Buying a Used SUV Under $5,000: Models to Look For and How to Find Them

The internet is a vast expanse of information. YouTube can be a great place to learn about car buying. In fact, this video we found on Ryan Scribner’s channel is chock-full of useful information about how to buy a good used car or SUV for under $5,000. There are also examples of what he claims are the best used SUVs to buy under $5 grand––here are our takeaways from the video, with the full video below. 

a maroon used Honda CR-V driving on a scenic treed road.
2003 Honda CR-V | Honda

Things to know when buying a used SUV under $5,000

Buying a used SUV––as with new car buying––can be a rewarding experience. After extensive research, careful asking of important questions, and patience to find a good deal, used SUV buyers can drive away in a solid machine that will last for years. However, this isn’t always the case. 

It can’t hurt to check out what Consumer Reports or J.D. Power have to say about the models you like. That said, there’s no source more authentic than people who have actually owned the car. Forums and Reddit are great places for research as well. 

It’s advisable to get the vehicle history report. Plus, it’s beneficial to see records of any maintenance that’s been performed. Scribner also has some suggestions for good used SUVs to buy under $5 grand––keep in mind that this price means looking at models around 10 years old or older. 

Jeep Wrangler

a light gray used Jeep Wrangler rubicon parked on a gravel road in the desert.
2006 Jeep Wrangler | Cars.com

This is a model that holds its value very well. While it’s among the best used SUVs to buy under $5,000, there aren’t a whole lot of them out there. However, it’s usually worth the hunt and a used Jeep Wrangler should see the odometer pass 200,000. 

Scribner stresses the importance of checking for rust. Not only in a used Jeep Wrangler, but in any used vehicle you are looking at. A well-maintained used Jeep Wrangler is a good choice for a reliable car on a low budget, but it’s not exactly the most comfortable daily driver for long highway commutes. 

This is a durable vehicle on a strong frame because it’s designed for off-roading. Scouring places like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace is a great way to find a good used vehicle on a small budget––even a used Jeep Wrangler. 

Scion XB

a used Scion xB parked on pavement
2008 Scion xB | Scion

This boxy little crossover is a member of the Toyota family. Scion is a brand launched by Toyota that didn’t last past 2016. But the Scion XB still makes a great used SUV and gets up to 31 MPG.  

It’s going to offer great cargo space and it’s made up of parts Toyota manufactured, so it’s easy to service. Plus, it’s said to cost only $400/year on average to maintain. While the Scion XB isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, it is a good used SUV under $5,000. 

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is another crossover among these suggestions for good used SUVs to buy under $5,000. Scribner warns against the first generation for a used Honda CR-V. He says in the YouTube video on how to buy a good car under $5 grand that the first-gen Honda CR-V struggles with burnt valves on the cylinder end. 

That said, this is a used SUV that driver 250,000 miles or more when taken care of. A used Honda CR-V gets up to 29 MPG. In fact, Scribner says that his used Honda CR-V from 1999 gets 24 MPG.

Buying a used SUV under $5,000

Research is key, folks. YouTube videos like this one are only the start. When it comes to finding a good used SUV for this price point it’s important to dig deep into the history of the prospective buys––from getting the vehicle history, to thoroughly searching for problems like rust or anything leaking, it’s best to leave no stone unturned.

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