News Culture

Here Are 5 Cars Under $5,000 Right Now: Atlanta

There are deep deals to be found all over America, including in the Peach State.
Craigslist / Photoshop

Last week The Garage launched a new series called 5 Under 5 that highlights five cars listed for less than $5,000. The first batch was set in Los Angeles, while the second bunch came from the middle of the country in Des Moines. As the used car market continues its wacky high-priced ways, these posts will demonstrate that $5,000 cars do exist, just maybe not in the same way that car buyers from the past are used to.

As a bonus, 5 Under 5 will also show how different car markets around the country vary. Some might be flush with great cars at this price point, while others might be more sparse. Regardless of the stock, these posts aim to provide examples of multiple types of car, from what look like good daily drivers to projects that might deserve investment.

Here are five cars I found after doing some perusing. I made the center of my search downtown Atlanta, and included Sandy Springs to the north and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to the south in its radius. Some of the following are not too far outside of it, like Morrow and Stone Mountain, which are no more than 25 miles away—it’s a big metro area. Be advised: We don’t know these sellers and haven’t seen any of these cars in person. We’re just sharing them based on what’s apparent in the ad, so break out your wallet at your own risk.

The Family Hauler: 2007 Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey
  • Price: $4,338
  • Miles: 209,665
  • Link

Who doesn’t appreciate a Honda Odyssey of yore? Especially in this neat dark purple color, which is fitting for a member of reliable minivan royalty. This one’s done a little over 200,000, and after what looks like a recent overall detailing, the interior looks pretty darn clean, which is frankly a miracle. Lord knows these things’ interiors get thrashed at the hands of children. From sticky candy wrappers to topped-over ice cream cones and car sickness nightmares, it’s hard to find a van interior that’s in this good of shape. 

As far as mileage and mechanical condition, these things generally don’t have any major issues, but as always, any indication of regular servicing should be requested. It’s also nice of the owner to take a photo of when the timing belt was replaced, but if it was in their hands when this happened, it’s a tad concerning that they went way past 100,000 miles to have this done. After some quick research, it seems like the Honda J35 should have its timing belt done every 105,000 miles or seven years, whichever comes first.

The Collector’s Choice: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker

1989 Chrysler New Yorker
  • Price: $2,900
  • Miles: 57,234
  • Link (editor’s note 8/20/22: looks like this one expired/was changed day of publishing)

For those in search of some solid Radwood potential that could double as a comfortable runabout, feast your eyes upon this glorious Chrysler C body: a late ’80s New Yorker.

That interior, those seats! There’s a good chance this pristine creation with a Landau roof was owned by an elderly member of society, thus the very low mileage on its clock. It might be a part of ’80s C bodies that talk to its occupants, too—if it is, what a time machine.

Under its hood is either a 3.0-liter or 3.4-liter V6, and 1989 marked the New Yorker’s 50th anniversary. It doesn’t seem like this generation had much for major issues, though it might be tough to find certain replacement parts due to its age.

The Economical Daily: 2007 Toyota Corolla

2007 Toyota Corolla
  • Price: $4,500
  • Mileage: 141,000
  • Link

I love this generation Toyota Corolla. I’ve had the pleasure of driving my girlfriend’s 2004 model year example around, and it’s a great driver for what it is. They’re very simple, easy to work on, get great gas mileage, and are immensely reliable. They don’t really require much in terms of service intervals, either, just change the oil, keep an eye on things, and follow their very basic, no-frills intervals.

Their issues are minor, such as mild oil leaks that are hard to get to under the hood and poor-quality paint jobs. I imagine rust could be an issue in any region of the country that sees it, too.

This 2007 model year has done just 141,000 miles, which is still very young for these hearty engines. Some areas of the body don’t look amazing, but at least it appears to have most of its clear coat. The interior looks generally clean, too, and if the A/C indeed works, the future owner will be ready to go.

Work Truck Potential: 2002 Ford Explorer

2002 Ford Explorer
  • Price: $4,800
  • Mileage: 124,000
  • Link

Originally, I was in search of a sturdy do-it-all pickup truck to fit into this category, but at the time of my search I couldn’t find much that was worthwhile.

With that, this could be a decent alternative, especially if one were to drop or remove the rear seats. This Ford Explorer dates back to just after the Blue Oval’s Ford Country days, and I don’t think Georgia native Alan Jackson would be ashamed to drive around in this rig.

Or, rock this four-door as a big, safe family hauler. It is the V6-equipped trim, so it’s no hotrod or tow monster, but at least the description indicates that it’s been taken care of. Still, it’s worth asking for service documentation and giving it a good inspection and test drive, as these things aren’t exactly built Ford tough. The body has some issues, but the price still seems like a fair starting point.

The Enthusiast’s Project: 2002 Audi A4 Wagon

An Audi A4 Avant
  • Price: $3,000
  • Mileage: 125,000
  • Link

I decided to save this B6 Audi wagon, er, excuse me Avant for last, because it is by far the best. Or, rather, the one that I’d totally go scope out today if I were local. These aren’t very common, and it’s got the best engine/drivetrain combination of its non-S generation: the turbocharged 1.8T 20v engine with three pedals and Quattro all-wheel drive. Real Quattro, too, not a Haldex-type system.

This one’s a project for sure, as it needs some work regarding the status of its catalytic converter and body work. If the cat is dead, that could indicate some issues upstream. It’s important that these are taken care of, including a timing belt job well before 100,000 miles, otherwise some major issues could pop up. By the look of it sitting on Mk5 GTI wheels and perhaps lowered, it looks like it’s been enthusiast-owned, which is a good sign.

But above all, this early aughts example of Vorsprung durch Technik could be transformed into a great track sled. Not much beats witnessing someone wheel a wagon at the limit in a controlled environment. Clean it up, freshen up the suspension, give it a decent boost in power via ECU tuning and intake/exhaust mods, throw on some decent tires and brakes, and go pay a visit to Atlanta Motorsports Park. Driving it on track would be one of those rare instances where I’d pray for rain—this thing could produce some epic, all-wheel-drive slides that would put a smile on Walter Rörhl’s face.