Although finding the perfect used car is challenging right now, you shouldn’t settle for any old clunker. After all, the last thing you want to do is jump behind the wheel of something dangerous. Still, there might be a sedan for you.
The good news is that several used cars under $5,000 are still reliable options. Just because the price tag is low doesn’t mean these vehicles lack quality. In fact, Consumer Reports evaluated a wide range of used sedans under $5,000. All the cars come available with electronic stability control, a safety feature required on all new cars. The following models have strong reliability and perform well, according to Consumer Reports:
The 2004-2005 Honda Accord is a reliable midsize sedan
Price Range: $3,575 – $4,675
The Honda Accord is spacious, but it’s also a reliable midsize sedan. Most models come equipped with a 166-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with an automatic transmission. Meanwhile, higher trim levels feature a 244-horsepower V6 engine. Whichever engine your Honda Accord model is equipped with will have nimble handling and a steady ride.
The 2005 Honda Accord also has curtain airbags as a standard safety feature for added peace of mind. It’s also a good size for tall and short drivers. In addition, it offers a telescopic steering wheel adjustment in addition to tilt. Consumer Reports gave the 2004 Honda Accord a 4/5 reliability rating too.
The 2003 Lexus ES is a used luxury car for under $5,000
Price Range: $4,700
If you want a used luxury car but don’t want the luxury price tag, then the 2003 Lexus ES is an excellent option. The cabin is quiet and well-equipped with very few flaws. The soft-touch materials inside the cabin give this car a more upscale feel. Consumer Reports states the transmission shifts flawlessly, and the ride is composed. Additionally, the front seats are comfortable and have support.
This sedan model is equipped with a 210 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine that is smooth and quiet. Braking is also exceptional. Additionally, Consumer Reports gave the 2003 Lexus ES a 5/5 reliability rating.
The 2002 to 2004 Toyota Avalon is a used car under $5,000
Price Range: $4,575 – $4,825
The Toyota Avalon is similar to the Toyota Camry but with more luxury-focused features. The cabin is easy to get in and out of too, which is a big advantage for taller passengers. There are also more than enough storage options for items like tablets and books.
Additionally, the Toyota Avalon full-size sedan offers a smooth ride quality thanks to its robust V6 engine. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly, too — some say it can pass as a Lexus. What about when it comes to reliability? Consumer Reports gave the 2004 Toyota Avalon a 4/5 reliability rating.
You can’t go wrong with a used 2002 to 2004 Toyota Camry
Price Range: $4,600 – $5,125
This list wouldn’t be complete without a used Toyota Camry midsize sedan. It’s easy to drive, has plenty of room for cargo and passengers, and has a quiet interior. Its large doors make entering and exiting the vehicle a breeze.
Most versions have a 157-hp four-cylinder engine, but some higher models have a slick V6. These two engines qualify the Camry as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle. On the safety side, it’s best to look for Camry models with optional curtain airbags. There are no surprises here, but Consumer Reports also gave the 2004 Toyota Camry a 4/5 reliability rating.