Best Used Cars to Buy Under $5,000 According to Consumer Reports

Sometimes you just want a driver. You don’t want to finance a large sum of money, and paying with cash feels more prudent. There are still good cars on the road that you can buy for under $5,000. According to Consumer Reports, these are the best used cars to buy for less than $5 grand. Not surprisingly, Honda or Toyota makes all four models.

an older silver Honda Accord sedan
2006 Honda Accord EX-L | Honda Media

2009-2011 Honda Civic

Consumer Reports recommends the Honda Civic between the model years 2009-2011 as one of the best used cars to buy under $5,000. according to CR, this generation of the Civic got some major updates––including electronic stability control (ESC). It’s one of the best used Honda cars, features more space, and a more sophisticated cabin experience than previous models. You’ll find most of them with the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine, which gets an economical 28 mpg on average. If you find one with a manual shift, it’s even better at 31 mpg.

2009 Honda Civic Si Coupe
2009 Honda Civic Si Coupe | Honda

2007-2009 Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is a used Honda car that offers a ton of interior space, though it’s notable that you’ll sacrifice a bit in terms of sophistication. It’s a little less punchy than some other Hondas, but it still feels fun to drive, according to Consumer Reports. This little hatcher is a little “choppy,” with some cabin noise, but with fuel economy around 31 mpg overall it makes for a good used car choice. Especially if you take into account that you can find them for under $5 grand. This Honda car also received ESC in the 2009 model year.

A blue Honda Fit on display at an auto show
A group of people checking out a Honda Fit | Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

2002-2009 Toyota Corolla

This used Toyota car is renown for its practical performance and fuel economy. Though CR describes the handling as “uninspiring,” the “ride quality is absorbent and unobtrusive.” Toyota first offered ESC for the Corolla in the 2005 model year, and you can expect around 29 mpg on average. Consumer Reports does recommend, however, that if you can afford a 2009 model or later it might be wiser to take that route. Due to curtain airbags appearing only from the 2009 year on, the IIHS scored these used Toyota cars as ‘Poor.’

Workers inspect Toyota Corollas at a factory
Workers make final check of a Corolla vehicle at Toyota assembly plant | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: What Makes the 2020 Toyota Corolla the Best Affordable Car?

2002-2007 Toyota Prius

The Prius has a reputation for being practical and packed with value. With a 44 mpg average, this innovative hybrid was one of the first trusted hybrid cars on the road. Though the cabin noise is there, and the “compliant” ride is stiff. Still, the Prius feels “secure.” It’s all about the basics with the Prius, but Consumer Reports lists it as one of the best used cars to buy under $5,000.

A 2005 Toyota Prius on a test drive
A person taking a Toyota Prius on a test drive | David Paul Morris/Getty Images

RELATED: Now’s the Right Time to Buy a Used 2005 Toyota Prius for Under $5,000

2004-2007 Honda Accord

These model years of the Honda Accord are trusty and spacious. It’s one of the best used cars to buy, according to CR, because the its “handling is quite nimble, the ride is steady and controlled and the switches and gauges are intuitive.” It’s a great used car for under $5,000. Most that you’ll find are equipped with a 4 cylinder engine that’s nice and smooth and powerful enough to satisfy most.

older EX-L interior of a Honda Accord
seventh generation Honda Accord interior EX-L trim | Honda Media

2002-2005 Toyota Avalon

The Avalon is longer, slightly fancier version of the Toyota Camry. Consumer Reports describes “silky-smooth powertrain, Lexus-like road isolation, and cabin room.” It’s a great used car to buy for under $5,000. A large back seat and luxurious cabin made it appealing in its day. ESC became optional in 2005. However, just because the ride is sophisticated doesn’t mean this used Toyota car is particularly exciting to drive. Still, it’s hard to complain about at less than $5 grand.

A 2006 Toyota Avalon being debuted at an auto show
A 2006 Toyota Avalon | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

2002-2005 Toyota Camry

Although the models lacking curtain airbags from this Toyota Camry generation received ‘Poor’ crash safety scores, CR recommends it as one of the best used cars to buy for under $5,000. It’s a user-friendly used Toyota car. Comfortable, smooth, and quiet enough, these older Camrys are reliable daily drivers with a range of options. Since 2005, Toyota offered ESC as an option on certain trim levels.

Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid | STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

RELATED: Everyone Loves––or Loved the 2007 Toyota Camry

Best used cars to buy under $5 grand

These 7 are among the best used cars under $5,000. According to Consumer Reports, these are all a good fit for the price point. Whether you go with a used Honda car or a used Toyota car, either one is likely to get the job done. For such a low price, it’s easy to look toward some of these older models when shopping for a new car.