Home / The Best Cars for Every Budget / The Best Used SUVs under $20,000

 

If you are looking for an SUV, you probably want to combine passenger room, cargo capacity, safety, reliability, and some style. To help you along we ranked several top models based on the opinions of experts, reliability data, safety ratings, and overall cost of ownership.

Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander ranks near the top in every aspect that we have ranked SUVs for. It packs plenty of creature comforts into a roomy passenger compartment. Additionally it has received top marks from the NHTSA and IIHS for safety. When you add class-topping fuel economy and low maintenance costs, you can see how the Highlander is a good bargain at any price. The 2009 model year fits nicely into our price point, but you can shop in the 2010 model year if you are willing to accept a few more miles on the odometer.

Ford Explorer

The Explorer may seem a bit lackluster in its styling, but it is a top performer in every other category measured for this article. It has received top safety ratings since it entered the market, the interior is comfortable and well laid out, and the Explorer has received great reliability reviews from past and present owners. You can find a well appointed 2009 Explorer with 4WD under the 20K price point here. Skip the 4WD and you can come in under $16,000 easily.

Ford Edge

The Ford Edge takes the top position in the crossover segment. It offers sharp styling and more than adequate space for five passengers. The interior offers all of the creature comforts that you could ask for, but some reviewers say they feel ”cheap”. The Edge has received great safety ratings, including for roof crush and rollover from the NHTSA and the IIHS. It also tops the SUV segment for reliability as noted by owners. To round out its resume, the Edge is rated for 25 mpg on the highway. The 2010 model year vehicles easily meet our $20,000 price point.

Honda Pilot

The compact SUV segment is very popular with couples and small families. The Honda Pilot offers the automakers legendary quality and reliability with the passenger space for four. Many professional reviewers note that, as with the Civic, the interior feels dated and cheap compared to competitor vehicles. Given that a well maintained Pilot is very likely to exceed a quarter-million miles, a cheap feeling interior should be a secondary consideration. You can find a wide variety of 2008-09 models that will come in under our price point.

Hyundai Santa Fe

While the Santa Fe is the last vehicle on our list, it is no way a poor option in the SUV segment. The Santa Fe’s place on the list is cemented by its very strong safety and reliability ratings, coupled with low maintenance needs and costs. The biggest con to a Santa Fe is that the standard 2.7L V6 does not respond well on acceleration. You can easily find a 2010 Santa Fe under $15,000, even with AWD for winter driving.

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