many used model years are highly dependable.  

The 2010 Honda Accord is from the seventh generation Accords, offering some of the most reliable cars at affordable prices. The car offers an appealing combination of spaciousness, a relatively upscale feel, and a reputation for reliability. 

The base engine is a 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine that produces up to 177 horsepower. You can opt for the more sporty 3.5 liter i-VTEC V6 engine with VCM mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. This engine delivers up to 268 horsepower. You can find any one of the three available trims for about $4,435.

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2008 Toyota Corolla

2008 Toyota Corolla

The 2008 Corolla was one of the best-selling cars the year it was released, and today, you can still find them driving in perfect condition all over. The Corolla lineup envisages Toyota’s fame for affordable yet highly dependable vehicles. The car has received some of the best approval ratings across various review platforms. It is remarked for its great resale value. Hence, you must go back about 15 years to get one in perfect condition for under $5k. 

The 2008 base model, Corolla CE starts at about $4,445, with the LE at around $4,975. The car runs on a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 168 horsepower. The car may not be powerful, but it delivers a comfortable ride with excellent fuel efficiency. If you’re looking for a car for your daily runabouts, the Corolla is ideal for you. It is a versatile car, which is why many drivers love it. It can also serve perfectly as a cab, boasting a high safety rating. 

2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda Miata is inarguably one of the best convertible cars in the market. It is also affordable to maintain and repair. Since it is configured to an RWD, offering a super-responsive ride, many drifters enjoy drifting with this car. In addition, repair and modification parts for this car are available for affordable prices. 

The 2005 Miata runs on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder VVTi engine. The engine produces up to 178 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. It offers precise steering and a cook driving experience. The only downside is that the tight trunk and cabin may be uncomfortable for taller people on long trips. However, if you’re looking to overlook that, $4,500 is a fair price for this durable roadster. 

Finally, check the engine condition before paying since this car is commonly used for drifting and motorsports.

2007 Toyota Camry

2007 Toyota Camry

Like the Corolla, the Toyota Camry has been one of the best-selling cars. This is primarily as a result of its solid reputation for quality and reliability. The Camry is basically a Corolla with more room and power. The base engine for the Camry is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 158 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. 

The Camry shares lots of mechanical properties with Honda’s Accord. One of them is the sportier 3.5-liter V6 engine, producing the same 268 horsepower. This car offers a roomy cabin and cargo space, with excellent handling. It also offers incredible fuel efficiency for a midsize car. The base model for the 2007 version starts at about $3,651, with other models going up to around $5,900. It is one of the best cars under $5k, offering top-level longevity. Maintenance and repairs for this car are affordable. Additionally, the Camry is dependable, so you will not go broke fixing the car too often. 

2010 Hyundai Elantra

2010 Hyundai Elantra

The 2010 Hyundai Elantra offers a compact, fuel-efficient driving experience. It was one of the cheapest compact sedans when it was released. It runs on a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a meager 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Despite the mediocre power figures, the sleek five-speed manual transmission delivers an exciting FWD experience.

You also get to enjoy many awesome tech features, including some automatic safety features for a $4,000 car. If you find one in good condition, you will have little to zero worries about using it for five more years. The maintenance and repair costs are affordable. The 2010 Hyundai Elantra is offered in three trims, all selling for prices below $4,500.

2005 Lexus GS 300

2005 Lexus GS 300

The 2005 GS 300 is from the third generation of Lexus GS. You can find a used one in pristine condition for a little below $5,000. This sports sedan features a comfortable interior that can be considered luxurious for its price range. It is one of the few Toyota Lexus models that run on the legendary 2JZ engine. This model also sports a bulletproof cast iron block. Its 2JZ engine is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder gasoline powertrain, which produces up to 249 horsepower at 6200 rpm and about 235 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is propped on a 6-speed automatic transmission configured to an AWD layout. This makes it a cool car for drifting. In addition, the car delivers a very comfortable yet sporty ride with insane handling. It has one of the best safety ratings for cars from its generation and is super reliable. For about $4,700, you get a well-refined sports sedan with a handsome exterior.

2011 Ford Focus

2011 Ford Focus

Ford’s Focus is a versatile choice among the best cars under $5k. The Focus is known for its dynamic handling and comfortable seating. Whether you’re eyeing the sedan or hatchback version, the Focus boasts a spacious interior and an efficient engine, making it ideal for city commutes and longer drives.

The 2011 version has only one engine trim, which is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 140 horsepower and 136 pounds-feet of torque. You get to choose between the Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission options. For a starting price of about $4,500, you can enjoy the best tech features for a car within this price range. 

2013 Kia Forte

2013 Kia Forte

This is the most recent on our list of best cars under $5k. Kia’s reputation has grown over the years. The Forte lineup has emerged as a strong contender for top reliable sedans. Offering modern features, impressive fuel economy, and a stylish design, it’s hard to overlook its value, especially when considering the best cars under $5k.

The 2013 Forte runs on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces up to 156 horsepower. The car is popular for reliability and excellent gas mileage, estimated to be about 31 MPG for city and highway combined. You can get a good deal on the base model for about $4,800. 

2010 Honda Civic

2010 Honda Civic

The 2010 Honda Civic is one of the most recent cars on this list. Although most sellers will prefer to sell for a price North of $5k, you can still get a good deal below the $5,000 mark. The Honda Civic lineup is one of the most reliable compact sedans in the world. The series delivers a well-rounded package and is the ideal car for a wide range of drivers. It offers great fuel efficiency, reliability, and affordability. 

The Civic also sports a comfortable interior with cool tech features. It runs on a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that can produce up to 140 horsepower. The engine is propped on a 5-speed manual transmission. However, you can get the automatic option for about $800 more. Many user review platforms solidify its place as one of the best cars under $5k. 

2007 Mazda3 S Sport

2007 Mazda3 s Sport

The Mazda 3 is a popular sedan series. The 2007 versions offer substantial engine power, a manual gearbox, and excellent handling. 

The s Sport trim runs on a 2.3-liter four-cylinder DOHC engine with VVT and balance shafts. The engine produces up to 156 horsepower at 6500 rpm, sending power to the front wheels. It is propped on either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed electronically-controlled Sport automatic transmission.

For a starting price of about $4,778, you can enjoy the Mazda3’s exciting ride. It is one of the most reliable cars on this list.

2004 Nissan Xterra

2004 Nissan Xterra

The 2004 Nissan Xterra is from the first generation of Xterras. The lineup offers top well-rounded SUVs. This 2004 model is packed with features that make the starting price of $2,500 seem unreal. It is offered in two trims, and the pricing can increase to about $3,976. The Xterra has a rugged look and delivers off-road capability to match. It sports a roomy, comfortable interior with all the basic tech features of a 2004 SUV. 

The four-cylinder and standard V6 engine options may not offer enough power to your liking. If so, you can go for the supercharged V6 option that produces up to 210 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque.

The first-gen Xterras are highly reliable compact SUVs delivering an auspicious driving experience for their price range.

Conclusion

With the luxury and performance offered in recent car models, it’s no surprise that prices have gone up. While some can afford them, many individuals and families need cars but cannot afford a new one. Fortunately, we have identified cheap used cars that still perform reliably. The best cars under $5k we highlighted are cheap due to natural depreciation, and you can rely on them for your daily endeavors. They are also recognized for reliability and longevity.

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