SUVs have always been considered to be luxury vehicles. Thanks to their spacious interiors, fuel efficiency, and ease of control, these vehicles come with a high price tag. However, some SUVs are reliable, have great resale value, ensure customer satisfaction, and come with advanced safety features without an exorbitant price. Are you searching for the best SUV for under $20,000? These are my picks:
Top 5 SUVs Under $20,000 With the Highest Reliability
This reliable SUV ranks high in the reliability department. Unsurprisingly, it was named the #1 model in the Subcompact SUVs category by the US News and World Report.
Not only is this SUV very reliable, but it also has plenty of passenger and cargo space. This model is a true cost-saver and offers a high value for the money since it has great fuel economy as well.
2. Nissan Kicks
Despite its compact looks, the Nissan Kicks is more spacious than what you might think. It’s also a very reliable vehicle! This sub-$20,000 SUV feels very nimble around corners thanks to its quiet yet powerful engine. To top it all, it is also very fuel-efficient. It can also become your entertainment center with its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
Spoiler alert: the Kicks is at the very top of our list for the best SUV under $20,000.
3. 2017 Ford Escape
The highly-rated 2017 Ford escape is one of the most reliable SUV hybrids that you can find under $20,000. The turbocharged engine is fuel-efficient and generates decent power for a vehicle of this size. This SUV works its way nimbly around corners and has several user-friendly features (such as Apple CarPlay) that work reliably and consistently. This is a very dependable SUV for families with a spacious interior.
Not only that, there are very few reported problems with the 2017 Ford Escape. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
4. 2018 Dodge Journey
Believe it or not, the reliability of the Dodge Journey instills confidence in drivers (no, seriously!). This all-wheel-drive SUV is capable of facing off against all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. Despite its high performance, its fuel economy is impressive. The Dodge Journey negotiates corners and uneven ground with finesse, and it utilizes innovative technology to provide a drive experience of the highest standard.
5. 2019 Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento makes for a great second-hand deal fora midsize SUV with high reliability. The Sorento is equipped with a premium cabin that has plenty of space lined with plush upholstery. Even the base price for this striking whip is below the average for midsize SUVs. You can enjoy a ride of high comfort thanks to its strong chassis and well-designed suspension.
Top 5 SUVs Under $20,000 With the Highest Resale Value
1. Mitsubishi Outlander
Not only does the Mitsubishi Outlander have a good resale value, but it also has lower fuel and insurance expenses than other models in the same category. Not only that, you can rely on it for being a sturdy and reliable vehicle. The lengthy warranty reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in the durability of this rugged vehicle – despite what you may personally feel about the Mitsubishi brand (which, I’m guessing, is not great). FYI, even I’m surprised that a Mitsubishi has made our list of the best SUV under $20,000, but it is what it is.
2. 2015 Nissan Xterra
The Nissan Xterra enjoys a high resale value on account of its attractive features like durability, power, smooth ride, responsive steering, and spacious interior. It has excellent off-road capabilities and will, therefore, be a fine candidate for off-road adventurers and enthusiasts looking for a great bargain. It is equally deft on the road and has plenty of towing power.
3. 2018 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 looks solid and it certainly does not disappoint (it doesn’t disappoint me, anyway). This versatile SUV has practically everything that you could ask for – including abundant cabin space, high fuel economy, plenty of power, as well as great fuel economy. This is one of the most athletic and agile SUVs that you will find with great safety features. All of these features combine for a relatively high resale value, by the way, earning it a solid spot on our “best SUV under $20,000” list.
4. 2017 Jeep Wrangler
The iconic Jeep Wrangler is deeply admired for its fantastic capabilities and high resale value. You can opt for the two-door off-road version to experience the rush of the great outdoors. If you will be driving mainly on paved roads, then you can select models with a nicer interior (cloth upholstery). The Jeep Wrangler is a versatile vehicle with high reliability and many great features that have turned it into an American legend.
5. 2015 Lexus RX
The Lexus RX is one of the best crossover SUVs with high resale value. The model has impressive specs for a vehicle of this category. If you are lucky enough, you can find a hybrid version that has even better gas mileage than the standard model. Depending on your driving style, you can go for all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The RX is great in either regard.
Top 5 SUVs Under $20,000 With the Highest Customer Satisfaction
1. Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue enjoys high customer satisfaction due things such as superior ride quality. The interior is very high quality and it can insulate you well from the noise and commotion of the every day world. There is loads of space in the cabin, and the rear seat is particularly roomy with plenty of legroom for people of all sizes. This is also a personal favorite of mine for the title of the best SUV under $20,000.
2. Ford Ecosport
As its name suggests, the Ford Ecosport sports a powerful engine with strong towing capabilities that are well above average. The vehicle is every bit as fuel-efficient and agile as its title implies. Therefore, the Ecosport elicits high customer satisfaction. The vehicle also has a surprisingly spacious and upscale interior for its category.
3. Nissan Kicks
The Nissan Kicks enjoys a high rate of customer satisfaction since it purveys many wonderful features for its economical price. Customers love its agility, comfort and offroad capabilities. The excellent mileage and high cargo space offer great value for families that road-trip frequently. The opulent interior has plenty of space for a subcompact SUV.
4. 2018 Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500X not only has a terrific athletic look, along with a premium exterior that greatly enhances customer satisfaction. Other strengths such as vast cargo space, sophisticated drivetrain, and great handling make this one of my personal favorites. The Fiat 500X zips through corners and turns with an amount of enthusiasm that matches its sporty appearance.
5. 2017 Toyota RAV4
The 2017 Toyota RAV4 has the looks, features, and reliability that guarantee high customer satisfaction. The spacious high-class cabin is a great bargain at its price range. The fuel economy is also very good, as is overall durability. The RAV4 comes with standard high-tech features for a great driving experience like a Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, and Android Auto.
For what it’s worth, if a Toyota is what you want, the Highlander is a good choice too. Toyota Highlander problems are relatively few, so it’s defiantly a good option if you’re looking for something a little bigger.
Top 5 SUVs Under $20,000 With the Highest Safety Rating
1. Nissan Kicks
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded a top rating Nissan Kicks on account of its superior safety performance in front crash prevention, passenger-side test, and 5 different crash tests. Having said this, you need not look further for a subcompact SUV that will safeguard your family well. All of these stellar safety features come at a price that is one of the most economical in its category.
Notice how many times I’ve mentioned the Kicks already? I do believe that makes it a front-runner for DriveAndReview’s best SUV under $20,000.
2. Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson has an array of safety features that dazzle at its price range. It passes the IIHS’s incredibly tough tests with flying colors. In frontal collisions, it comes to a stop while using a smaller part of its body (compared to other similar SUVs) to absorb the impact. The Tucson surpasses other more expensive SUVs in collision testing. Note that an automatic braking system comes standard with the Ultimate Trim.
3. Mazda CX-3
If you want an SUV loaded with extensive safety features, then you should consider the Mazda CX-3. Although it is the smallest in Mazda’s SUV lineup, it ranks high in safety tests. Whether it is collision avoidance or crashworthiness, the Mazda CX-3 does well on all fronts. It may not be the beefiest SUV around, but it is certainly not short on high safety standards.
4. Buick Encore
The Buick Encore comes loaded with safety features that can help you to avoid collisions (such as rear park assist that alerts when a crash is imminent with objects close by). The lane departure warning feature alerts you if your vehicle drifts out of the lane without a turn signal indicator. The forward collision feature alerts you if you are tailing a vehicle too closely. These safety features give you all the reason you need to have high confidence in the Buick Encore.
5. Jeep Patriot
The Jeep Patriot has an assortment of safety features to protect you and your family. The ABS (Automatic Braking System) activates during extreme braking to stabilize and allows it to turn easily. The stability control can detect speeds at which there is a high chance of losing control (and will reduce speed accordingly).
My Pick: The Best SUV Under $20,000
Out of this eclectic list of the best SUVs under $20,000, the Nissan Kicks emerges as the clear cut winner. At its price range, the Nissan Kicks packs an astonishing array of features (and style) that makes it worth the investment. As well, its stellar ratings and owner reviews make it one that needs to be at the top of your list. If you need an affordable SUV, then the Nissan Kicks is the best option for you!