Living that student life is hard. Everyday you wake up go to class, and you have to eat ramen to save for tuition. But you need a car! How about one for $2,000? Something that doesn’t break down on your way class, and is much more fun to sit in than those long, boring lectures. I know I dozed off through half of mine.
But don’t sleep on these deals, Ideal fam! Because we’re here to show you the best cars for students under $2,000. So, grab your lunchbox and let’s go!
1992 – 2012 Ford Crown Victoria – Is That A Cop?
Man, drivers are crazy! I saw this one dude the other day go 60 in a 25! Slow down, dude! Maybe he’s late for class? Whatever the reason, our first car will give you power, and when people see it on the road, it’ll make them check their speedometer too. The Ford Crown Victoria!
When you think of American cop cars, this should be one of the first ones to come to mind. Police drove the wheels off these things, and now after all the goodies were stripped out, they’re offered at one hell of a discount.
The Police Interceptor version of the Crown Vic has the engine you want. Getting you to class on time is an American 4.6-liter V8 that makes 250 horsepower to the rear wheels. Big power to the rear wheels on a cop car? You know what that means! Doughnuts all day, everyday! Way cool!
Now, this Crown Vic is a perfect daily driver, because, think about it, cops had to sit in this car for super long shifts everyday, so you know it has comfort. And because it’s an Interceptor, it has a little extra chassis safety too. And if you get a little financial aid money, you could trick this out to be an actual cop car with lights and loudspeakers, which is super illegal, but definitely sounds like fun!
So, if you want your friends to think you’re a cop, I found a decent-looking Crown Vic with only a couple paint scratches for just under $1,900! Now, that is a tax return well spent!
And while these American V8’s are reliable, they need to be well maintained. So, if you want a car you can just drive and forget about maintenance, then get a Honda Civic.
2000 – 2005 Honda Civic – Keeping It Civil
We all know that Honda engines are bulletproof, and the Civic is a perfect example of Honda’s superb reliability. With regular maintenance and care, these cars will last well past 200,000 miles, which is crazy for any car.
Now, making this reliability is either a 1.7- or 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which will put your car to 60 in a super quick 8 seconds. Yeah, I know, you won’t be winning many races, but you can laugh in the face of that kid with the V6 Mustang when he oversteers into a sidewalk.
And you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, because you’re saving tons on gas in your Civic! And seriously, these have everything that you need as a student. Four doors for your friends, big trunk space for the ramen, and a safe and predictable driving experience. I mean, a lot of people I know learned how to drive one of these in driver’s ed.
And maintenance costs that can be less than $300 a year! For some cars, it’s $300 a visit to the mechanic. So, you can save that extra dough on textbooks and other necessities. And while these may not be the prettiest, you can rely on the Civic to get you to class safely.
We found a 2003 Civic that could be yours for just $1,700!
But, sedans are kind of falling out of style. So, if you want an SUV version of the Civic, get a Jeep Grand Cherokee!
1993 – 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee – The Grand Slam
This classic SUV offers comfort, convenience, and classic Jeep off-roading prowess. These are clutch, my friend. If you need to help someone move, Grand Cherokee. If you need to tow something, Grand Cherokee. If you need a bulletproof SUV, Grand Cherokee!
Succeeding the legendary XJ Cherokee, this bigger brother was a hit when it first came out because of its practicality and size. The top-tier Limited trim hosted a bunch of luxury features such as leather seating, a keyless entry system, and even some wood trim, just to name a few. This is a comfy cruiser that you can dump miles on.
The Grand Cherokee came with a number of different engines, and they’re all pretty good. But, our ideal option is the massive 5.9-liter V8 which puts out 250 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, enough to haul anything around with ease.
And why would a student want this? Because it’s an ideal car for a student! Hear me out, it’s leather-filled and comfy, powerful with that huge V8, and reliable so it won’t leave you stranded. That sounds like an ideal deal to me!
So, what does it cost? $2,000, baby! We found a silver V8 monster for $2,000 on the dot. And maybe after class, you can throw on some mud tires hit the dirt roads!
Speaking of dirt roads, if you want a more reasonable all-roader, then get the Subaru Legacy.
1998 – 2004 Subaru Legacy – Did Somebody Say AWD?
If you live in a place that snows or rains a lot, get yourself a Legacy! Thanks to that legendary Subaru all-wheel drive, up here in the Pacific Northwest, I see these everywhere! This is a solid, safe, and reliable car with the added bonus of the symmetrical all-wheel drive that’ll help you go through the rain, snow, and even ice like it’s nothing. And you won’t ever have to worry about spinning out!
So, why would I get this as a student? Because if you go for the wagon version, you can pack all your stuff for college, and even go on long road trips with friends! That is, if you have friends. I don’t, but I hope you do! What I’m trying to say is that this thing is practical!
But, it’s not that fast. With only 168 horsepower out of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, it’s not going to beat much of anything off the line. It is a great commuter, however, coming in either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto. This would make a perfect car to learn manual on, especially because of how cheap it is to get into one of these.
For $2,000 flat, I found a 5-speed 2001 Legacy in a beautiful maroon color. And it even had most of its hubcaps!
Sure the Subaru is a great car, but for that all-wheel drive, you trade luxury. No leather, nothing. So, you want something with a little more class? Get the Lincoln Town Car.
1998 – 2011 Lincoln Town Car – For Around the Town
This may be the most luxurious car on this list. And to give you some context on how luxurious they are, they make Lincoln Town Cars into limos! And I’ve been inside Town Car limo, and boy, are they nice! And Town Cars are usually in great condition, because the first owner was likely over 70 years old.
This is a long, leather-filled land yacht that feels like a couch. So, for commuting everyday to class, this will be ideal. Chances are this is as comfy as your bed.
Making this Town Car go to town is a reliable 4.6-liter V8 that makes 220 horsepower paired to a seamless automatic transmission. And you got a dead smooth luxury car for cheap.
We found a creme-on-the-outside, clean-on-the-inside Town Car with 115,000 miles for $1,300. Damn! A luxury car that was over $45,000 new? What a deal for a leather-filled V8 serenade.
But, the V8 doesn’t really sing, it more like gurgles. So, if you really want a screamer of an engine, get an Acura TL.
1999 – 2003 Acura TL – The A+ Acura
Wait, what? An Acura with a nice exhaust note? Yes! The powerful 3.2-liter V6 is seriously one of the best sounding V6’s ever made. And with 225 horsepower, keeping your foot off the pedal will be a challenge. But sadly, it doesn’t sound that amazing from the factory. Stock, the Acura TL whispers like it’s cheating on a test.
Anway, this is an Acura, a luxury Honda. So, leather seats, great technology, and stellar reliability are synonymous with the name, making this a perfect first car for a student. Just promise me you’ll go to an exhaust shop on spring break. So, if you want one, we found a red TL, with only one previous owner, for under $2,000.
The TL is the perfect car you’ll probably never need to work on. If you want get your hands dirty, do some tuning yourself, and make a high horsepower beast, or even just start working on your own car, then get your mechanic’s gloves out and get yourself an Audi A4.
2001 – 2006 Audi A4 – A 4.0 Car!
German cars are known for luxury over everything. The B6 A4 is a leather-filled all-wheel drive 4-door sedan that will let people know you’re rich.
That Quattro all-wheel drive is a tried-and-true system that was developed in Group B rallying. Hardcore! And when you pair it with the tuning capability, oh boy! You got a sleeper on your hands!
The A4 came with two very different engines, a 3.0-liter naturally-aspirated V6 that makes 220 horsepower, or the beastly 1.8-liter turbo which makes 170 horsepower. The V6 is the better engine, right? Wrong! The small guy is not only more reliable than the V6, but with just a simple ECU tune, you can make well over 200 horsepower! And if you really want to push it with a APR Stage 3 kit, you can get over 300 horsepower. Yeah, it’s crazy! And if you want to get into tuning your Euro car into a monster? Check out this Ideal video!
Wait, why would I want a car like this for being a student? Well, I’m glad you asked. If you want to get a degree in engineering or you’re just mechanically-inclined, then buying an old Audi is like a master class. You’re going to be spending your free time under the hood, tuning it up, or just keeping it running.
I found an Audi A4 with the 1.8 turbo in a lush deep blue right at $2,000! A great deal for a tuner! But if you want an A4, and don’t want to tune it, get the V6 model for a little more potential reliability. Just make sure you get a part-time job, because these things can bite you in the behind if you don’t keep up with maintenance.