Reliable AWD Cars Under $5,000

2010 subaru outback off road

So you’re in the market for a reliable all-wheel drive that’s ready for some outdoor adventuring, but you just broke your piggy bank, and it’s not enough for a Porsche 911 996 C4S. Don’t worry!

We’re going to tell you about some amazing cars with all-wheel drive that’re so reliable, you’ll be able to pass them on to your grandkids! And they’re all for under $5,000!

Subaru Impreza – Very Imprezive

2008 subaru impreza
Wikimedia Commons

Before you go saying, “But you can find a WRX for under $5,000!” Just hold your horses, because we’re talking reliability. So, let’s talk about the WRX’s more relaxed and reliable little brother, the Impreza. Don’t forget, the Impreza is still powered by an EJ25, the same block as the STI. 

So, what’s different? Well, for starters, it’s not turbocharged, and they have different heads. The ones you get in the STI are EJ257’s, and the one you get in the standard Impreza are EJ253’s. So close, but not the same. 

But hey, the Impreza still puts the power down to all four wheels, and it comes standard with a manual so you can shift your own gears through a three-pedal transmission. And the Impreza separates itself as one of the only all-wheel drives in its class, which lowered its fuel economy to only 20 city miles per gallon and 27 on the highway. 

Another thing that’s surprisingly low in the Impreza is its weight, just 3,000 pounds. Compare that with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and that’s almost 1,200 pounds lighter!

We found a manual with a stunning blue paint job and just over 100,000 miles on it. We almost can’t believe it!

But maybe you want something reliable, spacious, and possibly a hybrid? You go get yourself a Toyota Highlander!

Find a cheap Subaru Impreza on AutoTempest!

Toyota Highlander – 30 MPG and Room for Family

2008 toyota highlander

The Highlander is Toyota’s flagship mid-sized SUV. Taking their stellar reputation of reliability and economy, and molding it into an SUV. And, man, did they knock this one out of the park!

Not only is it common to see these sitting at 200,000 to even 300,000 miles, some of them still look brand new after all that use! Toyota went all out with the Highlander, offering it in both a gas-only model and a hybrid. And that Hybrid model gets over 30 miles per gallon! Not to mention it’s all-wheel drive!

If you want to find out more about some of the best cheap cars that get great gas mileage make sure to go ahead and watch our YouTube video! But if you’re into reliability, you’re in the right place.

So, you’re trying to trek up a mountain with your six best friends for some outdoor adventure? Well, you’re good to go with the Highlander’s seven spacious seats. And if you option for the Limited trim, you’re tacking on a navigation system and leather seats. 

How much does all this cost? Well, you’ll be knocking on $5,000’s door if you get a fully-loaded Hybrid all-wheel drive with just a tick over 100,000 miles. Wait, hold up, I almost forgot to mention that the Highlander Hybrid comes with 268 horsepower! That’s more than most sports cars that came out the same year!

What? That Highlander doesn’t tickle your fancy? Well, don’t worry, we got another super reliable all-wheel drive SUV up next for you.

Find a cheap Toyota Highlander on AutoTempest!

Honda CR-V – I’ll Take Vanilla

2008 honda cr-v
Concept Carz

I bet you’ve seen one or two, or probably a million, of these waiting in line to pick up their kids from school, or scouring your local mall’s parking lot. Well, that’s the idea that Honda was going for. But did you know that they also offered all their CR-V’s with all-wheel drive?

Yeah, that’s right. Who says suburban soccer moms and mudding don’t mix? The CR-V has been proven to be pretty capable off-road too, ensuring your mom won’t get stuck during her mid-life crisis mudding extravaganza.

And it’s also one of the most reliable cars on the planet, with many of them outlasting 300,000 miles. The gas mileage on the CR-V isn’t too bad at 27 miles per gallon on the highway. However, this SUV’s performance leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, it will hit 60, but it’s going to take you up around 10 seconds.

And while the Honda CR-V isn’t exactly the prettiest car out there, it definitely gets the job done. It’s a very vanilla car made for very vanilla people. But if what you’re looking for is reliability at a solid price, and a car that’ll get you to and from Starbucks for the rest of your days, check out a CR-V like the one we found for $4,500 with just over 100,000 miles.

So, what happens when Subaru takes a stab at the Honda CR-V? You get the Subaru Forester.

Find a cheap Honda CR-V on AutoTempest!

Subaru Forester – Granola Grocery Getter

2008 subaru forester
The Auto Channel

Some say it’s a car, some say it’s an SUV, but no one really knows what it is. And who cares? Well, you should. The Subaru Forester is damn good for a lot of things, like hauling you and your family up to the mountains for a ski weekend, or driving down dirt paths to find your favorite camping spot, or even sitting in the drive-thru line at McDonalds. 

The Forester really does it all! This jack-of-all-trades comes complete with a 165-horsepower naturally-aspirated four-banger. Or if you’re willing to shell out for a 2004 or later model, you can even get that thing turbocharged! That means it can be sporty too!

Since it’s essentially a lifted hot hatch, it can get most places without skipping a beat, all while returning over 27 highway miles per gallon. And since it’s a Subaru, parts are cheap and available almost everywhere.

So, for a Forester just starting to stretch its legs past 80,000 miles, you’re looking at just under $5,000!

The Subaru Forester is your perfect companion if you’re sporty and adventurous, but what if you want to live that lifestyle and share it with your whole family. You’re going to need a reliable ride with three rows. And VTEC! Next on our list is the Honda Pilot!

Find a cheap Subaru Forester on AutoTempest!

Honda Pilot – Cleared for Takeoff

honda pilot

Even bigger than the CR-V, the Pilot is fun for the whole family. And while the Pilot is the biggest hoss on this list, it’s not the slowest. In fact, it’s faster than a Porsche, an old Porsche Cayenne, but it’s still a Porsche. And that’s all while moving 8 passengers to and from soccer practice until the sun goes cold. 

Did I mention it’s got VTEC? Thanks to some fancy engineering gizmos, the Pilot will still return over 20 miles per gallon, while you’re transporting your kiddos to school and back. And since Honda made the Pilot with simplicity in mind, these land yachts last a long time. 

So, forget the soccer mom stigma and pick one up yourself. You can get one with around 86,000 miles for less than $4,500. I’d call that an ideal deal.

But what if you just have to have a manual? Then it’s probably best to go with the Impreza. But if you need more practicality, check out the Subaru Outback.

Finda cheap Honda Pilot on AutoTempest!

Subaru Outback – The Battle Wagon

2008 subaru outback
Wikimedia Commons

The Outback is essentially a lifted wagon. What’s not to love about that? I mean, it takes what Subaru is all about and throws it into a wagon. The Outback has the usability of a car, the practicality of an SUV, and the ruggedness of a truck. 

Considering that it’s powered by a boxer 4-cylinder putting down 250 horsepower, it’s got performance rivaling the WRX. And if you’d prefer the eco route, you’re looking at 180 horsepower and up to 28 miles per gallon. Since it’s a Subaru, you know it’s capable off-road, and for hundreds of thousands of miles too!

But all that reliability and off-road prowess won’t come cheap. The Outback starts at nearly $30,000 new. However, thanks to our good friend depreciation, an older model can be had for right around $5,000. What’s not to love?

Find a cheap Subaru Outback on AutoTempest!

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