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Best Car To Buy For Less Than $5000

If money is tight at the moment and you are searching for the best car to buy for less than $5000, look no further as this article will offer you a couple of ideas. However, keep in mind that for a $5k car you won’t get the quality of a $10k automobile. Plus, most of these cars will come with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. Despite these disadvantages, if you do some careful shopping and have plenty of patience, you can get a very good car in this price range.

Let’s start with the Acura Integra GS-R, the cars manufactured between 1994 and 2001. Featuring an engine that has a redline at 8,000 rpm and a gearbox that works in perfect tandem with the power unit, it is one of the best front-wheel drive cars as far as handling is concerned. In addition, it offers plenty of room for four people thanks to the spacious hatchback cabin. Due to the fact that the GS-Rs have remained relatively the same over their 8-year long run in the United States, it is best to get the one that has the lowest mileage.

Another great example would be the Chevrolet Camaro / Pontiac Firebird, the ones made between 1985 and 1994. There are two V8 engines available for these cars, a 5.0-liter and a 5.7-liter. The latter was exclusively fitted with an automatic gearbox. It would be best to find a model made starting with 1993 and further as these fourth-generation vehicles come with a stiffer chassis and a more powerful engine fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox. For the ’93 and ’94 models, both cars featured a 275 hp engine.

The Chevrolet Corvette is a best buy in this price tag, at least the ones made between 1984 and 1996. For this money you get massive rims, big tires, big brakes, an independent suspension and a 245 hp engine if you choose the model wisely. Avoid getting a pre ’84 model as these were fitted with a 4-speed electronic overdrive transmission in comparison to the newer ones that had a ZF 6-speed manual gearbox. The cars made starting with 1988 had a L98 engine that produced 245 hp and the car also was fitted with huge 275/40ZR17 rubber.

A reliable V8-powered car would have to be the Ford Mustang, the models manufactured between 1986 and 2004. The ones made starting ’86 had a 5.0-liter V8 engine and the car got some upgrades in 1994. You can find Mustangs made between 2000 and 2003 under the $5k price tag. A good model would be the ’87-’93 LX that had a 225 hp 5.0-liter, like the one on the GT.

The Honda Prelude was considered to be an overpriced, unpopular and unrated model or at least that is how the press described it. However, its underrated part wins the Prelude a spot in this lit. The right model to buy would be the one in the SH trim level that has the proprietary Active Torque Transfer System which can bias drive torque to the outside wheel in a turn.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T/GSX and the Eagle Talon TSi/Tsi AWD are other great examples in this budget; especially the models produced starting with 1990 until ’98. Both of them had a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine as well as optional AWD for the 2-door hatchback version. There were two generations of these cars; the first models had a 195 hp engine while the newest ones featured a more powerful 210 hp unit.

The best car to buy for less than $5000 could very well be the popular and cute Mazda MX-5 Miata, the ones made between 1990 and 2000. It is one of the most best-handling and communicative cars in the world, but from this list it is the slowest. Your best bet would be the second generation models that had a 140 hp engine, although the first one was not very bad with its 1.8-liter engine linked to a 5-speed gearbox and a Torsen limited-slip diferential. Regardless of model or generation, avoid getting one with an automatic transmission as it will kill all the fun.

For those of you looking for a great chassis, the 1989-1998 Nissan 240SX is the right car to purchase. With a light weight body, sophisticated rear suspension, rear-drive and great steering, the 240SX was modeled on the Porsche 944, but unfortunately it had an engine that produced only 240 hp. Most of these cars were modified for drifting and come with a customized 2.0-liter SR20DET turbo engine so it would be wise to get one with this engine.

A popular car in the late 90s was the Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS (1998-2001), offering 165 hp under the hood. Until 2000, the Impreza was available only as a coupe model and in that year they introduced the sedan version which looks better.  It would be advisable to get one made starting with 1999 as these models were equipped with a SOHC power unit which was significantly smoother and offered more torque.

Offering a low weight construction combined with ample power for the turbo models, the 1991-1995 Toyota MR2 is the last car from this list, worthy of its less than $5000 price tag. The base MR2 models used a Camry power unit which means that they were quite slow. However, if speed is not important to you, these engines are some of the most durable and reliable in the entire list. Avoid getting a car with a T-top and try to find one that has a fixed-roof as it offers more chassis rigidity, plus the T-top cars has very expensive panels that will certainly ruin your budget.

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