Last week, Garage launched a new line called 5 Under 5, which highlights five cars listed for less than $5,000. The first group was formed in Los Angeles, while the second group came from the middle of the country from Des Moines. As the used car market continues on its insanely high-priced ways, these posts will show that $5,000 cars exist, perhaps not in the way car buyers from the past are used to.
As a bonus, 5 Under-5 will also show how different the different car markets around the country are. Some may be in line with great cars at this price point, while others may be less frequent. Regardless of stock, these posts aim to provide a multitude of examples of car types, from those that look like good everyday drivers to projects that may deserve an investment.
Here are five cars I found after some digging. I centered my search in downtown Atlanta and included Sandy Springs in the north and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the south in its radius. Some of the following are not too far away, like Morrow and Stone Mountain, which are no more than 25 miles away—it’s a major metro area. Be warned: we don’t know these dealers and have not seen any of these cars in person. We only share them based on what appears in the ad, so distribute your wallet at your own risk.
Family Carrier: 2007 Honda Odyssey
- Price: $4,338
- Shaft: 209,665
Who doesn’t appreciate an old Honda Odyssey? Especially suitable for a trusty minivan royal, this neat deep purple color. It’s been done just over 200,000 and after a recent general refinement the interior looks pretty clean, which is frankly a miracle. God knows, the insides of these things fall apart at the hands of children. From sticky candy wrappers to top ice cream cones to nightmares of motion sickness, it’s hard to find a van interior in this good condition.
When it comes to mileage and mechanical condition these usually have no major issues, but as always, any indication of regular service should be requested. It’s also nice for the owner to take a picture of when the timing belt was replaced, but if they have it when it does, it’s a little worrying that they’ve gone over 100,000 miles to do it. After some quick research, it turns out that the Honda J35’s timing belt should be done every 105,000 miles or seven years, whichever comes first.
Collector’s Choice: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker
- Price: $2,900
- Shaft: 57,234
Link (editor’s note 8/20/22: it looks like this has expired/changed on release day)
For those looking for solid Radwood potential that can double as a comfortable running vehicle, feast your eyes on this majestic Chrysler C body: a late ’80s New Yorker.
That interior, those seats! This pristine creation with a Landau roof is likely to belong to an older member of society, so it has very low mileage. It could be part of 80s C-bodies that also speak to those sitting in it – if so, what time machine.
Under its hood is either a 3.0-liter or 3.4-liter V6, and 1989 marked the 50th anniversary of the New Yorker. While some spare parts are hard to find due to its age, this generation doesn’t seem to have any major issues.
Economic Diary: 2007 Toyota Corolla
- Price: $4,500
- kilometer: 141.000
I love this generation Toyota Corolla. I enjoyed driving my girlfriend’s 2004 model year example and it’s a great driver for what it is. They’re very simple, easy to work with, achieve great gas mileage, and are extremely reliable. They don’t require much in terms of service intervals either, just change the oil, watch out for things and follow their very simple, no-frills intervals.
Problems like light oil leaks and poor quality paint jobs that are hard to get under the hood are minor. I imagine rust can also be an issue in any part of the country that sees it.
This 2007 model year did just 141,000 miles, which is still too young for these hearty engines. Some areas of the body don’t look great, but at least it looks like it has most of its sheer coat. The interior also looks clean overall, and if the air conditioner really works, the future owner will be ready to go.
Work Truck Potential: 2002 Ford Explorer
- Price: $4,800
- kilometer: 124.000
Initially, I was looking for a solid, do-it-all pickup truck in this category, but when I searched I didn’t find much worth it.
However, this can be a good alternative, especially if the rear seats are lowered or removed. This Ford Explorer dates back to just after the Ford Country days of the Blue Oval, and I don’t think Georgia’s Alan Jackson would be embarrassed to walk around in this rig.
Or rock this four-door as a large, secure family transporter. It’s a V6-equipped rig so no hotrod or beast in tow, but at least the description indicates it’s taken care of. Still, it’s worth asking for service documentation and giving it a good inspection and test drive, as they aren’t exactly Ford-proofed. The body has some issues, but the price still seems like a fair starting point.
Enthusiast’s Project: 2002 Audi A4 Wagon
- Price: $3,000
- kilometer: 125,000
I’ve decided to save this B6 Audi wagon, sorry avant Finally, because it is by far the best. Or rather, if I were local I would be completely out of scope today. These are not very common and have the best engine/powertrain combination of the non-S generation: a three-pedal turbocharged 1.8T 20v engine and Quattro all-wheel drive. Real Quattro is not a Haldex type system either.
This is definitely a project, as it needs some work on the condition of its catalytic converter and body operation. If the cat is dead, this may indicate some problems upstream. It’s important that these are taken care of, including a timing belt job well before 100,000 miles, otherwise some major issues may arise. Sitting on Mk5 GTI wheels and perhaps with a lowered appearance, it looks like it belongs to the enthusiast, which is a good sign.
But best of all, this early example from Vorsprung durch Technik can be turned into a great track sled. Witnessing someone driving a car to the limit in a controlled environment is not a good thing. Clean it, freshen up the suspension, get a good boost in power with ECU tuning and intake/exhaust mods, put on good tires and brakes, and visit Atlanta Motorsports Park. Driving on the track would be one of those rare occasions where I prayed for rain – this thing can produce epic, all-wheel drive slides that will put a smile on Walter Rörhl’s face.