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6 great daily drivers for $2500–$5000


#1

Automakers sold more than 17.2 million cars in the United States last year, and by last month the average price of a new ride was $37,149. That’s a lot of dough. If you can afford it, great. But what if you’re like me and can’t?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/13/6-great-cars-under-5k

#2

If you are a fan of the Crown Vic/Merc Marquis, sometimes you can get the decommissioned police versions of these vehicles. Especially interesting if you are interested in speed.

Kyle


#3

I’m surprised Corolla got picked as the compact to get in this group. I figure the Ford Focus, Mazda Protege, or Honda Civic of the era would be a more enthusiast-friendly choice.

I never drove that particular generation of Corolla but I drove the ones before and after and I thought both had a sort of ‘disconnected’ feel, like they were aiming for the driving dynamics of a traditional American car. I had an Escort at the time and it was much better sorted.


#4

6-speed, v-6 equipped Accords certainly werent slow. 14 second 1/4 miles and a near 140mph top speed are nothing to sneeze at. Especially 10+ years ago.


#5

Agreed, the Civic or MSP Protege would have been better options.


#6

I’ll add to the list the Mk4 (4th-generation) Volkswagen Golf, offered from 1997 to 2004. A year ago I bought a 2002 GLS, 2.0L, manual, red over black, for $2900, with 118K miles. I’ve had to replace suspension components, plugs & wires, front brakes, and the AC compressor, but all-in it’s been a great car for about $5K or $6K, and someone who is mechanically inclined could have done all that work for far less than I paid a shop.


#7

I bought an 03 Corolla brand new and drove it for 14 years and 187,000 miles. The A/C quit working the last year I owned it, but other than that it was an incredibly reliable car. When I decided to get rid of it, I listed it on LetGo and sold it in 45 minutes for $2,000. My original asking price was $2,500, but a 17 year-old kid came to my house with his dad to buy his first car. Maybe I’m just a softy, but the excitement that kid had for my old Corolla brought me back to the day I bought my first car - a 73 Lesabre 4-door hardtop for $900.


#8

I would add the late 90’s/early 2000’s Buick Century and LeSabre to the list. You can still find quite a few of them with under 100k miles, and most were driven gently and properly maintained by their senior citizen owners.


#9

I would add the Cobalt SS and '05-'10 Grand Cherokee to this list. You can still find both for reasonable prices. This might sound strange, but the Cobalt is the one car I’ve spent time in that I enjoyed driving as much as my Dad’s 2002 BMW M3. The problem with the M3 is that I needed to be especially careful not to damage it. The Cobalt is a hoot, handles extremely well, get’s great mileage, and feels very solid for a small, inexpensive car. My friend’s son has one with some mods and it runs 12’s in quarter and you can drive it in the winter with snow tires.