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Buying a modern used car for any sort of reasonable price seems entirely implausible at this point. However, shopping for a reliable used car on a modest budget is still a possibility; it just takes a bit more effort in this market. Fortunately, U.S. News is here to make it a bit easier on you. Here are five efficient and modern cars you can still buy for under $6,000.

2011 Honda Civic

2011 Honda Civic wins green car of the year award
2011 Honda Civic | Honda

The Honda Civic is the trusty staple to turn to when hunting for a reliable and affordable vehicle. It’s easy to see why, too. Built on top of Honda’s notoriety for reliable cars, the Civic does exactly what it needs to do. It gets good fuel economy (up to 36 highway for this model year) and transcends age in being reliable transport from A to B.

2011 is about the newest model year you’ll be able to get to with a $6,000 budget unless you’re willing to take a bit of a hit in how lovingly maintained the vehicle is. Even so, finding a nice one for under $6,000 is a bit of a task, but it isn’t impossible.

Expect to pay between $5,548 and $11,570 for a 2011 model. Alternatively, U.S. News also cites the 2009 model year Civic as a solid option with prices ranging from $4,169 to $9,905.

2010 Suzuki SX4

The Suzuki SX4 has a bit of a unique offering in terms of this list. It’s available with all-wheel drive. That’s a pretty uncommon trait for a cheap car of any kind, let alone a compact hatchback or sedan. So, if you live in a snowy climate, take note!

The SX4 does pretty solid on fuel economy, too. It has EPA ratings up to 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. A 2010 model year SX4 is attainable for between $3,413 and $5,744.

2009 Hyundai Elantra

Front 3/4 of red 2009 Hyundai Elantra in mountain setting
2009 Hyundai Elantra | Hyundai

The Hyundai Elantra has become a staple of affordable used cars like the Civic. Not only does the 2009 Elantra make the list, it actually won the U.S. News “Best Compact Car for the Money” award.

The 2009 Elantra sees ratings of up to 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway and has a moderate average price range of $5,723 to $7,090. So, while keeping it under or around $6,000 may not be easy, thrifty shoppers can pull it off.

2010 Mazda Mazda3

Mazda president with blue 2010 Mazda3 at 2009 Tokyo Auto Show
Mazda3 | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

Who doesn’t love a little repetition in a vehicle’s name?

The Mazda3 flies under the radar a bit when it comes to used cars. They are affordable, good on gas, have a decent interior, and they’re fairly sporty and fun to drive. Additionally, they are available in both sedan and hatchback body styles and have different engine options. So, the selections are nearly endless, and everyone can find a Mazda3 they love.

2010 model year Mazda3s see up to 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Unfortunately, these cars, too, will be a tough find under $6,000, but not impossible. U.S. News states the average price range from $5,967 to $7,181.

Stick to your guns and negotiate, there are a lot of used cars out there!

If your budget is $6,000, then your budget is $6,000. It’s important to keep what you’re willing to spend in your head and keep from going over that number. A little flexibility doesn’t hurt, but persistence and deal-hunting are the best ways to land yourself the car you want.

Any of these four vehicles are an excellent choice for affordable cars with modern amenities, decent fuel economy, and will be a trustworthy daily driver.


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