5 Used Cars For Under $5,000

5 Used Cars For Under $5,000
  • Opening Intro -

    "Affordable" and "used car" are words rarely uttered together, given the inflated prices of all vehicles in recent years.

    Then there is a matter of reliability, what tends to fade after many years of driving.


For college students who *must* have wheels to get them back and forth to campus, the following are five vehicles that offer value and reliability, coming in at under $5,000. We used Kelley Blue Book (KBB) data (Feb. 2014) to assemble our list of affordable vehicles and private party deals to give you the best value estimates possible.

1. Honda Civic (2004) — KBB values the Civic Sedan in very good condition at $4,598. That’s with 90,000 miles on the odometer, fairly low for a vehicle of this age. And because it is a Honda you should quite easily double if not triple that mileage if the vehicle is cared for properly.

The 2004 Civic is powered by a 1.7-liter four cylinder engine and paired with a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. With the manual, it carries a fuel rating of 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, gas sipping numbers certain to appeal to budget-minded shoppers.

2. Toyota Corolla (2005) — A Corolla S sedan in fair condition and with 120,000 miles on the odometer could cost you $4,728. That mileage is more in line with what people drive, but given that it is a Corolla, a well maintained model should top 200,000 miles with ease.

Equipped with a 1.8-liter four cylinder engine paired with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission, the 2005 Corolla is rated as high as 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. With careful driving you should sustain 35 mpg at most times putting some serious distance between your visits to the pump.

3. Ford Ranger (2007) — Choose the Ford Ranger and you’ll find value on your hands. Our sample XL model with a six-foot bed, 100,000 miles on the odometer and in fair condition might cost you $4,701 through a private party.

The Ranger’s design remained virtually unchanged over the course of its long life. That never bothered owners who prized the vehicle for its simplicity, value and economy. Gas mileage in trucks is never anything to get excited about and with its 2.3-liter four cylinder engine it got 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. And that was with its five-speed manual not its four-speed automatic transmission.

4. Dodge Neon (2005) — The Dodge Neon ended its 11-year model run in 2005. For our example we’re looking at an SXT sedan with 110,000 miles, but otherwise in excellent condition. At $3,272 it is one of the better values in the pack and with popular options included, this vehicle shouldn’t cost you more than $4,000.

The 2005 Neon is powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine rated at 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on then highway when coupled with the five-speed manual transmission. With an automatic transmission, this model is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

5. Pontiac Vibe (2007) — In very good condition and with 140,000 miles on the odometer, a Pontiac Vibe sport wagon may seem like a risky proposition. After all, Pontiac is gone and parts may be difficult to come by — never mind the quality issues. Under the skin, this model is the Toyota Matrix which itself is based on the trusty Corolla. All things considered, the Vibe could give you many years of very good driving.

And it is the Corolla’s 1.8-liter four cylinder engine that powers this model, delivering 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with the five-speed manual or 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the four-speed automatic transmission.

Car Check

Before buying any used car, take it to your mechanic for a review or bring along with you a knowledgeable person who can give the car a good looking over. Used car prices go much higher when certain amenities are included (high end audio system, automatic transmission, etc.) so keep in mind that prices will vary accordingly.

See AlsoYou Can Buy a Used Car For a College Student


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Categories: Campus Cars