We are 102,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

Safe inexpensive

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Priorities: Reliability & durability / Interior styling

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan / Coupe / Wagon

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips / Towing or hauling

Primary Driver(s): Short driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 13000
Maximum age: 12 years

Maximum price: US $ 3800

« Return to results

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Sort responses by likes

Response from mkaresh

12:24 am January 26, 2016

This is a tough one. As measured by crash tests, cars have gotten much safer over the past decade. Less clear is how much the newer crash tests, which cars tended to fail until they were redesigned to pass them, reflect real-world safety. How much less likely are you to be injured (or worse) in the newer cars designed to pass the latest crash tests? I don't know.

I say all this because it's going to hard to to find an even somewhat reliable car for $3,800 that does well on the lastest crash tests.

Your best bet could be a 2005-2007 Ford Five Hundred SEL with front-wheel drive and the optional side air bags. I wouldn't get the SE base trim or all-drive to avoid the CVT transmission. The FWD SEL and Limited used a conventional six-speed automatic manufactured by a Toyota affliate. Plus the AWD system has its own weak points.

The Five Hundred is very roomy and among the safest somewhat affordable cars of its time period. Reliability has been good if not great in our survey. I'd have any car this age thoroughly inspected by a mechanic familar with the model.


Link to this reponse

Ford Five Hundred

Response from Roccaas

12:07 pm January 26, 2016

Long trips and towing @ $3800?

Not sure there's such a beast.

Early 2000's Impala or Crown Vic (like Ford 500) is all I can come up with


Link to this reponse

Response from mkaresh

2:23 pm January 26, 2016

I missed the "towing." What's being towed?

I wouldn't tow much, and maybe not anything, with the Five Hundred I suggested.

The problem with the Crown Vic is that it's body structure is ancient, so despite the car's size and weight it's safety is iffy.

Maybe a Dodge Magnum, but not one with the 2.7-liter V6. It might not be possible to get one with acceptably low miles for $3,800.


Link to this reponse

Dodge Magnum

Response from Roccaas

8:41 pm January 26, 2016

From original post, "..../Towingor hauling...."

Crown Vic, the reason so many LEO's survive crashes. Body on frame, legendary durability (500,000 mile taxis). Maybe not all the airbags and nanny devices, but by the immutable laws of physics, a heavier object has a better chance to survive a collision with a lighter object- at $3,800!

Fewer computers, more raw steel, more driveway fixes on a $3,800 budget.

Yes you can get a $3,800 econocar, tow a small BBQ grill, and be cut out with the Jaws of Life.i believe the problem we have here is typographical.

12 years old, 13,000 miles, $3,800. Maybe Aunt Mabel's "Sunday go to Church" Camry Comes down through the will???


Link to this reponse

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Return to top