Best Used Cars and SUVs for Less Than $5,000

These models have strong reliability and performed well in CR's tests

2007 Toyota Camry
Toyota Camry

Even though it can be challenging to find a used car right now, there’s no reason buyers have to settle for an unreliable or a dangerous one just because their budget is tight. Many models that were smart choices when they were new still have those same good qualities years later as older, much less-expensive used cars.

And yes, even used cars under $5,000 can offer high quality and reliable transportation. They were good when we recommended them as new and now years later—more than decade in most cases—they’ve held up.

To be recommended, cars, SUVs, and trucks must perform well in more than 50 evaluations. Recommended models also need to have average or better reliability according to the results of our Annual Auto Surveys of CR members.

All the sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs listed below can be found for $5,000 or less and are available with electronic stability control (ESC), a safety system that saves lives and is now required on all new cars. We note in the description for each model when ESC was introduced as an optional or standard feature.

More On Used Cars

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. If you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access the list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

CR members can search our Used Car Marketplace for vehicles for sale in their area, sorting by the factors that matter most.

The listings include CR reliability and owner satisfaction ratings, and most vehicles include a free Carfax report. Members can also access ratings and information on used vehicles going as far back as 20 years.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.