Cheap cars (read: affordable) shouldn’t have to insinuate that they’re built without the standards of reliability, yet are instead equipped with a relatively stress free ownership experience. Cars that won’t cost you an arm and a leg can mean that they have been in the fold for many years and have improved generation over generation. With most of these examples selling hundreds of thousands of units, they’ve been tested, finessed, and are ready to live a great life with their second or third owner. You don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot.
Fifth and sixth generation Nissan Sentras offer a lot of bang for the buck. While the styling on the sixth generation is subjective, they offer plenty of headroom for larger passengers and economic fuel-economy numbers for commuters. The fifth generation (what this author owned) was a substantial redesign for the Sentra and brought this Nissan into modern times. A top-of-the-line SE-R Spec V was even offered, which borrowed design cues from the Nissan Skyline of Japan; came equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, and had go-kart handling like the Volkswagen GTIs of its day.
Chevy Silverados are some of the most dependable automobiles on the planet, with scores of them working construction, farming, or other tough industries. That doesn’t mean you need to tend to the fields to own one, but it does mean you get a lot of value for your money with whatever price you settle on. Even with examples at 100k miles, if you find one with good services records and reliable ownership, it’s not far fetched that you’ll be able to drive it to 200k no problem with the proper care and attention it deserves.
It’s really hard to go wrong with a Honda passenger car. Their reliability is legendary, their gas mileage above average, and their interior accommodations are likely to satisfy even the most fickle person. The Honda Accord lineage is over four decades old, and that means Honda has fine-tuned the car to almost perfectionist status—ultimately being a best seller in the United States since 1989. The Honda Accord is decently fast (with available V6 engine), economical, and offers both coupe and sedan body styles for whatever your personality matches.
Not the sexiest car by any means, the Toyota Camry is a no frills car that does exactly what it was meant to: get you from A to B. You can find well-maintained Camrys for around $5-$6k all day on Instamotor and for that price you’re getting one hell of a daily driver. Throw in standard Toyota quality that is made for comfort and quietness, a vast selection of options to choose from, styling that has progressed with every generation—ultimately getting more aggressive and distinct—and engines that are tough for the daily grind, make the Camry a real opportunistic choice.
For such a relatively out of the spotlight company, Mazda has made, and continues to make, cars that are not only reliable, but also extremely fun to drive. Even with the most advanced safety systems on their vehicles, they’re still connected to the road like cars without all the electronic wizardry. The Mazda6 is one such example. Bound to the road with a tight suspension that’s not too harsh, room for five adults, and moderately powerful engines, there’s a little sports car DNA in every passenger car Mazda makes. If you’re an enthusiast at heart but don’t want all the flash, take a serious look at the 6.
Currently the full-time Editorial Director and Content Manager for RxSpeed.com, & contributing writer for Scout.com. He also loves photography, videography, his Shiba Inu Mia and driving sports cars.