5 Fun Cars Almost Anyone Can Buy With Their Tax Refund

$3,000 is enough to add a fun and interesting — if not brand-spanking-new — car to your collection.


Under normal conditions, April 15th would be the deadline to file your taxes. (This year, the deadline has been pushed back to July.) According to the Washington Post, the average American tax refund comes out to a little more than $3,000.

Now, you could (and arguably should) put that refund toward something more prudent, like building up your savings or investing. Or, of course…you could add a fun car to your garage. Three grand may not sound like much when it comes to a working automobile, but when you look around online, you can actually find decent rides for the money. And while they may not all qualify as “fun” under the traditional definition, it’s hard not to argue a car that’s so cheap that you bought with what’s practically free money won’t be fun in a who-cares-if-it-breaks way, if nothing else.

Here are five fun used cars we found for $3,000 or less. They all appear to be in good running order, with at least a few years of life left. (That said, you may need to grin and bear some excessive early-2000s body cladding.)

1995 GMC Sierra 1500 – $2,500

This truck is a one-owner Sierra that has been sparingly but regularly driven for a little more than 100,000 miles. It looks clean, with a fetching two-tone blue and gray paint job and the Z71 off-road package.

BUY NOW: $2,500

2003 Toyota 4Runner – $2,995

It’s not the most attractive 4Runner generation, what with all of the cladding. But if any vehicle will have a lot of life left in it with 210,000 miles on the clock, it’s a 4Runner.

BUY NOW: $2,995

1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport – $3,000

The Jeep Cherokee XJ stayed in production for 18 years. It’s bullet-proof, and widely regarded as one of the best SUVs ever made. It’s also a lot cheaper than the Wrangler on the used market. Here’s one with a reasonable 120,000 miles.

BUY NOW: $3000

2005 Volkswagen Jetta GLS – $2,995

Manual transmission VWs are great fun, even if they aren’t GTIs. This 2005 Jetta GLS is a California car with only about 90K miles on the odometer.

BUY NOW: $2,995

2002 Volvo V40 – $2,995

Who doesn’t love a Volvo wagon? This silver one would blend right in on a Brooklyn Heights street. It has some life left, with only 122,000 miles.

BUY NOW: $2,995

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