Sometimes circumstances may just have us shopping for a new car because let’s face it, not everyone can afford a new car. And some parents are not willing to dish out cash to get their kids a spanking brand-new car. Like shopping for a new car, shopping for a used car can be overwhelming. But the task is a bit more tedious because you never know what to expect, and you could be buying yourself a cash cow that forces you to make several visits to your mechanic’s shop. Having a budget of $7,000 is also a limit, especially when you are hoping to get a car that is reliable and looks good on the inside.
Luckily, there are some brands that are reputed to deliver value for money, even on their used cars. You just have to be patient, do a lot of research and hope for the best. For $7,000 there are several vehicles that you can get; compact cars, full-sized sedan, SUVs and even pick-up trucks. For the price though, your vehicle is most likely going to be more than five years old. Below is our list of 24 used cars that you can get your hands on for under $7,000.
24 Ford Fusion
For under $7,000, you can get yourself a used 2010 Ford Fusion. Even brand new, the Fusion has a full score out of 5 for its reliability and it has a sporty handling. The car is also a midsized sedan that has enough room for both passengers and cargo. For your budget though, you may find yourself stuck with a six-speed manual transmission. But if you’re lucky, you may be able to score an automatic transmission. Whatever transmission you get, the car will still be a good buy.
23 Audi A3
Believe it or not, you can get your own piece of luxury used for under $7,000. The 2009 Audi A3 also received a full score for reliability and is featured in used hatchbacks under $10k.
This compact car has a bit of a new styling compared to previous models.
It also has all-wheel drivetrain with the base engine. Despite the age of the vehicle, you can still find a satellite radio and auxiliary input. A few modifications may also help to give you a new feel,
22 Saturn Outlook
While you can get a decent Saturn Outlook for under $7,000, you may want to check for parts availability and mechanics that can service the vehicle before you get it.
The 2009 version has three rows and could seat 8 passengers, hold cargo and offer a smooth ride.
It is one of the most affordable SUVs and has a full score for reliability. Unfortunately, the Saturn brand did not survive its post-topple turn-around, so owners may sell the vehicle for cheap.
21 Kia Rio
The Kia Rio may be a car that you may overlook, but for less than $7,000, you certainly can’t go wrong choosing the 2010-2013 models. Depending on the year you get, some cars may still be covered under the original factory warranty. The Rio gives you reliable performance and it can be found used in several trim levels. It is one of the few used cars that give you value for money. The Rio is also available as a hatchback or a sedan.
20 Ford Victoria Crown
You may have never heard of Ford having a Crown car because the Crown is usually Toyota’s domain right? The Crown Victoria is an American classic, but it has been discontinued in the US.
Despite it being discontinued, the car sells well used and you can get one of these for under $7,000.
The car has excellent interior space and it sits well on the road. Demand for the car may increase, so you should consider it while you can get it at a great price.
19 Mazda Protégé
The Protégé is a pretty neat car by Mazda that handles well and gives you good mileage on your tank. The car was initially available as a sedan or as a five-door hatchback that offered great utility. If you want a car that is practical, yet fun to drive, you may want to consider getting your hands on the 5. Despite its size, two large adults can fit comfortably in the rear seats, probably with a child in between them.
18 Toyota Tundra Standard Cab
The Tundra is probably the only pickup you’re going to see on this list because pickups generally have great resale value, so it may be impossible to find one younger than 2007 that is going to retail under $7,000.
The Tundra offers a used full-sized pickup that may be a bit of a Spartan.
It handles well and is very reliable giving you value for money with its V8 engine. In early models, such as the 2002 to 2007, the space in the rear may be a bit cramped.
17 Ford Escape
The Ford Escape new or used, is an excellent utility vehicle, and getting it under $7,000 used is a steal of a deal especially if you just need a used utility vehicle as a second car. The Escape is easy to drive, has sufficient room for groceries and passengers and isn’t a vehicle that is too heavy or too large. It gives you a comfortable ride and is one of the more popular SUVs produced by Ford. Owners of this vehicle once maintained, are able to keep it for years.
16 Scion xA
While we are not exactly sure what the Scion xA is supposed to be (car or SUV), the vehicle was obviously designed with value in mind. That value is realized when you get the xA as a used vehicle.
The xA is extremely comfortable and handles well for an economy car.
Though it is a pretty neat car, upgrading a customizing it when new was a bit pricey. If you shop wisely and search well, it is likely that you’ll find a car for your budget with good options.
15 Pontiac Vibe
The thing with Pontiac is that sometimes their vehicles can be a hit, or it can be a miss. In the case of the Vibe, it was a hit. While the car looked like a small SUV, Pontiac called it a small, tall wagon. If you get this car used, you inherit its fuel economy and its comfort. When it comes to your passengers’ space and cargo, the vibe has got you covered in that department. So, if you want a car that can be full of passengers and groceries, the Pontiac Vibe should be considered.
14 Toyota Corolla
The Corolla is arguably one of the best sedans that Toyota makes and continues to make well. You can get a variety of year models that are more than five years old for under $7,000.
The thing is Corollas have excellent resale value and the models are purpose-built for reliability, comfort, and value.
It is a car that you should always consider when on a budget, and a car that you consider when you don’t want to spend too much time at the mechanics.
13 Infiniti G20
Any Infiniti car that you can get for under $7,000 is either a steal of a deal or it is not a properly working car, especially since Infiniti is expected to be the luxury arm of Nissan. The G20 was an upscale reworking of the Nissan Sentra and has a lot of similar features. If you can get your hands on one of these you not only get a premium badge with more features but a car that has excellent handling and is good looking.
12 Honda Civic
People like the Honda Civic because it is a small, fast car that packs a lot of speed. Honda is also known to have produced some pretty reliable cars.
If you get a used Civic, you enjoy many years of trouble-free transportation.
You also benefit from a car that is quality made, and one that is fun to drive and more comfortable than cars in its class. You can get this car in several year models over five years old for under $7,000 in 2-d00r, 4-door or 5-door models.
11 Honda Fit
For under $7,000, you can get your hands on the 2012-2013 Honda Fit Hatchback. The car is one of the best to buy in the subcompact class. It is versatile and reliable. Despite its seemingly small size, it has a good amount of interior space and the rear seats can even be folded down for even more space. Two full-sized adults can be seated comfortably in the back seat. Don’t expect too many features in this model, but the car is still fun to drive.
10 Volkswagen Passat
The 2012-2013 Passat brings you the best of both worlds. It was designed specifically by VW for the American market, yet still, it boasted a European flair. It offers a smooth ride, roomy interior, and a large trunk.
To stay within your $7,000 budget, you will be limited to a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine.
V6 and diesel engines in this model are too expensive. Despite its seemingly cheap price, VW isn’t known to be very reliable. So, have your mechanic give the car a look.
9 Ford Focus
It is unfortunate that you can’t get the high-performance ST for your buck, but you can still get yourself the 2013-2014 version of the Ford Focus. The base version of the vehicle also promises a good blend of practicality, comfort, and fun and can be purchased as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. The hatch has a lot of cargo space and a sporty look to it. Both model though would give you a smooth controlled ride in sporty seats and come with a standard four-cylinder engine.
8 Toyota Prius
You probably would not expect to see the Prius on this list as it is the Ambassador for hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles. Even used, the 2010 Prius is under $7,000.
It is a mid-sized hatchback with the fuel economy of 50 miles per gallon.
It isn’t a fun car to drive in a traditional sense, but you benefit from the good performance and an adequate car. You should know, that a new battery for the car though, would cost you an arm and a leg.
7 Hyundai Elantra
The 2012-2013 Hyundai Elantra is a used compact that you may be keen to get your hands on. It is different from other cars in its class because of its elegant style, quiet interior and it gives a smooth yet comfortable ride. It isn’t sporty or fun to drive because it has a softer suspension and its engine isn’t a powerhouse. But the car is lightweight, so acceleration is not a problem. No car is perfect, but the Elantra has excellent fuel economy.
6 Honda Accord
Another great car that you can get for under $7,000 is the Honda Accord 2009-2010 sedan. This sedan has a smooth ride and athletic look.
Unlike the 2007 version, this car is a 4-door one and has an interior that uses high-quality materials to give it a luxurious feel.
The car has plenty of room and comfortable seats, though the headroom in the rear may be a bit restrictive for taller persons. There are a lot of trims available, so look for the one that falls within your budget.
5 Nissan Leaf
If you want a green used car, you ought to consider the Nissan Leaf. The leaf is the mascot for all compact electric cars. It should be at the top of your list if you want to get a used electric vehicle for under $7,000. The Leaf is an ordinary hatchback that has a quiet interior and enough room to accommodate five people, though they may be a bit cramped. The car is a compact one, so you shouldn’t expect cargo space to be all that great either.
4 Mazda Miata
The 2007-2008 Mazda Miata offers a sports car under $7,000 that is more than a decade old. This two-seat sports car may not have been the most-loved car of its time.
Despite it not being the most popular year model, the car as excellent handling.
Its acceleration isn’t spectacular because it has a four-cylinder engine that encourages you to speed through corners a bit. Lowering the top of the convertible also has to be done manually. If getting it used, consider the manual transmission.
3 Toyota Avalon
When looking for a used full-sized vehicle under $7,000, you should not overlook the 2008-2009 Toyota Avalon. We agree that the exterior may be a bit bland, but the interior is a bit more tasteful as it is roomy and quiet. Five adults can fit comfortably in the car without too much complaint. In true Toyota fashion, the suspension is excellent, so you won’t feel the worst of bumps much. It isn’t the most sporty car on the list, but it is a good car to drive.
2 Subaru Legacy
Well, surprise to you! You can get this fun mid-sized car to drive in its 2010-2011 version for under $7,000. Thanks to its all-wheel-drive system, you can drive this car in a variety of weather conditions and not worry about how it would handle. The car offers fuel economy and a CVT. The seats are comfortable, the interior roomy and the trunk has ample cargo space. The ride can be a bit firm but it isn’t overly harsh or uncomfortable.
1 Suzuki Swift
The Suzuki Swift is one of Suzuki’s smallest cars to grace the market and has been in production since 1983 and is classified as a supermini car.
For under $7,000, you would have to get your hands on one of the models produced between 2008 and 2013.
The Swift Sport will not fall within your budget range. The car may be small, but it is fun to drive and you may be able to purchase it in the front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive train.
Sources: kbb.com, cars.usnews.com, autobytel.com