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Article Comments - The 10 Best Used Cars for Less Than $5,000



  • I thought that the Prelude SH was an actual model, like LS,SE,etc. I might not be remembering correctly, but I think the Prelude SH had it as maybe a sticker on the back.

    I imagine you could learn from the VIN and I'm sure a Honda specific forum or website could help you. Not sure about ATTS, but again, I don't think that this gen Prelude ever came as a "stripper". Even the base car was pretty well loaded (for a Honda)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    Compared to the other cars listed, finding one for $5K would seem to be a real stretch... Plus, any decent SH is probably going to be twice that...

    For my money, the first one listed... the Acura GS-R would be my choice.. As they say, though... most have gotten the full "treatment" by now...

    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Great article.

    I picked up a 99 Miata last year in very very good condition...I definately reccomend one as a fun second car.

    There is a ton of aftermarket support on this car too...this summer I am going to turbocharge my car. A reputable company that specializes in Miata upgrades offers a turbo kit for $1800 for a 99-2000 Miata. They claim a minimum of 160WHP which I would say is comparable to about 190HP at the crank. 190HP in a 2200lb convertible??? I can't wait. I won't lose to a minivan ;)
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I owned a '90 240SX for several years. It was an amazing car--absolute mountains of torque from the stock SOHC 2.4 ('91 and later had a DOHC version that's even better), with perfectly balanced handling. NO NEED for the SR20DET swap!!!! Even better: it was a superb road car, with fantastic seat comfort and 28-30 mpg at 75-80 mph.

    Potential buyers should watch for the following problems:
    --speedometer sensor in the tail end of the transmission will sometimes fail, leading to erroneous speedo/odo readings, or none at all.
    --rattles, because the first-gen fastback has an awfully huge hatch opening. Mine also had the pop-up sunroof, so that's another source.
    --fuel injector seals. A low-mileage car will have cracks here, leading to the omnipresent but hard to trace aroma of gasoline.
    --body leaks. Mine leaked through, of all places, the rear window washer nozzle, staining the headliner badly.
    --brake and clutch hydraulics, especially if the car is allowed to sit for any length of time.

    I sold mine for $800 at about 130k six years ago, because it would've cost me another $1500 to fix everything that was wrong with it. I've mourned the loss ever since.
  • iron_maniron_man Posts: 1
    I owned a 94 mustang GT which I bought used in 96 for like $10K.

    I installed a catback exhaust, 3.55 gears, underdrive pulleys, K&N.

    I had that through college, first job, grad school, and a little while after I finished grad school.

    When I got rid of it it had 120K+ miles and was 12 yrs old and was still going very strong.

    I beat the heck out of the that car on a regular basis and it never gave me any problems.....that was one tough car. It had tons of torque...esp with the 3.55 gear. Also it sounded great with the exhaust...not too loud just a really good rumble. It was a great car for me at the time considering I was in school most of the time. It was fun to drive, maintenance was cheap, and I never had any costly repairs.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    If you can find one that hasn't been modified and/or driven into the ground, both the Civic Si and CRX Si are still a blast to drive!
  • I had a 98 2.5 RS coupe, black with gold wheels and trim. It was a blast to drive on road, off road, in the snow, rain, dry, blasting back and forth from Boston to New York, cross country, Montreal, ski trips...that car never let me down. I miss it immensely. I upgraded to a first gen WRX when they arrived here. That was a fun car, but it lacked the spirit and the spunk of the RS. I'll take the 165 hp boxer over the 2.0 turbo any day. I've looked for a replacement, but a low-mileage used is pretty hard to find.
  • dyziodyzio Posts: 9
    great car choice..!..great thread..
    how about next topics: best till; 10, 20 , 30 K $....,

    I love 240sx looks !
    mr2 nice car..
    Miata and prelude are cool..

    but well presercved Mustang Camaro or F-birrd from 80/90-ties would be also nice shot
  • dyziodyzio Posts: 9
    how about first Pontiac Solstice...?IMAGE CAR
    I've seen yesterday it parked next to Porshe 911 previous gen..and I dont need to tell you wchich one looked best ..
    Solstice look 3x better , an d cost 3 x less....
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    The '07-'01 Prelude is probably my favorite car on this list. But finding even a base model in good condition for under $5k is nearly impossible! I searched AutoTrader for '97-'01 Preludes within 300 miles of Atlanta. There were 89 of them, but only two under $5k- a '99 SH with 217k miles, automatic trans and some exterior mods AND a '97 base model with interior and exterior mods and 190k miles (also automatic).

    Most were in the $7k and up range.....
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Jeez, I feel your pain. What's the point of a Prelude if it's got an automatic?!?!?!?
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,415
    I absolutely LOVE my 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH! I bought it brand new as a leftover on April 27, 2002 (7 years ago tomorrow). I just hit 110,000 miles and the car still looks great & drives amazing. My car has a build date of October 2001, making it one of the last Preludes ever built (I think production stopped in ovember '01). I still get compliments on what great condition it is in. I sincerely hope my car is worth more than $5,000 but I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. The car is germanicaly solid, very well screwed together, handles amazingly, & is fast enough (you'll lose the stoplight drag race to ANYTHING with a V6). I put a set of 4 snow tires during the winter months & run High Performance Summer tires during the spring/summer/fall seasons. I drive this car everyday and don not baby it by any means.

    Base Prelude vs. Type SH Prelude

    The differences are subtle. The Type SH has a sticker on the rear, a standard rear spoiler (you can tell if there is no 3rd brake light in the rear window that the car is a Type SH), a leather shift knob (instead of the standard Honda shifter), The Type SH ONLY came equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, and different 16" spoke alloy wheels (straight 5 spokes as opposed to the base model which came with 16" saw blade style 5 spokes) & Honda's ATTS (Active Torque Transfer System) which routes power to the outside wheel when cornering to reduce understeer. The base model weighs less than the Type SH model. The Type SH Prelude has puddle lamps on the inside of the doors.

    My only gripe with my car was the fact that I had to replace the clutch at 52,000 miles. Apparently premature clutch wear is common on Type SH Preludes. In order to replace the clutch, the ATTS unit has to be disconnected & re-installed which according to Honda's shop manual requires an additional 4-5 hours of labor.

    My modifications to the car are:

    Apexi World Sport cat back exhaust system - I had to replace the exhaust system when I drove over a 3/4" thick steel plate in the road. The Apexi (Stainless Steel) is quieter than stock at idle/low speeds, doesn't drone on the highway, but when you jump on the gas it lets you know you're not driving any old 4cyl Honda.

    Suspension Techniques front & rear anti-roll bars - Thicker than stock & reduce body roll. Probably the best modification you can make to the Prelude.

    Centerforce Clutch: After the stock clutch burnt out at 52,000 miles, I didn't want to have to replace the clutch again after I got the repair estimate. It is 90% stronger than stock & doesn't feel any heavier.

    Brakes: My original brakes lasted 86,000 miles. I replaced them with Hawk Pads & Cross Drilled Brembro rotors in the front.

    Did I leave anything out?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • A friend of my owned a 98 RS when he was in high school. The thing was solid for at least 3 years with high mileage. If it wasn't for the engine seizing, he would have kept driving it. Absolute blast to drive! The new Camaro is leaps and bounds better than that car and I loved that RS. I went down to my local MI Dealers and checked it it the other day. Might pick it up one of these days!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057
    If you have any questions feel free to email me, I would be happy to assist you in becoming a Camaro owner!
    GM Customer Service
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