The 27 Most Fun Used Cars You Can Buy for Under $5000

These cars prove you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

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Subaru

Just because you don't want to spend a lot of money on a car, doesn't mean you have to buy something boring. Here are the most fun cars you can buy for less that $5000.

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Ford
Ford Taurus SHO

Ford's Taurus SHO sport sedan of the '90s came with a high-revving Yamaha-tuned V-6 engine paired with a five-speed manual. Because so many were built, prices remain low. This one can be yours right now for just $3200.

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Toyota
Toyota Supra

Mk4 Supra prices have exploded in recent years, but older Supras like the Mk3 can still be had for reasonable numbers. Here's a Turbo model that needs some love for sale on Craigslist now.

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Ford Focus SVT

It's no Fiesta ST, but the Focus SVT is still a hell of a hatchback if you're seeking cheap smiles. Best of all, they're shockingly easy to find under $5000. Here's one listed for sale in Seattle that you can own for just $4000.

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Toyota
Toyota Cressida

The Cressida might not look like much from the outside, but a straight-six engine sending power to the rear wheels means a whole lot of fun for not that much money. This one can be yours for just $1800.

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Sometimes you want a winter beater that's big and comfortable. In that case, look no further than the Ford Crown Victoria. Sure it's rear-wheel drive, but the giant trunk has plenty of space to add weight over the rear tires. They're built to last, and you can also find them for sale no matter where you're looking.
Ford
Ford Crown Victoria

The Crown Vic isn't exactly sporty, but it is durable. Plus it has a V-8 that sends power to the rear wheels, meaning there's plenty of fun to be had. Here's an ex-Police Interceptor on eBay now for under $4000.

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Brian Silvestro
Nissan 240SX

Thanks to its popularity as a drift car, it's getting harder and harder to locate a nice 240SX for less than $5000. They're still out there, though—you just have to put a bit more effort into find them. Here's one with some mods listed for just $3500.

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Pontiac
Pontiac Solstice

Believe it or not, the Pontiac Solstice is now 13 years old. Early models have begun to depreciate under the $5000 mark, which is good news for roadster fans. They're not especially common at that price, but I was able to find this one on Craigslist with little effort.

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Ford
Ford Mustang

If you want a nice, running V-8-powered Mustang for less than $5000, you don't have very many cars to choose from. You could go the Foxbody route, or buy something like this reasonably priced SN95 Mustang GT.

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Nissan
Nissan 300ZX

Looking for a nicely-styled, reliable, sporty GT car? The Nissan 300ZX can check all of those boxes for you. It might be difficult to find a turbocharged model for under five grand, but naturally aspirated cars like this one can be sourced under budget all day long.

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Jeep
Jeep Wrangler

If you're looking for a different sort of fun, why not consider a Wrangler? Newer ones will take years to depreciate to under $5000, but examples like this 1999 TJ model can be reliably found for good prices.

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Honda
Honda Beat

Though you couldn't originally buy them in the US, imported Honda Beats can still be found for under the $5000 mark. For that you get a high-revving mid-mounted three-cylinder engine and a convertible top. Sounds like a deal to us.

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BMW
BMW 3-Series (E30)

Though prices are on the rise, it's still easy to find a good E30-generation 3-Series for under $5000. That kind of money can get you a ratty 325is, or a four-cylinder 318i in good condition. Just be on the watch for rust, however. Here's a 325is for sale you can own right now.

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Honda
Honda CR-X Si

While your chance to pick up an Integra Type R for cheap have long since past, there are still other fun small FWD Hondas out there for little money. The lightweight two-seater CRX Si is a perfect example. This one is listed for sale on Craigslist right now.

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Mazda
Mazda MX-5 Miata

When talking about cheap fun cars, it's hard not to mention the Miata. First- and second-generation MX-5s can easily be found for under five grand, and for that price, you're getting one of the best, most smile-inducing driving experiences on earth. This one's listed in Pennsylvania right on the $5000 mark.

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BMW
BMW 3-Series (E36)

If the E30 is a bit too old for your tastes, consider its successor, the E36. Pretty much any non-M3 version can be found under budget, whether you want a strong inline-six or a frugal four-banger. This '94 convertible has a manual transmission, and you can own it.

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Subaru
Subaru Impreza WRX

If you need a cheap performance car that can plow through any terrain, the bugeye WRX is the car for the job. With a turbocharged boxer-four, it shouldn't have any trouble muscling through the toughest of blizzards. Here's one you can own right now.

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Chevrolet
Chevrolet Corvette (C4)

Because many people think the C4 is the "worst" Corvette, there are many deals to be had on them. Sure, you won't find a late-production six-speed for under $5000, but early cars can be had within budget fairly easily. This one on Craigslist can be yours today.

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The standard 944 might actually be the better car, but adding a turbocharger definitely made the 944 faster. In fact, the 944 Turbo is fast enough that it'll run all the way up to 157 mph. Finding deals on these can be harder than some of the other cars on the list, but a smart buyer can pick one up for around $10,000.
Porsche
Porsche 944

If brand image is what you're after, there's no better cheap car than the Porsche 944. Though it may not be rear-engined, it still drives like a Porsche, and has the same wonderful build quality. This one is clean, and it's for sale right now.

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Toyota
Toyota MR2

Whether you're looking for a first-, second-, or third-generation MR2 to add to your garage, you won't have much trouble finding one for under budget. We think the sweet spot is the second-gen SW20 model shown here. Here's a cheap Spyder model listed for sale right now.

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Suzuki
Suzuki Cappuccino

The rear-wheel drive Cappuccino Kei car was never officially sold in the US, but thanks to our 25-year import law, they can now be brought into the country. There aren't many to be found under $5000, but there are some.

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Chevrolet
Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (Fourth-Gen)

If the Corvette isn't really your thing, maybe you'll like the Camaro Z28. It has a totally different look, but packs a Corvette-sourced LT1 V-8 under the hood.

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Subaru
Subaru Impreza 2.5RS

Unlike the WRX, the Impreza 2.5RS does not come with a turbocharged engine. What it does have, however, are much cooler looks, a lighter curb weight, and a rear locking differential. Here's one with some mods you can own today.

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Porsche
Porsche Boxster (986)

Though it may be tough to find a first-gen Boxster under five grand, they're out there. Thanks to its mid-engine layout and flat-six engine, it's one of the most capable cars on this list. The only things you'll have to deal with are the questionable looks and relatively high maintenance costs. Here's one for sale now.

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Chrysler
Chrysler Conquest TSi / Mitsubishi Starion

The Conquest TSi (also know as the Starion) packs a turbocharged engine under the hood, and like the similarly-styled 944, puts its power to the rear wheels. They're a little tough to find for sale, but when they do pop up, prices hover around $5000, for the most part.

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Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz SLK230

Believe it or not, the first-gen SLK has depreciated under the $5000-mark. They can easily be found for under budget on Craigslist—though finding one with a manual transmission may be a bit tougher. This red one listed on Craigslist can be yours for just under $5000.

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Honda
Honda Civic Si (EP3)

People seem to forget about the Civic Si hatch of the early 2000s, and we can't see a reason why. Prices are cheap, and for your money you get a fun, manual hot hatch with Honda reliability and massive aftermarket support. This one is in good condition, and it can be yours.

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Mazda
Mazda RX-7 (FB or FC)

You won't find the gorgeous third-generation twin-turbo RX-7 for under $5000. You'd struggle to find one for under $10,000, but you can get naturally aspirated versions of the first two generations for under $5000. Its rotary engine can be tricky to maintain, but it's so cool, you might not care. Here's an FC for sale for just $3800.

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