Whats a good starter car for under $5000?
Recommended by consumer reports: Honda Civic, 2001-2003 model years for starters. You should really check out the consumerreports.org website on cars tested, or spend just a few dollars on the April 2011 (now out) Consumer reports magazine , Title: "Best & Worst 2011 cars." The issue is cars cover to cover, including the best and worst used cars divided into categories of $4,000 and up. I've never gone wrong purchasing a vehicle based on CR's tests and recommendations.
I would recommend any GM car with the 3300 V6. I have a 1989 Buick Century with that engine, it currently has 305K miles and has only had 2 problems since we bought it; the fuel pump went out and the harmonic balancer separated. It gets impressive gas mileage, I've recorded as high as 40 mpg on the freeway and 32 mpg in the city, average is about 35/28. It is also pretty cheap to insure, even though it is the 2-door body style. The only downside is that it is subject to the "gas guzzler" tax because of its age and size. Other good GM engines are the 3100 and 3800 V6's. My older brother has a '94 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with the 3100 and it has been a very good car, getting up to 45 mpg on the freeway. My parents have a '91 Regal with the 3800 engine that has gotten up to 38 mpg. However, it has had a lot more electrical problems than the other cars, although not as bad as some cars we've had. The 3100 is available in the: 1994–1999 Buick Century 1994–1996 Buick Regal 1994–1996 Chevrolet Beretta 1994–1996 Chevrolet Corsica 1995–1999 Chevrolet Lumina 1997–1999 Chevrolet Malibu 1993–1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 1994–1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 1994–1999 Pontiac Grand Prix 1994–1998 Pontiac Grand Am 1994–1998 Buick Skylark 1994–1998 Oldsmobile Achieva 1995–1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo The 3300 is also available in the 1989-1993 Buick Skylark, Pontiac Grand Am, and Oldsmobile Achieva, Calais, and Cutlass Ciera The 3800 can be found in: Series I: Buick LeSabre Buick Park Avenue 1991 Buick Reatta Buick Regal Buick Riviera 1992-1995 Chevrolet Lumina APV Holden Commodore (VNII, VP, VR) Holden Caprice (VQ, VR) Pontiac Bonneville 1992-1995 Pontiac Trans Sport Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Oldsmobile Toronado 1992-1995 Oldsmobile Silhouette Series II: Buick Le Sabre Buick Park Avenue Buick Regal LS Buick Riviera Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Impala Chevrolet Lumina LTZ Chevrolet Monte Carlo (Z34, LT, SS) Holden Commodore (VS, VT, VX, VY) Holden Caprice (VS, WH, WK) Holden Ute (VU, VY) Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Oldsmobile Intrigue Oldsmobile LSS Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Oldsmobile Regency Pontiac Bonneville Pontiac Firebird Pontiac Grand Prix Series III: 2004–2008 Pontiac Grand Prix 2005–2009 Buick LaCrosse 2006–2008 Buick Lucerne Hope this is helpful! By the way, I believe that all of the 3800 engines have a supercharged counterpart.
I assume since you are looking for a "starter car" and posting in "tuner/modified" you are looking for more than just mileage, insurance cost & reliability. There are so many other variables to consider when buying a car that suggestions are difficult without knowing more- Style? Type? (4-door, 2-door, etc.) Cargo Room? Safety? Comfort? Handling? Power? (Tuning/Mod Budget?) For point A to B & given your criteria, my suggestion would be to pick up an early 80's Toyota Tercel Manual. They are reliable, easy on insurance, have cheap parts, are easy to work on, and run forever. Not to mention you should be able to get into one for well under $5000.