Mazda MX-5 MK2
The Mazda MX-5 is every petrol heads reason to not listen to their wives or significant others or even society. The MX-5 is what many perceive as being the best convertible one can buy. The fact that you can pick one up for under £3,000 blows my mind. Some say it may be a hairdressers car or that it's too 'girly' but I think otherwise. If you want a hairdressers car get an Audi TT... You may be wondering why I didn't go for the classic Mazda Miata. There are several reasons for this. 1. If you do get one for under £5k it will most likely be a rust bucket and 2. continuing with my first point, it will cost you a shed load in repairs, so don't bother.
Austin Mini Cooper
It isn't easy to find one of these in working condition for under £5k but it can be done. There are currently two for sale on Autotrader for around £4k, while they may not be in the best condition possible, they'll be a laugh. This is a car which I think you have to own before your twenties are over and you are a car enthusiast. The Mini is iconic. Even if you can't find a classic one at this price, the 2002 model is a fantastic car.
Land Rover Defender
We've all been there, we have all wanted a Defender at some stage in our lives, but how many of us actually go through with getting one? Are we too scared of the maintenance or the fact that it will never start? Quite possibly, but you can't look at a problem you have to look through a problem and that's the key with the Defender. I would love one of these and will hopefully get my hands on one in the near future, before they all cost £20k+!
Porsche 986 Boxster
With this being labeled the best budget summer sports car, how could it not be on the list? The 986 may not be the prettiest car on this list but it will be a hoot to drive. Imagine taking this for a spin on a crisp British summers morning, roof down, birds chirping and a raspy 2.5L flat six behind you. This is probably the most fun you could have with £5,000.
This might be an odd one, but hear me out! The Renault Twizy is the best option for anyone who lives in a busy city like London or who wants to help the environment. It's basically a poor mans Tesla right? Maybe, but it just looks so cool and with scissor doors you can't really say no. It has 'two seats' and enough storage for some nail clippers but then again it's not meant for long trips or shopping outings, this is a point a to point b car that is definitely worth the £5k.
It may not be the most exciting car ever, but it's still a BMW. These go for dirt cheap on Autotrader, they've probably been thrashed through the gears on the M25 by some yobo but with a bit of TLC and a wax, it'll be all good. Oh yeah, and maybe a new gearbox. Still a great car with enough umpf to get you where you want to be in a BMW like fashion.
Volkswagen MK5 Golf GTI
My dad had one of these when I was growing up and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. They're such versatile cars and it astonishes me that you can get a pretty nice one for under £5k. I think for a second car for a youth it is a great option. I'm definitely considering one of these for the next few years, they're top notch.
Mini Cooper S
Such a cool car. You may be wondering why I have put this here when there is already a classic Mini further up. Well, as I mentioned earlier, the older Mini's are harder to come by when you are on a budget but these are common as muck and at a good price. If you manage to get a Cooper S, which shouldn't be all that difficult then you are in for a treat. These are mega cars and with the right exhaust will definitely crackle and pop at your every wish.
Lexus IS 200
Often turned into a track car, the IS 200 is a great car for those who want to take up light track racing at the weekends. These are respected worldwide and have a great reputation when it comes to reliability. You can get one in good condition for around £3k which for a fun track car or even just a fun daily is superb.
Honda Civic Type R 2005
You may think boyracer when you look at this, but they're not bad cars. They have an excellent amount of power which is great for everyday use (and the occasional car park drag race) and they look phenomenal. They are very tune-able cars if you wanted a bit more power and they are very reliable, easy cars to live with.