The Most Reliable Used Cars Under $5000

As a result of the current economy, many folks are choosing to purchase used cars once it becomes time to trade out their old wheels. Although a short checklist of red flags such as leaky hoses or cracked engine mounts should be conducted on any potential purchase, many used cars are in fine shape and are priced very reasonably. If you are one of the millions of Americans that want to buy a reliable car under $5000, here are five makes and models that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Honda Accord

Most Reliable Used Cars Under 5000 - Accord

Reliable Pick: '02 Honda Accord

The classic family workhorse car is always a prized jewel on the used car market. The Accord brand was created in 1976 and every model made after 1985 is considered a reliable automobile. The 2.0L engine coupled with a standard 4-speed automatic transmission give the Accord a smooth ride and a bit of acceleration when necessary. Smart buyers look for models less than 15 years old and under 200,000 miles.  This is probably your best bet for a good, dependable, reliable $5000 used car.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Cherokee was the quintessential 4x4 of the 1990s, a rectangular beast that obviously lacks the modern amenities of the office-on-wheels SUVs of today, but has a lifespan that makes a sea turtle jealous. Easily the classiest and most powerful used SUV that can be purchased for under $5,000.

Honda Civic

Most Reliable Used Cars Under 5000 - Civic

Reliable Pick: '02 Honda Civic

Honda’s second entry on the top five list is another deserving one, as the Honda Civic is a reliable, stylish, and affordable choice for anyone in the market for a reliable used car under 5000 bucks. While the civic isn’t as family-friendly as the Accord, as it is somewhat more compact, it is a perfect fit for a college student or someone who has recently relocated to a new city and is looking to keep their automotive expenses low.

Ford Mustang

Reliable Used Cars Under 5000 - Mustang

Reliable Pick: '03 Mustang

While convertible Mustangs from past decades should be avoided, the fourth generation of the Ford Mustang, which was sold from 1994-2004, is regarded as one of the finest works of American machinery in recent years. The standard V6 provides more than enough punch to get plenty of attention from the opposite sex, and in some unfortunate cases, law enforcement.  Just be sure to avoid the V8 models, as finding one of these for less than $5000 is more difficult -- particularly if you want a reliable model.

Volkswagen Golf

The smallish mileage-friendly 1990s stalwart is still in widespread use on the busy highways of big cities all over this fine country. Given that many can be purchased for substantially less than $5,000, the Volkswagen Golf could be the perfect choice for someone in need of reliable and affordable local transportation.

So that's our list of the most reliable cars under $5000.  Looking for something bigger, check out our picks for the best trucks under $5000.