Author Topic: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less  (Read 3011 times)

Kansaslover5

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: California
I was wondering if my fellow frugalers could help me identify what the most affordable, economical and reliable used cars are? Particulary at the $5,000 range and below. I'm thinking Toyotas and Hondas? Any vignettes?

frugal_engineer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 05:10:59 AM »
It really depends on how much maintenance you are willing/able to do.  Used Toyotas and Hondas carry a hefty premium on price because people associate them with with 'cheap, affordable, and reliable' regardless of how much they deserve the name.  Based on an informal poll I do for myself, the most commonly broken down car on the side of highways I've seen is the Honda Civic.  Probably because the owner thought "I have a Honda and it is reliable" and failed to do any maintenance.  Every car is reliable if well cared for, no car is reliable (very long) if not.

Older cars of those brands are generally better on fuel, but higher purchase price eats up a lot of the gain you'd get from better mileage.

I'd recommend, assuming you have some maintenance capability to provide some TLC to a used car, a less popular brand of 'cheap, affordable, and reliable' and you'll probably end up ahead.

Disclaimer: Every car is different, your mileage may vary.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 05:53:13 AM »
Depending on the age range you are looking, also consider things like Pontiac Vibe, Mazda3 hatchback, and things of that ilk. Hatches usually are a touch heavier on gas than a Civic or smaller, but infinitely more practical even for a single person. They're incredible if you're at all into hauling materials for DIY.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 06:08:41 AM »
In my area, $5000 is about as low as I can go without fear of mechanical issues or a generally crappy, beat up, ill-used car with 100K+ miles. Years ago, I knew a mechanic who sold used cars on the side, and I could get $3K-4K cars from him that would last 5-6 years, but I moved to another part of the state, and so my last two cars have been $5K-7K.

As for brands, opinions are anecdotal at best, but Honda and Toyota definitely fetch a premium and will likely not be a best choice for $5K. I've only seen very high mileage Corollas/Civics in that price range and honestly not worth the premium in my opinion. I would rather have a lower mileage Mazda or even Hyundai instead if I'm in that price range. Also, I've done okay with lower mileage Chevys. I'm neutral on Ford because they have made some decent strides in the last 10 years (I wouldn't have even considered a Ford prior to 2000). Older Chrysler/Dodge/VW/Kias are no longer options that I will probably ever consider again due to my experience and the experience of family/friends.


randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 06:59:17 AM »
Based on an informal poll I do for myself, the most commonly broken down car on the side of highways I've seen is the Honda Civic.  Probably because the owner thought "I have a Honda and it is reliable" and failed to do any maintenance.  Every car is reliable if well cared for, no car is reliable (very long) if not.

You probably see more Civics because there are more Civics.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4568
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Most affordable, economical, reliable used car $5000 or less
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 07:19:26 AM »
Based on an informal poll I do for myself, the most commonly broken down car on the side of highways I've seen is the Honda Civic.  Probably because the owner thought "I have a Honda and it is reliable" and failed to do any maintenance.  Every car is reliable if well cared for, no car is reliable (very long) if not.

You probably see more Civics because there are more Civics.
It's also very popular among teenagers and young adults who have no money to fix their cars. Jaguars are terribly unreliable, but you don't see many of them on the side of the road.