The Most Fun Used Cars You Can Buy for Under $5000

These cars prove you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

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BMW

Just because you don't want to spend a lot of money on a car, doesn't mean you have to buy something boring. Here are the most fun new cars you can buy for less that $5000, according to you.

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BMW
BMW 3-Series (E30)

Though prices are on the rise, it's still easy to find a good E30-generation 3-Series for under $5000. That kind of money can get you a ratty 325is, or a four-cylinder 318i in good condition. Just be on the watch for rust, however.

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Honda
Honda CR-X Si

While your chance to pick up an Integra Type R for cheap have long since past, there are still other fun small FWD Hondas out there for little money. The lightweight two-seater CRX Si is a perfect example.

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Mazda
Mazda MX-5 Miata

When talking about cheap fun cars, it's hard not to mention the Miata. First- and second-generation MX-5s can easily be found for under five grand, and for that price, you're getting one of the best, most smile-inducing driving experiences on earth.

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BMW
BMW 3-Series (E36)

If the E30 is a bit too old for your tastes, consider its successor, the E36. Pretty much any non-M3 versions can be found under budget, whether you want a strong inline-six or a frugal four-banger.

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Subaru
Subaru WRX

If you need a cheap performance car that can plow through any terrain, the bugeye WRX is the car for the job. With a turbocharged boxer-four, it shouldn't have any trouble muscling through the toughest of blizzards.

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Chevrolet
Chevrolet Corvette (C4)

Because many people think the C4 is the "worst" Corvette, there are many deals to be had on them. Sure, you won't find a late-production six-speed for under $5000, but early cars can be had within budget fairly easily.

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The standard 944 might actually be the better car, but adding a turbocharger definitely made the 944 faster. In fact, the 944 Turbo is fast enough that it'll run all the way up to 157 mph. Finding deals on these can be harder than some of the other cars on the list, but a smart buyer can pick one up for around $10,000.
Porsche
Porsche 944

If brand image is what you're after, there's no better cheap car than the Porsche 944. Though it may not be rear-engined, it still drives like a Porsche, and has the same wonderful build quality.

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Toyota
Toyota MR2

Whether you're looking for a first-, second-, or third-generation MR2 to add to your garage, you won't have much trouble finding one for under budget. We think the sweet spot is the second-gen SW20 model shown here.

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Suzuki
Suzuki Cappuccino

The rear-wheel drive Cappuccino Kei car was never officially sold in the US, but thanks to our 25-year import law, they can now be imported into the country. There aren't many to be found under $5000, but there are some.

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Chevrolet
Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (Fourth-Gen)

If the Corvette isn't really your thing, maybe you'll like the Camaro Z28. It has a totally different look, but packs a Corvette-sourced LT1 V8 under the hood.

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Subaru
Subaru Impreza 2.5RS

Unlike the WRX, the Impreza 2.5RS does not come with a turbocharged engine. What it does have, however, are much cooler looks, a lighter curb weight, and a rear locking differential.

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Porsche
Porsche Boxster (986)

Though it may be tough to find a first-gen Boxster under five grand, they're out there. Thanks to its mid-engine layout and flat-six engine, it's one of the most capable cars on this list. The only thing you'll have to deal with are the questionable looks.

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Chrysler
Chrysler Conquest TSi / Mitsubishi Starion

The Conquest TSi (also know as the Starion) packs a turbocharged engine under the hood, and like the similarly-styled 944, puts its power to the rear wheels. They're a little tough to find for sale, but when they do pop up, prices hover around $5000, for the most part.

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Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz SLK230

Believe it or not, the first-gen SLK has depreciated under the $5000-mark. They can easily be found for under budget on Craigslist—though finding one with a manual transmission may be a bit tougher.

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Honda
Honda Civic Si (EP3)

People seem to forget about the Civic Si hatch of the early 2000s, and we can't see a reason why. Prices are cheap, and for your money you get a fun, manual hot hatch with Honda reliability and massive aftermarket support.

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Mazda
Mazda RX-7 (FB or FC)

You won't find the gorgeous third-generation twin-turbo RX-7 for under $5000. You'd struggle to find one for under $10,000, but you can get naturally aspirated versions of the first two generations for under $5000. Its rotary engine can be tricky to maintain, but it's so cool, you might not care.

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