Shopping for a reliable used car when you’re on a strict budget can be tough. Sure, there are plenty of cars for sale, but what if you only want to spend $2,000 or less? Your super tight budget might be holding you back from obtaining a newer car, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your hands on a car that’s reliable enough to get you from point A to B. If you need a few ideas, here are five cars that are known for being reliable and will cost you less than $2,000.
Ford Crown Victoria
The Ford Crown Victoria is one of the most revered cars due to its renowned reputation for reliability. No, it’s not a Honda or Toyota, but there’s a good reason why this car was widely used by taxicab companies and police forces all over the country for ages: it has a bulletproof 4.6-liter V8 engine under the hood.
And while it’s easy to scoff at this engine’s 235 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque ratings, what’s more important is that it’s able to withstand many years of use and countless hours of idling. There have even been reports of some Crown Vics lasting well over 250,000 miles. Luckily, you can find one of these cars for cheap, but if you want a little more performance and longevity, try finding a retired police car version of the Crown Victoria.
95-99 Nissan Sentra
The Nissan Sentra has definitely come a long way in the past few decades as the all-new 2020 model has all of the safety and tech features you could want along with standout styling that will turn heads. However, the 95-99 Nissan Sentra has none of that. But you’ll at least be able to buy one for under $2,000 and enjoy an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway from its efficient and reliable 1.6-liter engine.
93–97 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla is easily one of the most venerable compact cars on the market and it has been for the better part of four decades. It’s a great car now and it was back in the mid-90s, which is the vintage that you’ll have to search for if you want to spend less than $2,000. It might not be the best looking car or have the latest equipment, but the 93-97 Corolla will get you to where you need to go in a fuel-efficient, no-frills style.
88-02 Honda Accord
You really can’t go wrong with a Honda Accord no matter which year you buy. Fortunately, if you’re on a strict budget, you can still afford one from the early 2000s, but if you want something cheaper, then the Accords made in the mid-to-late 90s are great cars as well. With simple routine maintenance, these cars can easily last at least 300,000 miles or more.
96–02 Toyota Camry
Just like with the Honda Accord, you can’t wrong with a Toyota Camry. Toyota has always been known for manufacturing some of the most reliable cars on the planet and just about any Camry that you can find on the used market will run strong for decades. While you can find Camrys made in the 90s for under $2,000, we wouldn’t be surprised if found one made in the early 2000s for that same price. Either way, you’ll get a good deal with one of these cars.
Driving on a budget
We admit that none of these cars are the prettiest or most exciting cars to drive, however, if you’re operating on a strict budget and are in need of simple transportation, then any of these cars will get the job done. If anything, just buy one and save your money for a newer car in the future.