Cars for $7,000 That Are Surprisingly Fun

One of the most significant barriers when car shopping is cost. As such, many bargain hunters rely on finding the best sleeper used cars. Typically, people look for reliability, maintenance costs, and other practical metrics that fit nicely on a spreadsheet. However, what about fun? With fun at the forefront, we’re throwing practicality out the window and just looking at fun, affordable cars. 

How the pandemic made cars more expensive

A red Volkswagen Beetle with a 'For Sale' sign for under $7,000 on its windshield parked in a field of flowers in Taghmon, Ireland
A Volkswagen Beetle with a ‘For Sale’ sign | Tim Graham/Getty Images

If you haven’t looked at car prices in the past few months, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. During the pandemic, many microchip producers slowed down production to keep workers safe. Yet, the demand for microchips increased as people were looking to upgrade their at-home gadgets. Under these factors, we are now in a microchip shortage that has hurt the auto industry. In some cases, entire car plants have been shut down while they wait for more microchips.

This decreased supply has caused an increase in car prices. Additionally, used car prices have also skyrocketed because of the pandemic. Numerous kinks caused this throughout the supply chain of car parts. Furthermore, there’s an increased demand for used cars from those looking to reduce monthly expenses. 

With that in mind, you may be surprised at some of the vehicle prices of our fun, cheap cars. 

Fun cars under $7,000

Recently, writers for Car and Driver went on a mission to find the most fun cars in the market for under $7,000. After scouring online marketplaces, here is what they found:

Lincoln Town Car. This full-size luxury sedan doesn’t exactly scream fun to most car enthusiasts. Nonetheless, it was chosen by one of Car and Driver’s senior editors. The exterior is a bit lackluster, but under the hood is where the fun is. The editor was able to find a version that had an impressive 4.6-liter SOHC V8. 

Jaguar XJ8 L. This Jaguar is also a luxury sedan but has a design that aged better than the Lincoln Town Car. After all, Jaguars tend to be the sports jackets of vehicles. This Jaguar model has some power to it, by discount used car standards at least. It comes with a V8 engine that produces up to 325 horsepower. 

BMW 528i. One editor found a 1999 BMW 528i. Does it look dated? Yes. But was it under $7k? Also yes. This choice did raise some eyebrows from the other editors, but it was admitted that this old BMW was considered fun for nostalgic reasons. It just goes to show how the word “fun” can mean very different things to different people.

Toyota Tundra. Finishing out the hunt for cheap fun cars was a 2002 Toyota Tundra. Rightfully so, as cheap trucks are often overlooked when considering the fun-ness of vehicles. While new trucks sure do look nice, it’s hard to take them off-roading for fear of expensive damage. With cheap trucks, drivers are free to jam some gears out in the woods without worry. 

Regional considerations

Of course, finding fun cars for under $7,000 will vary a great deal based on where you live. It seems every city has its unique supply and demand for used car models. We all have that friend who traveled across the country to save a few thousand dollars on a used car. 

If anything, this list proves that car experts have radically different tastes of what makes a vehicle “fun.” There was a lot of grimacing and banter during Car and Drivers’ debate of which cars should make the list. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, fun-ness is in the preference of the driver. 

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