4x4 and Affordable

The Best Used 4x4s We’d Buy for $10,000 Right Now


January 24, 2019 Cars By Photo by GR Auto Gallery

Go into any dealership, tell the salesman you have a strict budget of $10,000 and you want to buy a new car. First, he’ll smile and try to hold back a laugh, then he’ll point in the direction of the “used car” lot. You can’t get much for $10,000 when it comes to new cars except for, maybe a couple things off the options list on a Porsche 911. On the other hand, in the used car realm, $10,000 opens up your world: sports cars, vintage cars, big, small, foreign or domestic, you’re spoiled for choice of halfway decent vehicles. That’s why used car shopping online can quickly spiral into an internet rabbit hole. To narrow the field, this time around we stuck to 4x4s and a budget of $10,000.

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport

The search for a Cherokee began about a year ago, born of a desire to have an all-purpose vehicle that could accommodate fly fishing gear and go off-roading and still cruise comfortably on the highway to and from New York City. The four-door Cherokee Sport offers the cabin room I’m looking for while still being relatively compact when compared with modern SUVs. Finding a simple, unmolested example is tricky as so many of these have been hacked up to be rock crawlers and mudders.

Crisp examples can still be found for under-$10,000, which makes these really approachable for an off-duty utility vehicle you wouldn’t think twice about putting through its paces. Besides, its boxy body design is charming by today’s standards and the wide array of available aftermarket parts makes it a great base for just about any application. — Jacob Sotak,, Content Director, Gear Patrol Store

Mileage: 133,000 miles
Original MSRP: $21,915

2009 BMW X3 xDrive30i

In a world where crossovers make up the vast majority of manufacturers’ stock, the BMW X3 is at an interesting point in the marketplace. When it first debuted, the X3 was a hit and BMW made a ton of them, particularly in the e83 body style. Its decently powered straight-six, sports sedan-like handling and nice lines make it an easy-to-flog weekend workhorse. And it turns out you can now find a slew of them on the used market, many with only a single previous owner. Many also have low miles due to so many having been leased. There are so many, in fact, that you find a trove of clean examples under $10,000 with less than 100,000 miles clocked and have your choice of color too. — Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing

Mileage: 84,034 miles
Original MSRP: $39,700

2010 Ford Ranger Sport

I drove a bitchin’ new Ranger my junior and senior years of high school. It was red with color matching steel bumpers. It was a Sport 4×4 model. It had those squirrely Firestone tires that tended to blow up. This is not that truck, and I’d wager that it’s a lot worse. But it’s still what I’d get, due mostly to nostalgia alone. Edmunds lists its cons as “cramped interior with dated design, choppy ride, subpar handling and braking, lacks many modern-day convenience and safety features.” So, you know, everything about it kinda sucks. Moreover, in 2010 the Ranger received a weaksauce mid-cycle refresh that only served to make it worse. This one features a V6 (“pep in the step,” says the dealer) and a two-tone interior (which is terrible). But there are few things like a simple little truck, especially from an era when trucks were trucks and crossovers – the invasive species that they are – were still an unknown. — Nick Caruso, Coordinating Producer

Mileage: 130,115 miles
Original MSRP: $25,800

1988 Toyota 4Runner

When it comes to buying 30-year-old-plus trucks, it doesn’t get much better than this. This first gen 4Runner comes with the original six-cylinder 3VZ-E engine, plus an upgraded transmission, transfer case and cable shifters and an aftermarket rear bumper. Inside it’s got an upgraded head unit and speakers, as well as working windows (the owner replaced the window board with new relays). The seats are in decent shape too. And best of all, the paint doesn’t look half bad for an old truck. Yeah, it’s got 280,000 miles on the clock, but who would own a 4Runner for this long and not drive the hell out of it? — Chandler Bondurant, Associate Staff Photographer

Mileage: 240,000 miles
Original MSRP: $16,000

1974 Suzuki Jimny

Here we have a 1974 Suzuki Jimmy, a fun-sized JDM 4×4 with a manual transmission and the words “TURBO EPI INTERCOOLER” written across the side. This example has only done roughly 41,073 miles. If you’re good at math, that means less than 1000 miles on average were put on this little guy each year. This thing is absolutely mint and I want it.– Hunter D. Kelley, Associate Designer

Mileage: 41,073 miles
Original MSRP: $2,800

1978 Ford F-150 Ranger

There’s a reason everyone is excited to see the new Ranger back on the road. When it left us back in 2012, the Ranger was a little lackluster, but the original F-150 Ranger was one of the F-150’s top trims. It was also one of the first models to get front disc brakes and a fuel tank located outside of the cabin and underneath the bed. That change afforded the Ranger more space in the cabin, and, you know, safety too.

Overall, this ’78 Ranger isn’t in very bad shape given its age. The undercarriage looks like it still has some life left in it, but judging by the way the engine bay looks, its a solid bet this isn’t the first time the five-digit odometer has seen 69,145 miles. With that said, these old Fords were built like tanks so even if the next few miles are rough, it’ll take them in stride. — Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer

Mileage: TMU
Original MSRP: $5,500+
The Worst Used Cars to Buy From 2007-2017

If you’re currently shopping for a used car, this is a good place to find the cars you don’t want. Read the Story

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