You can find interesting used cars all up and down the price spectrum — searching Craigslist for sub-$1,000 diamonds in the rough is just as much fun as ogling the seven-figure exotica on DuPont Registry — but we’ve always found there to be a certain draw in poking around for vehicles that ride just below the $10,000 mark. Maybe it’s that mental leap between four digits and five; maybe it’s that it seems cheap enough to buy as something of a lark, but still enough to mean you’re buying a decent ride; maybe it’s just an inherent love of the the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.
Regardless of the why, however, the fact remains that we always find some really compelling vehicles out there that we could buy for less than $10,000. These seven cars and trucks are just the tip of the iceberg.
2012 Audi TTS 2.0T Premium Plus quattro
“With used Porsche prices trending upward on a daily basis, perhaps it’s time to look at its siblings to capture some of those autobahn vibes. Enter the Audi TT. Yes, to some it might be more of a squished Beetle than a baby 911 Carrera, but with the right specs, it’s an impressive automobile. This one has high miles, but all the correct extras: all-wheel drive, baseball glove leather seats, quad exhaust — and those big factory alloy rims.” —Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing
Mileage: 168,736 miles
Original MSRP: $$38,300
1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL
“Growing up, the R129-generation Mercedes-Benz SL was the most affordable car that earned a spot as a poster on my wall. In my eyes, the interior leather and wood grain from 90’s Mercs have developed the coziest, classiest patina. You could find this car for less than $5,000…but there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.” —Andrew Siceloff, Director of Video
Mileage: 67,000 miles
Original MSRP: $$89,300
2010 BMW 535i xDrive Wagon
“There are two kinds of BMW 5 Series wagons from the late Aughts and 2010s: ones with a well-documented history you can trust — and everything else. The only commonality? They’re used BMWs, so you’re going to need to be prepared to shell out a lot of cash for ongoing maintenance and repairs. (But you’re never a true enthusiast if you don’t secretly like the pain.) The BMW wagons on Bring a Trailer end up on the higher end of the price spectrum because of their curation and provenance, but you can still score a wagon elsewhere for around $10K or less. Do tread carefully — high speed fuel pumps are particularly bad on this model.
Okay now that I’ve talked you out of buying a used BMW wagon, what about the upside? Well, 1.) It’s a long roof 5 Series BMW that’s managed to age very well; 2.) it’s powered by the BMW N54, a twin-turbo, 300-horsepower inline-six engine that won every important engine award and nearly matched a V8’s performance; 3.) if you look hard enough, you can get it in a manual; and 4.) endless street cred from every automotive enthusiast and car lover across the country, despite paying less than a third of what it costs to buy a life-crushing Ford Edge.” —Eric Yang, Founder & CEO
Mileage: 102,899 miles
Original MSRP: $55,950
2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTEC
“Mercedes sedans have a timeless gravitas that lingers far longer than their premium price points. The E-Class is the Goldilocks version, with the right amount of space but lacking the excess of the full-size S-Class. This diesel is rated to net you 30-plus mpg on the highway. Just be sure to set aside an extra $1,100 for eventual repairs.” —Tyler Duffy, Motoring Staff Writer
Mileage: 71,325 miles
Original MSRP: $51,550
1999 Jaguar XJR
“Ever since an old colleague of mine bought one of these XJRs, I’ve been kind of obsessed. 390 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque are just as compelling now as they were 21 years (!) ago, and the X300/X308-generation’s lines are truly timeless — every bit as alluring today as they were when they debuted. Granted, you can find XJRs even cheaper than this, but not only does this example look awfully clean…how do you say no to a British Racing Green Jaguar?” —Will Sabel Courtney, Motoring Editor
Mileage: 122,784 miles
Original MSRP: $68,450
1967 Fiat 500
“This ’67 Fiat 500 is NYC-friendly (read: compact) and cute as hell. The eggshell color complements the eggy shape…which is something I’m maybe reading into too much. I’m not necessarily a leather guy, but the combination of the old-school sunroof and leather interior does something to me that I like.” —Gerald Ortiz, Style Staff Writer
Mileage: <100,000 miles
Original MSRP: Cheap, even in lira
1988 Toyota Hilux DLX Standard Cab
“I want a truck, not an unaffordable spaceship with a tailgate. Unfortunately, in today’s market, there aren’t a whole lot of non-space-age options — so looking back to the late ’80s is just about my only option. Given that there are things like this 1988 Toyota Hilux available, I’m not that mad about it.” —JD DiGiovanni, Associate Editor, Editorial Operations
Mileage: 65,309 miles
Original MSRP: $10,348
[We told everyone to only choose vehicles whose prices were known, but JD picked this one anyway. —Ed.]
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