The Best Cars Under $5,000

Top Cars On A Budget


We can all appreciate the new models of cars. They are high-tech. They are very safe and impeccably clean looking.

Newer cars get great gas mileage and let’s not forget about that new car smell.

There are electric Teslas, and Hybrid SUV’s which serve as eco-friendly transport for the environmental driver.

But for some, the older models just have a certain appeal.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, or their boxier frames. They are cheaper and less complicated to fix.

You can usually find cheap car insurance to go along with the older models.

The only issues you may face is if they won’t pass smog. For the most part, oldies are goodies

If you are looking for a car under $5k, which is easy to use and fun to drive, we should take a look at these next cars.

Remember to grab your car insurance and drivers license before you start looking. You may want to scoop one up ASAP!


Jeep Cherokee (1984-2001) $1,500-$5,000


This little car is not only a small SUV with an inline engine, but it has style. People are drawn to the older jeeps for their looks.

The jeep is four-wheel drive and used for a plethora of activities.

Not to be confused with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the regular Cherokee is boxy, balanced and easy to maintain.

These cars have been known to last forever. Some have over 500 thousand miles on the odometer.

People love this car is because it is easy to modify. You can fix it on your own at home with no problems.

Many people attach lift-kits and install new tires for their off-road adventures.

Others like to wrench on cars themselves. The engine of the Cherokee is straight forward and fairly flawless.

The only issues that the older Cherokee models tend to have is rust. Make sure you keep these babies clean and rust-free and you will be driving them for years!


  • These cars get 20-23 miles per gallon
  • Jeeps were manufactured in 1963. They starting out as a Wagoneer. They morphed into a regular Cherokee in the 1980’s. The Jeep company came out with a Grand Cherokee which is a larger model. The regular Jeep Cherokee XJ was a favorite among the masses.
  • There are a few generations of Cherokees. The “S” generation was from 1974-1983. This generation doesn’t look like the modern jeep. They had great features such as a roof rack and front grill.
  • The second generation manufactured from 1984-2001. These came in two door and four door models. These were the most popular generation.
  • The third generation of jeep was manufactured from 2001-2007. They came with a more “round” configuration that strayed from the typical Cherokee style.
  • The 4th generation has come back around to looking a lot like the second generation. They have square front ends and a higher center of gravity. These were built between 2008-2014.
  • The newest generation of the Cherokee looks like a spaceship. People love them just the same. From 2014 to the present, the fifth generation Cherokee is a modern vehicle.
  • You can buy cheap car insurance for the Cherokee. You could pay as little as $40 a month for the minimum required insurance. That is a steal!


Lexus LS400 (1990-2000) $1,000-$4,500


These cars are a luxury vehicle with style. Made by the Toyota Company, the Lexus is the higher-end vehicle.

With leather seats and a roomy interior, people loved these vehicles when they were first produced.

People still love them today!

It was built to compete with the full-sized German Luxury cars. The Lexus LS400 has a V8 engine  has a smooth ride.

The 1990’s version was the perfect business car or commuter car. If you pulled up in one of these, you were somebody.

They have rear-wheel drive and a lower price tag. These cars feel very luxurious.

You can still purchase car insurance for these cars at a reasonable price. And more often than not, they will pass smog without a problem.



  • A 2000 Lexus LS400 will cost $$4,500. The 1994 model will only run about $3,000.
  • They have a v8 engine and great suspension.
  • They tend to have very little issues.
  • Take the Lexus into a shop when you start to have problems. It is not as easy to maintain yourself as the Cherokee. That will not be very often as these cars are known to run for 200 thousand plus miles. There is one version of the LS400 that has over 900 thousand miles and is still going strong.
  • This car feels like a Camry mixed with a Mercedes. If you want to tote the kids around and not pay for as much gas, this used version of luxury is a great find!
  • You can get around 30 miles per gallon in a Lexus LS400.
  • The first generation of Lexus LS was actually built in 1989. These were great models that were trustworthy. This generation of Lexus was manufactured until 1994. Toyota wanted to re-vamp their models once again.
  • The second generation started in 1995. The first and second generation can be found for under $5000 and in good shape. This generation was discontinued in 2000.
  • The third generation is a bit pricier but has upgrades. This generation ranged from 2001-2006. It went from a 4 speed transmission to a 6 speed.



Toyota Corolla (1992-2001) $1,000-$3,500


Many people are familiar with the Toyota Corolla. This car has been around for a long time.

Some people still drive the Corolla which they bought 20 year ago!

That’s right! If you purchased a Corolla in 1997, it is 20 years old. It is also probably still going strong.

There are multiple generations of this car and they all are stead-fast.

Many people today purchase new Corolla’s because they understand how long that one car will last.

Of you own a Corolla, you are in a sort of club. It’s not a fancy club, but a reliable one.



  • You can get up to 40 miles per gallon in one of these cars.
  • They don’t burn up oil. Parts are very cheap and easy to find. That makes this car one of the least expensive to own and repair.
  • With a smaller V4 engine you won’t get a ton of power. But you will have a sensible car that is easy to handle.
  • The Corolla won’t have many upgraded features. It won’t feel as luxurious as the Lexus, but it will last forever.
  • Most have cloth seating and very basic interiors.
  • The first generation of Corolla came out in 1966 and it was called the “Sprinter”. There was nothing about this car that sprinted.
  • The Toyota is manufactured in Japan. There are however parts manufacturers in the United States which makes finding parts for this car cheap and easy.
  • The second generation came out in 1970. It was just as economical as the first. They were made to be heavier and safer than the first set of Corollas.
  • Four years later the third generation came out.  This model was a four-door “lift-back”. They also made versions of this generation in a wagon.
  • A major restyle came into affect in 1979. The fourth generation looked quite a bit different than it’s predecessors. A New A-series engines added a better range for the car.
  • The 1983 model is unlike all of the others. This fifth generation car looks more like a “Back To The Future” feature. The 1980’s were a different time and in 1991 Toyota wanted a new look altogether.

More information…

  • You can probably still find some Sixth generation Corollas out there. 1991 to 1995 were good years for the Corolla. Production was high and economy doing well. This car was smaller with front wheel drive and 165 horsepower.
  • The seventh generation of the Corolla took on a new look. Lasting only four years, this model was popular. They were made to be heavier and stronger. This made them safer to drive. In 1995 Toyota discontinued this model.
  • The eighth generation is probably the most well-known. From 1995-2000 the Corolla flooded the markets. There were three different versions of this generation made. If you lived in North America it looked one way. If you lived in Europe or Asia you were looking at a different style of the model.  And in Australia you would find tweaks yet again.
  • Ninth and Tenth generations did not change that much from each other. They are both larger and rounder looking than all of the generations before. They are more fuel efficient and have some interior upgrades. Overall the newer generations look like a modern version of the rest.


Honda Odyssey Van (1994-2010) $1,500- $5,000


The Honda Odyssey is a vehicle you may not have pictured being on this list.

But this car is not only reliable, it has been in families for years.

It has carried babies, soccer bags, animals, friends and much more.

This van is the number one selling van in the United States and for good reason.

It is affordable, comfortable, easy to drive and gets great gas mileage.

Honda knows how to make a vehicle. There are many other Honda cars that could have gone on this list, but the Odyssey is different.

This car can carry a family of 6 on a road trip. The same vehicle can carry pets to the hospital and leave rooms for those Saturday morning trips to Costco.

This is a beloved vehicle in America and has a price tag to show it.




  • The Honda Odyssey gets around 25 miles per gallon which is pretty good for a larger vehicle.
  • The van sits up to 8 people and still has room in the back for the dog.
  • The back row of seats folds down to use as storage.
  • It used to have a 4 cylinder engine when they first came out. Now they have a V6.
  • The first generation had a four speed automatic and a smaller frame. They were built in 1994 and lasted 4 years.
  • The second generation had a more stylish exterior. This generation also came with a v6 and a better miles per gallon. They were larger and had sliding rear doors. This can also ranks 5 out of 5 for safety and was the first van to do so. It had a four-wheel suspension and everything was electric powered. No more manual on this van! This generation lasted until 2004 but had a model refresh in 2001. The body style became sleeker and rounder. It went from a 4 speed automatic to a five speed.

More Information…

  • The third generation of this van lasted five years. The Honda company sold a lot of these vans starting in 2005.  It had high safety scores and a great reputation. There were some nice, new features added such as more storage compartments. They also changed the bench seating in back to separate bucket seating. Seats now fold independently from one another.
  • The newest models have a low, wide body and sleek exterior. There is now a 6-speed engine, televisions in the rear head seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • The best part about the older model Honda Odysseys is the price tag. You can find a second generation for under $3,500. The third generation will cost you right around $5,000 if it has over 100 thousand miles and is in good condition. Some 2010 models go higher than $5,000. You have to do your research to get the best deal.


Costs Of Used Cars


It’s true, there is more that goes into used cars than new ones. You may have a little more maintenance.

Maybe you need to replace an expensive part.

The above cars are truly the best value for the price tag.

And for what you will be saving on owning one of these cars, you can put into restoring it to it’s fullest.

Before you buy, do some research!

You will need to purchase car insurance. You will need to register your car in your state. And you may have to pay for a smog check.

But these are all relatively low cost items.

A smog check is around $40.

To register a 2001 Toyota Corolla is around $90 a year in the state of California.

How much is insurance?


It depends on what state you live in. Every state has a minimum requirement for car insurance.

For example, the the state of California the minimum requirement is:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
  • Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence

This type of insurance should cost you no more than $50 a month, depending on the type of car you drive and where you live.

You can always add discounts and bundle your insurance to save.

More often than not, when you pay for your insurance annually or bi-annually you can cut costs.

If you are looking for the cheapest way to own a car:


  • Buy one of the vehicles listed above.
  • Make sure it has under 150,000 miles. You will replace less items this way. At around 100,000 miles things start to break down. Most owners replace the timing belt and tires at around this time. You could save if these items have already been replaced!
  • Add discounts to your insurance plan.
  • Choose the minimum amount of insurance required.
  • Look for a local repair shop with good deals or learn how to repair your cars yourself.

Get Your Own Quote

Buying a car doesn’t have to mean draining your bank account.

Do some research!

You will be pleasantly surprised.

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