So you’re not in the 1 percent of Americans who can stroll past a Bentley dealership and make an impulse buy? Don’t worry about it! New cars smell bad, like cash decomposing in a trust fund. There are some adequate, interesting and even great used vehicles on KSL Cars under $5,000, and we can help you find the right car for your perfectly acceptable budget. Here are the 10 most popular listings on KSL Cars that will set you back less than five grand.
1. 2005 Nissan Altima / 6. 2006 Nissan Altima
When the Nissan Altima debuted, the taillights were so ahead of their time that the car still looks modern. Nissan sold more than 250,000 that year — it’s their best-selling car — so they’re easy to find. Choose between a 4-cylinder or the award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 250 horsepower.
Before giving it a test drive, check underneath the car to make sure the floorboards aren’t rusted. The 2006 Altima received only minor changes. The SE-R, if you can find one, can accelerate 0 to 60 in seven seconds. That’s about the time it takes to lose $5,000 in a pyramid scheme.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2005 Nissan Altima here.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2006 Nissan Altima here.
2. 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan
In 2005 Dodge introduced “Stow ’n Go” seats in a minivan, meaning all the rear seats (not just the third row) can fold into the floor. They’re amazing. Chrysler sold 226,000 of these, but sales declined as more competition came in and buyers went for crossovers and SUVs. Customers complain about brakes and transmission wear, but rave about the interior conveniences.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2005 Grand Caravan here.
3. 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt
If this car is popular on KSL Cars, it’s probably because people are trying to unload them. It was recalled numerous times, but not before 13 people died from faulty ignition switches (People were fired and things improved with later models). The 2006 does get good gas mileage at least. GM dropped the Cobalt name when it was replaced in 2010 by the Cruze.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt here.
4. 2006 Hyundai Sonata
The 2006 Hyundai Sonata continued with the conservative styling that made it look suspiciously similar to the Honda Accord (the bolder, sleeker look came in 2009). Some owners complain about engine problems, but most love their Sonatas. They’re like sweatpants: Not as refined as some of their competitors but they’ll get you where you’re going comfortably.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2006 Hyundai Sonata here.
5. 2004 Honda Civic / 9. 2005 Honda Civic / 10. 2002 Honda Civic
These years’ Civics are all seventh generation and difficult to tell apart. (A major change came in 2006, giving the Civic a more aggressive look.) These were the Civics that bumped up interior space, moving it from the subcompact to compact class. Owner-reported problems are low for these years, bookended between transmission problems on the 2001 and a host of complaints for the 2006. Its reputation as the fun-to-drive compact was hurt by its higher center of gravity and added weight, but customers still rave about its reliability and handling.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2004 Honda Civic here.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2005 Honda Civic here.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2002 Honda Civic here.
7. 2003 Ford Focus
This is the first generation of the Focus that replaced the Escort in 1998. It has a band of followers, especially fans of the Zetec engine and the higher-performing RS model. Consumer complaints about the key not turning in the ignition spiked in 2003, so pay attention to that on the test drive. Seems like a non-starter if the key doesn't turn. Just saying.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2003 Ford Focus here.
8. 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser
2005 was a good year for the PT Cruiser. We won’t comment on its styling, because people either love it or hate it, but having a car this distinctive could pay off in the resale long run. It was designed to be a stylish car that also packed a lot of utility, and its tall shape gives it plenty of headroom and interior space. The convertible design debuted in 2005, and there are turbo engine options. It got new headlights and grille in 2006. Customer feedback on it is good; possibly because lovers love and haters don’t buy one.
Browse listings under $5,000 for the 2005 PT Cruiser here.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but if $5,000 can buy a used P.T Cruiser or a Chevy Cobalt then — they were right. BUT, a little bit of money goes a long way on KSL Cars. Browse the models above or the other 80,000 listings for a fascinating cross-section of American car-as-identity. The 99 percent of us who can’t afford a brand-new Audi will be browsing right along with you.