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Best Vehicle Under $5,000

 
Old 04-12-19, 12:45 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by MattyG View Post
Couple of suggestions to add to the thread:

2008 - 2010 Audi A4 Quattro. Checks most of the boxes, with side curtain airbags and stability control system. Reliability though is a bit so-so. Might be over $5K though.

2006 - 2010 Subaru Legacy. Just like the A4. AWD, airbags galore, but stability control was optional. Ok buy, but watch out for head gasket issues/service.

These two got good ratings with IIHS tests.
Thanks Matt, those are some great suggestions. The Subaru Legacy looks really good to me. I feel like subaru in general has a good reputation when it comes to safety. I like that they all come with really good AWD too.
The Audi kinda scares me with cost of repairs. I'm leaning away from luxury anything. I noticed they jack up the parts prices because it says Lexus instead of Toyota. I feel like the luxury brands really try to squeeze you on parts/ repairs. Didn't like that feeling. But again, it won't be driven much, so could work.
Really appreciate the suggestions!
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Old 04-12-19, 02:22 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by 14RX350 View Post
Thanks Matt, those are some great suggestions. The Subaru Legacy looks really good to me. I feel like subaru in general has a good reputation when it comes to safety. I like that they all come with really good AWD too.
The Audi kinda scares me with cost of repairs. I'm leaning away from luxury anything. I noticed they jack up the parts prices because it says Lexus instead of Toyota. I feel like the luxury brands really try to squeeze you on parts/ repairs. Didn't like that feeling. But again, it won't be driven much, so could work.
Really appreciate the suggestions!
Yeah I don't blame you with the Audi. It's a great ride and handling combination but they are very problematic in later years out of warranty. The Subaru Legacy or its slightly higher riding Outback cousin are great choices as long as you know that the head gasket issue has been addressed with a better aftermarket gasket and full service. Up to 09 they were known for this.

But the big plus is it's a very light vehicle so it handles really well yet still has great safety. The 09s and prior might come down to the $5K number.
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Old 04-12-19, 06:59 PM
  #33  
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The beautiful thing about my 2002 ES is that nearly every part on it that will fail or need replaced at some point, it shares with the Camry V6. Everything from wheel bearings to an entire auto trans can be yanked out of a V6 camry and installed right on my car.

That cheapens things up quite a bit. I am coming up fast on 200k, and this might very well be the most reliable car I have ever owned. It always starts, and never quits until I shut it off. It does have catalytic converters in need of replacement, but thats from a life of 87 instead of premium fuel before I got it. I will replace them with aftermarket (probably pacesetter), because Lexus and Toyota want $900-$1,100 EACH for theirs. The Pacesetters are $350ish. Even if I have to replace them every 100k, no-brainer.
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Old 07-01-19, 12:03 PM
  #34  
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Just wanted to thank everyone fore their advice. I ended up purchasing a 2003 Lexus es300 for $2k. It has 200k miles but runs good. Needs a little work here and there, so I'm sure I'll be seeing you es300 owners over in that forum soon. Thanks again to everyone for the advice.
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Old 07-01-19, 12:24 PM
  #35  
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Smart choice. Great car for bargain basement price.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:35 AM
  #36  
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nice deal, congrats! post a pic or 2!

did you dump the RX yet?
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Old 07-03-19, 11:42 AM
  #37  
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We have an 02 ES300 in the family and it's been absolutely bulletproof. The only annoying thing is the transmission can be jerky at times, but beyond that it's been a great car.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:20 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
For safety alone....in a new vehicle, probably with entry-level Volvo and Mercedes products. I say "entry-level" vehicles in those two brands because, while both are well-known for their safety engineering, upper-level versions can be quite expensive, and well past the Law of Diminishing Returns for more money spent on a vehicle. However, most vehicles (and brands of vehicles), today, even lower-priced brands like Kia and Hyundai, offer a lot of safety-engineering in general.....both the U.S. government and consumers demand it.

For a used vehicle 5K or below, again I'd say Volvo or Mercedes, although either one would be quite old, you will likely run into reliability problems......and Mercedes parts can be quite expensive.
A used Mercedes for 5K is a BIG mistake. Giving away a used Mercedes worth 5K is a smarter move than buying one.
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Old 07-03-19, 06:35 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by 14RX350 View Post
Just wanted to thank everyone fore their advice. I ended up purchasing a 2003 Lexus es300 for $2k. It has 200k miles but runs good. Needs a little work here and there, so I'm sure I'll be seeing you es300 owners over in that forum soon. Thanks again to everyone for the advice.
Woot congrats! The 4th generation ES was arguably the best interior ever on an ES from a material and quality standpoint. Everything was assembled like a Swiss watch


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Old 07-03-19, 07:00 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Kennyr44 View Post
A used Mercedes for 5K is a BIG mistake. Giving away a used Mercedes worth 5K is a smarter move than buying one.

From a reliability-risk standpoint, I agree. But the OP said safety was a significant concern.....there, in general, you can't beat Volvo and Mercedes.
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Old 07-03-19, 07:05 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by 14RX350 View Post
Just wanted to thank everyone fore their advice. I ended up purchasing a 2003 Lexus es300 for $2k. It has 200k miles but runs good. Needs a little work here and there, so I'm sure I'll be seeing you es300 owners over in that forum soon. Thanks again to everyone for the advice.

Congratulations. Great car. Best ES model ever produced, IMO. The only issue I know of is ECU programming for the engine/transmission that sometimes gives hesitation and/or bumpy shifts. Oh, and it can sometimes be difficult to remove the film on those large plastic headlight covers if or when they cloud up with age.
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Old 07-05-19, 05:21 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Kennyr44 View Post
A used Mercedes for 5K is a BIG mistake. Giving away a used Mercedes worth 5K is a smarter move than buying one.
My first car was an '04 e class that I later sold for $4k and that thing was bulletproof. Never had a single problem and sold it at about 200,000 miles because the suspension was shot and it would cost more to replace the suspension then what the car was worth. So whoever picked that up after me basically stole that car
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Old 07-08-19, 03:47 PM
  #43  
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Thanks for the response everyone.
I had a 2004 Camry that I loved, but when I looked into purchasing it again I realized the side safety rating on that generation was bad... But the ES of that year has side airbags. So I feel like I got my Camry back, just better and safer.
I just took the pics yesterday for selling the RX. Working on putting the listing together. The shifting on the RX wasn't great, so I feel like the ES is no worse. I saw in the ES maintenance history that the trans fluid had been changed a few times and the reprogram had been done. Plan on changing the fluid again too, but already pretty happy with how it shifts overall.
I took some pics. Keep in mind I haven't touched it, so I think after a weekend of detailing it will be looking like new. I measured the paint thickness and it's the same as the RX, so seems like it's holding up well. Leather looks better than the RX. I probably wouldn't be so hard on the RX if it wasn't so much newer and more expensive. I guess I just didn't feel it was worth the cost.
I'm pretty happy with the ES so far and feel like I got a lot for my money. I loved seeing the manual and it saying "the relentless pursuit of perfection"... That's the Lexus I wanted!

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Old 07-08-19, 03:55 PM
  #44  
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high quality interior. seats looks worn to be expected, but no panel gaps, materials are top notch
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Old 07-08-19, 03:59 PM
  #45  
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Good choice!

I have a 2003 ES300 still in the family. I bought it new in 2003 and gave it to my aunt in 2010, it had 163k on it. Its just over 200k and its been an excellent car. Very well built and reliable, tons of car for $2k!
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