Shopping on a budget: Best cheap cars to buy

If you’re in the market for a car, chances are you have a budget. For some people that budget could be $10,000 or more, while others are only working with $1,000. Either way, there are options albeit fewer options the less money you have. Even if you’re on a budget, don’t give up. Here are some of the best cars under $5,000 that you can buy, and (most) are no older than 10 years.Keep in mind these are just some examples of what’s out there, so always do your diligence and research before buying.

Economy/commuter car: 2007 Mazda 3 i Touring

The rating for a 2007 Mazda 3 is more than 4 stars on That makes the Mazda a good option, as you can find some going for less than $5,000 on Craigslist or KBB. The Mazda 3 i Touring comes with a 148-hp 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder gasoline engine, can have either an automatic or manual transmission, and is capable of more than 30 miles per gallon. That might not sound like a whole lot when it comes to Hondas and Toyotas, but with a commuter, it’s important to consider comfort and durability. Mazdas can be known for being a more luxurious brand, which explains their typically high price point but also Mazdas have decent suspension, are reliable and robust. You can probably find a Honda for less money, but for the comfort level and performance, a Mazda is hard to beat.

Best Used Truck: 2008 Ford F250

Surprisingly I actually was able to find quite a few of F-250 within a 5k budget, and several were from 2008. The F-250 has multiple engine options, ranging from a 5.4-liter V10 to a 6.8-liter, producing about 360 horsepower. There’s also a diesel option, called the Power Stroke. These trucks can tow as much as 10,400 pounds and can handle a payload of almost 6,700 pounds. It’s no secret that the Ford F-series is a solid choice for a truck, so finding one as new as this, with this kind of performance is definitely a good option.

SUV- 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT

If you’re looking at SUVs for less than $5,000, one of the options is to get a 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT. This car comes with a base 6.0-liter eight-cylinder gasoline engine, producing 395 horsepower. That’s a lot of SUV for $5,000. It can also come with AWD. While the car can come with many options in terms of safety and comfort since you’re buying used that won’t matter much, however, the staples are things you can rely on, those being the engine, AWD, durability and 43 cu-ft of cargo space with the seats still up.

Cheap Sports Car: 2005 Infiniti G35

With the price range of no more than $5,000 and want a sports car no older than the mid-2000s, the choices were somewhat limited. Although the 2005 Infiniti G35 is technically a compact luxury sedan, it does have the same engine as Nissan’s 350z so it’s about as close as we could get to a sports car. Not only does it have 280-hp out of its 3.5-liter V6, but it also comes with the same transmission as a 350z. The things that hold this car back from being a full blown sports car is its weight, it’s less horsepower figure than the 350z and it has back seats that can actually fit people. Otherwise, it’s got the power and the RWD so as long as you don’t mind taking out the back seats and swapping for bigger brakes the G35 can be the sports car you want it to be.

Executive- 2007 Mercedes E350

You may be interested to know that, if you’re one of those people who’s needed a Mercedes all of their life, it’s more than possible to get one and not necessarily have to spend a ton of money. At least in the beginning (maintenance cost is another story). The 2007 Mercedes E350 is an option for you if you don’t mind a used luxury sedan and only have about $5,000 to spend. It’s got a V6 that produces 268 horsepower and has plush comfy seats you could fall asleep in. It is a Mercedes though, so, keep an extra couple thousand dollars extra handy in case a piece of plastic falls off.

Also check out other’s list of the best used cars under $5,000. Of course, there could be other options beyond my recommendation. Keep in mind that my search criteria limited the price range between $4,000 and $5,000, so for much, much less you can get different cars but they won’t be in as good condition. People will typically charge more for a better condition vehicle, barring any unsuspecting grandma-driven Bentley that’s “taking up space” going for $2,500. Unless you find a “diamond in the rough” like that (which you should pounce on immediately), stick with the odds and stay within your price range.

While buying used cars could come with its own set of problems, like exploding radiators (may or may not have happened to me once) and needing new tires, so it is always smart to figure out how much you can spend on a car, and try to keep some cash handy for a rainy day.