#buy cheap cars
20 budget cars under $4,000 for students
The college student budget is stretched thinner than ever with rent, tuition, books, meal plans and beer soda expenses. Students with jobs usually only work part time and barely earn more than minimum wage. There are options, however, like negotiating a better price or financing. But remember on cars under $5,000 there isn t a ton of margin for anyone to make a profit and most dealers don t finance the ultra-cheap rides.
MojoMotors.com has compiled some of the best used cars that serve the needs of every type of college student, including the environmentalist, musician, outdoorsy-types, the free spirit, overachievers, couples, future financial analysts, engineering majors, hipsters and soul-searchers. So even if that new car smell is long gone and the odometer is closer to 200k than 100k, these are the trusty companions we recommend most during the best four years of your life. And if you re a little further down the road of life, check out our best cars for families under $5,000.
Year Range: 1989-2001
MPG (City/Highway): 37/46
Why: The Metro is the butt of many jokes, but there s nothing comical about its fuel efficiency. The 3 cylinder engine achieves gas mileage that rivals new hybrids. The Metro comes in a variety of body styles including a hatchback, four-door sedan and even a convertible.
When shopping for a Metro keep in mind that 1989 to 1997 models are under the Geo brand and 1998 to 2001 models are Chevrolets, thus horsepower and mileage can range. The Metro has proven itself to be one of the greatest econo-cars ever built. Best of all, your Green Peace bumper sticker will look fantastic on the back.
Price: $1000-2000. The Metro s popularity tends to increase when gas prices go up, hence the range in a Metro s price.
Year Range: 2001-2006
MPG (City/Highway): 61/68
Why: The Honda Insight was ahead of its time, becoming the first hybrid on the market, preceding the Toyota Prius by 7 months. The body is designed to reduce drag and built out of aluminum to save weight (it won t rust). A quick search yields a decent amount of 2001 Insights available for under $4,000. They re incredibly reliable (after all, its a Honda) and its not uncommon to see one with 200k+ miles.
Price: $4,000. It s the most expensive car on this list, but remember, it s a hybrid so you want to get one that s been well maintained with the fewest miles possible. Your savings will arrive at the pump.
Year Range: 1996-2003
MPG (City/Highway): 16/22
Why: The Ford Explorer was the poster child of the SUV surge, but as gas prices went up, soccer moms found more efficient alternatives. Gas prices seem to have leveled off, making the Explorer a great option for a college student with a lot to haul. It ll fit your drums, guitars, amps and still have room for groupies.
Price: $1500-3000. The great thing about the Ford Explorer is that you can find one that fits almost any budget. A mid-to-late 90 s model will cost around $1500 in reasonable condition. For $3000, you can get an Explorer from the early 2000 s that still looks fairly modern.
Year Range: 1998-2003
MPG (City/Highway): 20/24
Why: Minivans may not be the coolest thing to be seen in around campus, but Dodge Grand Caravans are cheap and plentiful. You may just end up being the most popular person on moving day. If you re up to sacrificing some reputation points to get a better car for your money, the Caravan is the way to go.
Many Caravans were family owned and properly maintained so its not hard to find an older model in good condition, crayon stains aside. The Dodge Caravan is also a great option if you like DD ing for your friends when they re too inebriated to remember their major. Call it the baller family hauler.