Best Mpg Cars Under 5k

This week, the Window Shop cast went in search of fuel-efficient vehicles for $5000 or less. We wondered, what’s out there that offers great mileage but is also stylish, fun to drive, reasonably priced, in good condition, and something you’d want to own? A tall order, to be sure, but we found some candidates that meet the prompt. Mostly

Keep your fuel economy in check with these Automobiles that are for sale for less than $5000. They may not both be in good condition, but hey, you get what you pay for!

Some cars have super-high fuel economy, some have great style, and some are fun to drive. But only the best ones have all three: That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the very best cars that deliver 40 mpg or more and can be had for under $5,000.

Fuel-efficient vehicles are getting more and more stylish, comfortable, and fun to drive. We’ve lined up some great options under $5000 that fit the bill, whether you’re looking for something cozy or with a bit of get-up-and-go.

With Fuel Economy Week upon us, The Window Shop cast gathered its collective minds to list the best fuel-efficient vehicles on the used market. These are the deals we’re going after.

The Window Shop team is always looking for the best cars for your hard-earned money. This week, we’re interested in fuel-efficient vehicles that cost no more than $5000 (and usually far less). Join us as we search for sensible and stylish cars that squeeze out every last drop of gas.

We’re all looking to save money wherever we can and having an affordable, fuel efficient car is one of the easiest ways to watch the pennies.

If you’ve got about a £5k budget there are a few options to choose from with high fuel economy in both diesel and petrol models.

We’ve only chosen cars that get 60mpg and higher on average according to laboratory tests. You’ll notice that a lot of the cars listed below fall under the “city car” category.

Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,405 and above

Fiat’s TwinAir is, essentially, a turbocharged, 875cc, 2-stroke engine that can deliver 85bhp. Although this doesn’t sound impressive, it’s pretty nippy and can do 0-60 in 11 seconds. If that wasn’t enough to win you over, then how does 68.9mpg on average, huge amounts of style and low running costs sound?

Check out our Fiat 500s

Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Diesel

Price: Around £5,500 and above

Despite having a larger engine under the bonnet, this iconic town runaround can get a massive 68.9mpg and can shift too with 0-60 time about 12 seconds. Being the UK’s bestselling car, it’s got a reliable reputation. You might have to pay a little more for the diesel model (like the example above) compared to its petrol counterpart, but with that you get better fuel economy. The Fiesta is also better equipped with extra features (depending on the spec.)

Check out our Ford Fiestas

Citroen C1

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,000 and above

Economy: 65.7mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £4,000

Both the new and the old Citroen C1 can boast great MPG figures. The old achieving between 62.8 and 65.7mpg on average and the new getting 68.9mpg. They may not be the quickest, but they are certainly very affordable to run and can handle the town with ease.

Check out our Citroen C1s

Toyota Aygo

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,000

Economy: 65.7mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £4,000

Like the Citroen C1, both the new and the old models have great MPG figures and are around £5,000 to buy on the used market. Although the standard models don’t come with many features, they quickly add on the goods when you start going up the trims.

Check out our Toyota Aygos

Volkswagen Up! Bluemotion / Skoda Citigo Greentech / Seat Mii Ecomotive

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £4,500

These 3 cars are all built on the same production line, and as a result the differences are very subtle. Thanks to stop/start technology they can achieve up to 68.9mpg on average and are all great for tackling tight corners and narrow streets.

You may find the non-eco models more often on the use market as they are a lot more common, but don’t worry, these can still get around the 60mpg mark.

The best part about these three is that you might find a few with amazing optional extras like SatNav and heated seats.

Check out our Volkswagen Ups

Check out our Skoda Citigos

Check out our Seat Miis

Citroen C3 1.0 VTi / Peugeot 208

Economy: 65.7mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,407

Economy: 62.8mpg – 80.7mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,000

These two cars share the same engine as the other city cars above, have a little more room and are similarly priced. Although with the 208 you might find that you get more features for your money. Keep an eye out of the Active trim as this has DAB radio and Bluetooth. As standard, the 208 also comes out top as it has cruise control and a speed limiter which the C3 cannot offer.

The Peugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi is the model you’re looking for if you’re after amazing fuel economy as this can boast 80.7mpg. But the other models such as the 1.2VTi can still achieve over 60mpg.

Check out our C3s

Check out our 208s

Kia Picanto

Economy: 67.3mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: Around £5,000

The Kia Picanto can offer great MPG across the board and it only differs slightly with different models. The standard model, ‘1’, doesn’t come with as many gadgets as you would hope, but does include daytime running lights and hill assist. But if you go a few trims up to the VR7, you can enjoy Bluetooth, USB and AUX ports along with parking sensors too!

Check out our Kia Picantos

Peugeot 108

Economy: 68.9mpg on average

Fuel type: Petrol

Price: From around £5,000

Built on the same production line as the new Citroen C1 and new Toyota Aygo, all 3 cars share interiors and engines. Despite the fact the Peugeot 108 has only been on the market for a few years, you can still pick one up for less than £6k.

As standard, the 108 has Bluetooth and a speed limiter, and the amount of gadgets only goes up with the trims, so you’ll have plenty of convenience features.

Check out our Peugeot 108s

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something super efficient and want to venture into the world of electric and hybrid cars, you can check out our range of used electric cars here, or our range of 2nd hand hybrid cars here.

best used cars under $5,000 in 2021

Buying a used car shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. If you know what to look for, it should be easy to get yourself behind the wheel of something good for the right price. Unless it’s a cash sale, spending $5000 (or less) works out to roughly $88 a month, based on a 5 percent interest-rate auto loan of 60 months and no money down. That’s more affordable than even the cheapest new car available this year, but affordability sometimes has its risks.

At this price, cars will likely have racked up a bunch of miles or be old enough to have been around before ads on YouTube, but that’s par for the course. One of our options here began life with a starting price of $70,000. Come and embrace the warm glow of depreciation and look for something that’s both great and affordable—even if it takes an hour to vacuum after it arrives in your driveway.Acura TSX


Like a gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, the Acura TSX was an ordinary luxury. It shared much of its bits and pieces with its cousin, the Honda Accord, but the first-generation TSX had more where it counted. Look for a six-speed manual transmission from 2006, as the high-revving VTEC inline-four received a small bump to 205 horsepower. The TSX was a snappy entry-level sports sedan for its time, and it came with standard features other cars in its segment didn’t offer, including 17-inch wheels and a Bluetooth stereo. —Austin IrwinBMW 5-Series Wagon


True BMW enthusiasts hold on to E39 wagons. First introduced in the United States for 2000, it’s available with one of two butter-smooth engines, the 2.8-liter (later 3.0-liter) inline-six or the 4.4-liter V-8. For less than five grand, you’ll need to find one with mileage approaching 200,000. All of these cars, including the Bangle-styled E61 Touring that offered all-wheel drive and came only with the six, are uncommon in our wagon-hating country. BMW didn’t import any wagons for the 2004 or 2005 model years, nor did we ever get an M5 Touring. In its best year, 2005, the 5-series wagon sold 2351 units. It left our shores for good in 2009. If you find a well-worn gem, know that it’s probably been cared for, loved, and driven like hell, just as BMW intended. —Clifford AtiyehADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW Park AvenueVIEW PHOTOSKEN HANNACAR AND DRIVER

The 1991 Buick Park Avenue began to restore luster to the tri-shield badge. First-gen models have all but disappeared, but that’s fine. We prefer the second generation, launched in 1997, in top-shelf Ultra trim. Up front sits General Motors’s bulletproof 3800 Series II 3.8-liter V-6 with a supercharger, which we called “one of the planet’s most convincing pushrod powertrains.” A grand, leather-wrapped living room that cossets during urban errands and long-legged interstate runs is braced by surprisingly dynamic handling through B-road sweepers. Standard luxuries include climate control, 10-way power seats, and a pollen filter. Top-shelf options add a 12-disc CD changer in the trunk and a head-up display. —Jonathan RamseyFord F-150


While the desire to daily drive a sports car might be high, owning a pickup truck is the more sensible choice for many Average Joes. And as inflated as the used-car market is right now, there are still affordable full-size trucks to be found. In 1997 Ford launched the 10th-generation F-series and departed from square styling. This is good starting point if $5000 is the budget. With some diligence, it’s not difficult to find a decent truck equipped with a V-8 and four-wheel drive. Stick to the classifieds in the south to avoid body panels that look like Swiss cheese, but not too far south as 4×4 models are less common in areas where they’re not needed. Be sure to see if the two-piece spark plugs have been replaced as they have the tendency to snap off during removal. But don’t sweat it if they do; there’s a tool for every job. —David Beard


No one makes compact pickup trucks anymore. For a cheap workhorse you can park in the city, the last-gen Ford Ranger is a great buy. (Other wee pickups from this era, like the Toyota Tacoma, are more prone to frame rust.) The Ranger is basic and frugal. It doesn’t need running boards or tailgate steps because it’s not seven feet tall. It is available in single or extended cab, with an inline-four or big-bore V-6, automatic or manual transmission. This is how pickup trucks were for almost a century, before every guy had to drive Bigfoot. Take care with the brakes on earlier Ranger models; they’re either rear-only ABS or missing it entirely. Bonus if you can find a yellow Ranger Splash with the decals intact. —Clifford Atiyeh
Honda Accord


There’s a reason C/D has placed the Accord on our 10Best list for 34 years. Actually, there are many: smooth-revving engines, deft handling, accurate steering, roomy interiors, and steadfast reliability. The Accord has always been an overachieving driver’s car sold to commuters who might never explore its fun side. The seventh-gen Accord won a 2003 comparison test in its first model year, and unlike the Saturn L200 and Dodge Stratus, there are plenty still on the road. The EX coupe brought a new 240-hp V-6 and six-speed manual transmission, while the regular inline-four models introduced i-VTEC with cam phasing. Honda also experimented with a V-6 hybrid from 2005 to 2007 that was fast but unpopular. —Clifford Atiyeh


Understandably, this suggestion could contradict everything we said in the last slide, but hear us out. The Honda Insight was built for range, and part of that fight was keeping the weight off. So something like 600 percent of it was made of aluminum. You won’t see a rusty Insight because that’s not what aluminum does. Ask science. The original American hybrid is still one of the most efficient today, with an EPA highway rating of 61 mpg. Although it offered more than 400 miles of range on a single tank, the Insight wasn’t offered with cruise control. It’s a great choice for people who don’t want to spend a bunch of money at the dealership, the gas station, or the parts store. —Austin IrwinInfiniti J30


Nissan never sold a four-door 300ZX, but the Infiniti J30 is pretty close. It used the same 205-hp 3.0-liter V-6 found in the non-turbo sports car, but it also shared the same fantastic multilink suspension that gave the luxury sedan sports-car control. We recommend picking up the Infiniti J30T. The Touring model was equipped with a subtle trunk spoiler and aluminum BBS-mesh wheels. Its Bose stereo had great OE sound, and the heated leather front seats added opulent comfort to its snug interior. Make sure to test every power window switch and door handle, as those are somewhat common problems among the J models. —Austin Irwin

It’s a dream of mine to own an M car. But I have better odds of winning the lottery than finding an M-badged BMW in good running condition for less than $5000. So, I’d go with a different type of M, this clean and fully loaded 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport. Note its slick 19-inch, 10-spoke wheels and leather-lined interior complete with heated and cooled seats. I’d look past its hopelessly outdated infotainment system. Flashback to the November 2006 issue of Car and Driver where the V-8-powered M45 Sport beat out sports-sedan icons such as the BMW 550i and Mercedes-Benz E550 thanks to its “excellent chassis” and “playful spirit.” While this rear-drive example is down on power versus the M45, the rest of the winning formula is there, and it’s worth appreciating the Infiniti’s ability to switch from calm to “Woah! Calm down.” Its 275-hp 3.5-liter V-6 might have 145,000 miles on it in this price range, so it might not be as quick as the one we tested back in the day, which did zero to 60 mph in a scant 6.1 seconds­­—just 0.2 slower than the 325-hp M45. —Eric StaffordJeep Cherokee


For a four-wheel-drive rig to endure hard weather or hard recreation, you need the “disposable hero” XJ-series Jeep Cherokee built from 1984 to 2001. Disposable because you can find them cheap; $5000 gets a Cherokee in any kind of build, like the one-owner, bone-stock, never off-roaded model we found in Orlando, Florida, to one that’s mucked-up, lifted, and rooftop-tented. Examples with the legendary high-output 4.0-liter straight-six introduced in 1991 are preferred among Cherokee cognoscenti, the later 1990s models especially.

The Cherokee’s a hero because with proper maintenance—notably preventive measures to address potential oil-leak and cooling issues as well as rust— it will outlast your children and go anywhere while doing it. And a gigantic aftermarket means you can turn any Cherokee you buy into the Cherokee you dream of. —Jonathan Ramsey


Although the Acura Legend was the first Japanese luxury car in space, the Lexus LS400 was the moon shot. Aimed directly at the Germans, the LS400 changed the luxury-sedan world. Toyota crafted a V-8 just for this car, gave it a sumptuous interior with features that premium customers demanded, and then priced it at $35,000. This was back in the days when an S-class with six cylinders started past $50,000. While the styling was pulled from the European playbook, it has aged well. In today’s world of SUVs, however, the Lexus looks low and small. As long as the timing belt is changed, and the starter doesn’t fail—it’s buried in the heart of the engine—the LS400 should soldier without fuss for years. It’s that reliability, that start-every-time, no-fuss, easy-to-maintain dependability that made the LS400 and the Lexus brand. —Tony QuirogaMazda Miata


Maybe the Mazda Miata is too small for your needs, but if it isn’t, it’s perfect. The NB2 chassis, made from 2001 to 2005, is the most desirable because it carried improved projector headlights, additional chassis support, and an engine with higher compression and variable valve timing. It’s light and fun to drive, the parts are cheap, and it has a number of aluminum bits to defend itself against a rusty death. It might be the cheapest way to maximize an entertaining track day. —Austin Irwin


When the W140 S-class arrived at the end of 1991 as a 1992 model, it was a bit of a shock. First, the car was larger, heavier, and far more complex than its predecessor. It wasn’t cheap, either. A six-cylinder 300SE started at a touch less than $70,000 in 1992 dollars, and the 389-hp V-12 was more than $120,000. You can roughly double those numbers to account for inflation. Example of this car’s over-the-top quality are the two guiding antennas that would pop out of the rear fenders. In the days before backup cameras showed us the way, the antenna-like bars would emerge to help you see the back of this giant sedan. It also had double-paned side glass, adaptive dampers, and near silence at highway speeds. All that sophistication and complexity (not to mention the cost of parts) has driven the value of these incredible cars down to a tiny fraction of their original cost. —Tony QuirogaNissan Pathfinder


Finding a pristine Nissan Pathfinder with reasonable mileage this late in the game won’t be easy, but it’s possible. It’s the combination of four-wheel drive, a five-speed manual transmission, and the ability to tow up to 3500 pounds that make this machine so desirable. It’s also a prime candidate for an overlanding setup. While every Pathfinder of this vintage features a seemingly bulletproof 168-hp 3.3-liter V-6 and a multilink rear suspension. Mid-level SE trims have a driver’s seat with lumbar support and height adjustments, remote keyless entry, a roof rack, and tubular steel step rails. An example we found in California with 186,000 miles had the optional Bose audio system­–with a cassette and CD player­—and a sunroof. The seller also said it rolls on a brand-new set of 31-inch all-terrain tires. The only question left is when does the next flight leave for San Diego? —Eric Stafford


If you can locate a second-generation Dodge Ram (1994–2002) that hasn’t completely oxidized, you’re lucky. These trucks have rugged good looks that have aged much better than their contemporaries. The vacuum-actuated four-wheel drive can be finicky, but the engines are relatively simple with readily available parts or replacements. Arguably the coolest representative of the second-gen Rams are the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models equipped with the Cummins 6BT inline-six, known as the 12-valve. This turbo-diesel is renowned for its robust durability and no-nonsense strength. For less than $5000, however, you’re most likely going to find a gasoline 5.2- or 5.9-liter V-8. — K.C. ColwellSubaru Baja


The Subaru Baja is worth pointing out and admiring if spotted in the wild. The Outback wagon turned truck only stuck around for three years, but it has always been a quirky favorite here. The Baja Turbo used a detuned 2.5-liter turbo version of what came in the Impreza WRX STI. It was also available with a five-speed manual transmission. Don’t get too excited, as the used-car market is yet to list our favorite for less than $5000. Even in non-turbo form, the Baja is a modern take on the mullet: It gets the job done, but it’s mostly here for our entertainment. —Austin Irwin


Average gas prices have crawled back up to a national-average, wallet-burning $3.15 per gallon. It hurts, but not enough to keep me from shopping older Toyota Sequoias. Built in Indiana, the 2005-plus first-generation Sequoia is the best of the bunch, thanks to its vastly improved drivetrain. Although similar in towing capacity to its Tahoe and Expedition competitors (6500 pounds in two-wheel-drive form), the Sequoia offers 10.6 inches of ground clearance. To find a 2005 or newer Sequoia for less than $5000, it might not have the full leather interior found in Limited trim models, and it might have more than 200,000 miles, but the Sequoia doesn’t seem to adhere to the laws of aging. Think of it as a new car that comes with 15 years and 200,000 miles of experience. Austin IrwinVolvo S70


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