Skip to main content

In a recent study, iSeeCars reports on the best used cars, trucks, and SUVs. The results are based on reliability, safety, and value retention. But not all of the winners are what you’d expect. Are these really the best used cars under $5,000?

The list is full of various makes, models, and classifications. There are 23 categories listed in the study. One of the categories exists for shoppers that really don’t want to spend a lot of money, yet they still want a good car. For thrifty car shoppers such as these, iSeeCars made a category for the best used cars under $5,000. But what are they?

Best used cars under $5,000

A few factors are taken into account in order to decide which cars are winners in each category. First, the reliability of each vehicle is weighed. Then, the value retention. How does this model hold its value over time?

Then––perhaps the most important category––safety. When we buy a used vehicle, that means it belongs to an older model year than the current one we are in. Sometimes buying used means sacrificing some of the newest safety features. So it’s nice to know which models are safe even without all of the modern safety tech.

The Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is a bit unexpected because it’s a totally under the radar model. Not many people still give the Buick Regal a second thought. However, it turns out that this Buick is the runner-up of the best used cars under $5,000 according to iSeeCars.

2011 Buick Regal | Car and Driver
2011 Buick Regal | Car and Driver

Its overall score from iSeeCars is 8.1 out of 10. The NHTSA gave the Buick Regal a perfect 5 out of 5 for safety. In addition, the publication reports that cars older than 10 years are priced at an average of $3,219. 

“The [Buick Regal] midsize sedan has above average reliability and longevity as well as strong fuel economy.”


This is one of the best used cars under $5,000. The Buick Regal‘s resale value, safety, and reliability scores all combine to make this a nice used car. Save money on a good older vehicle and it will pay off if you find a good model.

Best Used Car Under $5,000 is the Mazda Mazda3

The Mazda Mazda3 is a less surprising model for this list of the best used cars under $5,000. iSeeCars gives the Mazda Mazda3 8.5 out of 10. It also has a 48% estimate for its 5-year value retention. In addition to these stats, the Mazda Mazda3 has a 5 out of 5 average safety rating from the NHTSA.

2010 mazda mazda3 at speed
2010 Mazda Mazda3 | Edmunds

“The fun-to-drive Mazda MAZDA3 has above-average value retention and longevity as well as perfect safety scores.”


If you find a 10-year-old version of the Mazda Mazda3, the average price should be around $4,970. People gravitate toward this model for a used model because it’s actually fun to drive––considering how inexpensive it is. Add above average value retention and the ability to last for a long time, and you have a pretty decent combo. If you are looking for one of the best used cars under $5,000, iSeeCars writes that choosing between one of these two is a great place to start.


The 2021 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Makes You Feel Invincible Even in a Snowstorm