Used car for 5 grand?

rohit.rv200

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Ford focus
Arrrrg!!! its so difficult buying a good used car around here. Here is my story, I bought a well worn focus when I first came to the country, costed a little more that 2 grand, and about 15K miles later it finally died on me. needs a new engine :cry: so I decided to look for a another car(now that im working) for about $10K and found a tidy 2002 328ci stick shift for about that much, but I cant finance because my visa expires in a year (even though I can extend this for a further 6 years) :cry: and now im forced to get some thing for 5 grand. here is the list im presently looking at

2001 Audi A4 2.8
2004 Ford Focus
2002 Mercury Cougar

Can anybody think about anything else to buy? my head is spinning looking at autotrader and craigslist...... If I find a car I like it wont have a manual trans, if I find one with a manual, it usually has more that 100K miles. Am I being too picky?
 

Runs_And_Drives

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I had to find a car for ~5-grand when I was purchasing my second car. There is a LOT out there for the money, but tons of it is junk.

I ended up finding an '01 Hyundai Elantra with 67,000 miles on it, and bought it because it was the lowest mileage vehicle with all the equipment I wanted at the time (4 doors, power windows & locks, cruise control, CD-player). Every manual I found was either higher in mileage, or to beat to hell.

But then again, I was impatient. If you give yourself a solid two weeks and don't let anyone pressure you into buying a car ("I've got someone else looking at the car in an hour, and they will buy it if you don't..."). Also, use Craigslist! Buying from a private party saves a LOT over buying from a dealer, just make sure you have the thing inspected before finalizing the deal.

A quick skim of my area's listings yielded this, a '98 Civic hatch (the cool looking one) with a manual and apparently up-to-date maintenance, for ~4k... though no miles listed.
 

argatoga

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'96-'98 Mustang GT


'95-'97 XJ6


'91-'96 MR2


'89-'97 Miata
 
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rohit.rv200

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Ford focus
Thanks guys the Mustang and the Miata look really interesting, I probably have to widen my search a bit, How reliable are cars over 10 years old? I mean I dont want to end up getting a money pit... my maintenance on the 01 focus was on average about $400 every 3 months.
 

argatoga

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Miatas and Mustangs are solid cars. The 4.6L V8 Ford used is nearly indestructible. My '97 held up well. My heater core did decided to leak however, which is pricy if you want to fix it and not by pass the thing.
 

Der Stig

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For $5k, I'd go for a:

pre-'95 W124 300E.


W201 190E (you can even find some manuals)


Lexus LS400


E30 325i


I second the X300 Jaguar and the Miata.
 

LeVeL

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For fun - Miata, hands down. Followed by the E30.
For practicality - Civic or Accord, hands down.
 

rohit.rv200

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Ford focus
I love old BMWs the 70s BMW 2002 is on my list of cars to buy someday, the E30 BMWs as well have reached the point where they can be called modern classics, so any buyer has to think quite a lot before actually buying one. The fact of the matter is its only time before we see these appreciating in value the 190E included.( should keep that in mind for my second car a few years down the line :) ) im leaning toward something more reliable right now, and the my guess is the miata is also pretty reliable. should find a decent one thats it.
 

Dr_Grip

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Crown Victoria PI?
 

MWF

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Dammit argatoga beat me to it on the Miata, but that would be my choice. Not sure of values over there but at current exchange rates my 2002 NB model is probably worth around your budget over here.
 

JCE

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I second the Mustang and Crown Vic P71 Police Interceptor. Another car awesome for $5,000 is a Nissan Maxima of any year. Also check on older Ford Contour V6's, cheap and quick.
 

Bad Bowtie

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For 5k, I wouldn't be looking at an Audi, probably in bad shape for that cheap. Civic, Focus, Corolla all for gas savers. Plenty of good stuff to be had, just gotta make sure you are thorough with test drives and inspections.
 

CLIK92

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I agree with DerStig, those cars aren't typically beat on (but that varies). E30s from what I see sometimes are beat on (people around my age racing around, etc). W124's will last a while, one of the most solid built Benz's old there. I'd suggest a W126 if you were considering the LS400 (but the LS400 is a nice car).
 

rohit.rv200

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Im looking at a 96 Miata tomorrow with around 88K miles on it, :) $5900 so need him to come down to budget , The Crown Vic is good but where I stay getting parking for such a huge car would be really problematic.... Craigslist has a few benzes but some how dont feel too comfortable getting such an old German. still thinking about it though :)

@JCE would a focus svt for about $6K with 111K miles on it be a good buy?
 

JCE

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@JCE would a focus svt for about $6K with 111K miles on it be a good buy?
Actually no, stay away from the SVT Focus. It's a nightmare for reliability. Only buy if it has less than 30k miles...and even then I wouldn't do it. If you have the money to spend throughout the year for maintenance then do it. Fun to drive yes, reliable no.
 

devil500

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Why not just replace the motor in the Focus? They aren't that expensive and you'll have money left over for sure.
 

Cobol74

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Rule of thumb here (well mine) - Jap & German OK - everything else: must have low, low milage for age (no more than 5,000 per annum) and dealer serviced before consideration for that sort of money and probable age of car - assumes 1GBP = 1USD for purchasing power.
 

rohit.rv200

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Why not just replace the motor in the Focus? They aren't that expensive and you'll have money left over for sure.
The engine is not the only problem, everything was knackered when I got it, brakes, front right suspension , power windows, stereo.. will take a lot to fix every thing up, might as well part it out at this point.
 

GaryC

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I support Japanese. They're well built to begin with but don't start off at that high a price compared to German cars. So they'll probably be better.

And, expectedly, Miatas all the way. Not very practical, though. So if you like to go out with more than 1 friend or put lots of stuff in the boot, then the Miata might not work. (I forced it to work :p)
 
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