What if I told you you could have a Lamborghini for under $10,000? Well, then I would be lying. But there is some good news. There are some seriously awesome cars that actually could be yours for under $10,000! I’m talking reliable, fun, and capable rides that won’t leave you bankrupt.
So, if you’re looking for a solid, all-around car to keep you smiling behind the wheel, we got 7 of them coming up for you. These are 7 great cars for under $10,000!
2007 Audi A3 – Taste of the High Life
If you’re looking to hop into some premium German luxury for under $10,000, there’s no better option than the 2007 Audi A3. This spacious hatchback has room enough for all your gear and any friends you might want to bring road-tripping with you. And you’re guaranteed to be comfortable through your whole journey with the A3’s 19.5 feet of total cargo space, power driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, and standard leather seats.
Want to really get your chill on while you’re cruising down the highway? Engage that cruise control and play some soothing music through the 10-speaker sound system, or some head-banging heavy metal if that’s your thing. And this car’s safety features will definitely keep your mind at ease too, with its stability control, anti-lock brakes, and more airbags than you can count.
The 2-liter four-banger under the hood offers 200 horsepower, which isn’t exactly enough to dust supercars off the stoplight, but it’s definitely enough to have some fun with, especially when you opt for the six-speed manual transmission. Of course, Audi also offers the 2007 A3 with a Direct Shift automatic as well for those of you who want a slushbox for whatever reason.
A standard trim 2007 A3 will cost you as low as $7,000, like the example we found on AutoTempest with just over 80,000 miles. But if you’re looking for heightened performance, you could bump up to the Quattro trim and still probably stay under the $10,000 mark.
Want something with an even sportier feel that will get you and your enthusiast friends amped up? Then you might want to go with our next car, the 2012 Mazda3.
2012 Mazda Mazda3 – Zoom Zoom
For a car under $10,000, the 2012 Mazda3 offers some incredible driving dynamics that will make you feel like you picked up a luxury sports car. Offered in a total of 11 trims, there’s a Mazda3 out there for everyone. But, one thing they all have in common is razor-sharp handling and super solid fuel economy. That means you can zip around your city and forget all about the gas pump because you’re looking at 33 highway miles to the gallon in the base trim, and as high as 40 in the superior trims.
The 2012 Mazda3 comes in two different body styles: a sporty sedan or a hatchback, depending on what your priorities are, and you could even upgrade to a turbocharged Mazdaspeed3 with over 260 horsepower if you have a little more cash to throw around.
If you’re set on staying in a $10,000 budget, the base Mazda3 still has 148 horsepower, which, you know, isn’t great, but you still get that athletic handling that makes the 3 a blast to drive and some exterior styling which looks pretty good in my opinion.
We found a 2012 Mazda 3i Touring on AutoTempest that was basically brand new with only around 36,000 miles for under $10,000. Now that’s an ideal deal.
But, maybe you’re all about appearances, and that’s cool. Well, lucky for you, the next car looks like it should be worth somewhere in the six-figure range with that classy Mercedes star hood ornament.
2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class – CEO Style
When we talk about cheap cars that make you look rich, it’s hard to skip over Mercedes, because the German jaw-droppers are continually offered at mind-blowing prices even though they have the exterior styling and interior luxury of a car that looks like it should be in your CEO’s garage.
While some have argued that Mercedes engines can be unreliable in their cheaper models, we think the 2009 E-Class offers some stellar reliability at its price point. 2009 was the last year of the third generation E-Class, and the boys in Stuttgart really got it right with this one, offering some impressive drivetrain options including an AMG-tuned performance engine and a fuel-efficient turbodiesel.
Unfortunately, those higher trims will run you a little over $10,000, but the base trim E350 can easily be had for as low as $8,000, and still features a 210-horsepower V6 and some awesome premium features, like a Harmon Kardon stereo system, a sunroof, power front seats, and automatic dual-zone climate control. Best of all, you’ll be sitting on Mercedes luxury and stretching out in the spacious cabin, which isn’t as cramped as some of the E305’s competitors in the mid-size luxury market.
We found an E350 under the 100,000-mile mark for just under $10,000. But trust me, your neighbors are going to think you paid a whole lot more for it. The E350 also comes in all-wheel drive if you want to shell out some extra cash.
But if you’re expecting inclement weather and all-wheel drive is an absolute must, you might want to go for a 2012 Subaru Legacy instead.
2012 Subaru Legacy – On-Road Outback
The 2012 Subaru Legacy is a true mid-size sedan built on the same mechanicals as Subaru’s more off-road-minded products like the Outback. And while I wouldn’t advise taking a Legacy into the mountains for some off-road hooning, this car will dominate the worst of road conditions. Rain, sleet, and snow are no match for the Legacy’s standard all-wheel drive and boxer engines.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter that churns out a decent 170 horsepower. But, if you absolutely need more power than that, you could upgrade to the 2.5GT Limited trim, which offers 265 horses. With any version of the 2012 Legacy, you get a super-spacious interior that will comfortably seat 5 passengers, top-of-the-line safety features that made the 2012 Legacy an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and all that long-term reliability you expect from a Subaru.
While 2012 Legacy owners are usually pretty satisfied with the smooth ride that their car offers, there have been complaints that the clutch and shifter on the six-speed manual don’t feel all that precise. So, if you’re an automatic driver anyway, it’s probably best to go with the CVT. Would I take a chance and go with the manual anyway? Probably, but that’s just me.
We found a 2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium on AutoTempest with under 90,000 miles for under $9,000. That’s definitely a solid buy if you live in a snowy climate.
The next car has become one of the most common cars on the road, and that’s no fluke. The 2013 Honda Civic offers some great bang for your buck.
2013 Honda Civic – Old Reliable
There’s a good reason that everyone here in the States raves about the reliability of Japanese cars, and the 2013 Honda Civic is a prime example. Owners of this long-lasting compact report insanely low costs of ownership, meaning you’ll never find yourself driving back and forth from the mechanics. And if you should have to get a repair, it’ll probably cost you peanuts.
Reliability isn’t the only thing this car has going for it. The 1.8-liter four-banger offered in the base trim offers peppy performance even though it only pumps out 110 horsepower. But, you can move that up to 140 horsepower in the LX trim and still stay under $10,000. Plus, all versions of the 2013 Civic offer confident handling and a stylish and comfortable interior.
If you’re looking to get a platform to build your badass tuner car on, you probably already know that there are few better platforms than the Honda Civic. And if you buy up a 2013 Civic LX with under 75,000 miles like the one that we found on AutoTempest for under $10,000, you might have some cash left over to tune it up into a street-racing beast.
But, if you’re looking for more power with no tuning needed, the 2010 Toyota Avalon blows the rest of these cars out of the water with its engine output.
2010 Toyota Avalon – Beast of the Far East
Undoubtedly the most powerful engine on this list, the 2010 Toyota Avalon features a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that gets surprising good fuel economy for that level of power. You’re looking at 28 highway miles to the gallon, which outcompetes cars in its class with far less pickup. And in addition to saving you money at the pump, the Avalon costs next to nothing to own. I mean, it’s a Toyota, ladies and gentlemen. That means that breakdowns are going to be nothing but a distant dream, and replacement parts are going to cost less than a Starbucks Cold Brew.
The Avalon also offers more interior space than its little brother the Camry. However, for some reason, Toyota decided not to make the rear seats fold down, which kind of prevents you from taking full advantage of this car’s spaciousness. That being said, the interior quality has been compared to a Lexus, and the ride is super comfortable, although handling prowess leaves a lot to be desired.
If you’re a driving enthusiast, this may not be the car for you. But, it’s hard to argue with the value that the 2010 Avalon delivers in terms of reliability, fuel economy, and interior luxury. We found a 2010 Avalon XL for under $9,000 that just barely cracked the 100,000-mile mark. And even at that already-low price, the Avalon’s going to save you a big chunk of change over its lifespan.
While we’ve had some pretty roomy rides on this list, if you’re over the height of 6-foot-3, the 2013 Kia Soul might be your best option here.
2013 Kia Soul – Boxy Beauty
Say what you will about that strange boxy body style of the Kia Soul, or the fact that it will forever be associated with dancing hamsters. When you climb into a 2013 Kia Soul, you’ll immediately see why their owners love them. No more craning your neck to get in like you might have to with a small sedan, and all that interior passenger space makes for a comfortable ride regardless of how many hamsters you try to pile in.
Plus, you get the utility of a hatchback combined with impressive fuel economy for its size at 30 highway miles to the gallon. You will be sacrificing some power, however, since the 2013 Soul’s four-cylinder only puts out 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque.
So, if you’re looking for a car that can blast off the starting line, the Soul’s a no-go. But, if you want a super practical hatchback that gets good fuel economy and is fairly reliable, it’s worth ponying up the cash for a Kia Soul. We found a 2013 base Soul for just under $9,000 with super low mileage just over 60,000. I’d say that’s a pretty good bargain for this weird wagon.