The 10 Best SUVs to Buy for Under $20K

December 15th, 2023 by

In the market for an SUV but not in the mood to break the bank? Join the millions of others looking to avoid big spending this holiday season. Prices have risen seemingly everywhere, and the auto market is no exception. The average price of a new car has risen to upwards of 48,000 – and SUVs are often at the upper echelon of the price spectrum. 

Thankfully, the used car market has started to level off, and several high-quality, recent models have rejoined the ranks of affordability. Here are ten of the best used SUVs available, each with a confirmed minimum average price of less than $20,000. 

2017 Ford Escape 

The 2017 Ford Escape SUV

The 2017 model of the Escape went through a thorough cosmetic update and gained an optical 245-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It took home numerous top awards as a result and can be yours today for a beyond reasonable price. Best of all, its vaunted, top-of-the-line Titanium trim should now be out there in the world for under the $20K mark. 

2017 Kia Niro 

The 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Hatchback

The Niro was introduced in 2017 as a swift and efficient hybrid hatchback, with fuel economy ratings of 52 city/ 49 highway. But the Niro stood out as a more affordable option than the Prius and outdid Toyota’s hybrid in many ways. For instance, the car’s tight steering and maneuverability make it ideal for tight parking spaces and city driving. But it all comes back to efficiency, and six years later, little has changed on that count. 

2018 Jeep Renegade 

The 2018 Jeep Renegade SUV

The perfect choice on this list for the off-road adventurer, the Renegade’s boxy frame highlights its excellent headroom and overall solid build. Consider it a more affordable alternative to its big brother the Cherokee. If able, seek out the Limited trim – a top choice for regular features – and the off-road enhancing Trailhawk trim. 

2018 Chevrolet Equinox 

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox SUV

The Equinox’s third generation began in the 2018 model year, offering three available engines and a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. The Equinox is a great choice for young families, as it earned fantastic reliability and safety scores. It’s deceptively spacious, the interior is soft and comfortable, and this 2018 model handles quite gracefully. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Like the Equinox, the Santa Fe features a level of spaciousness you wouldn’t expect from the outside. It sports an abundance of passenger room and cargo space in equal measure. The second-row seats can be folded from the tailgate area. It may not blow you away with innovation, but with its high safety scores, driver assist, and active safety features, the 2019 Santa Fe is fueled by practicality. 

2019 Subaru Forester 

The 2019 Subaru Forester SUV

The Forrester won’t blow you away with performance and speed, but what it lacks in flare it more than makes up for in all-around capability. It’s powered by a four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower, has a technically modern and comfortable interior, and generally lacks downsides. Though the more popular Limited and Touring trims still fall out of our price range, it’s hard to go wrong with the 2019 Forester when it comes to checking every box. 

2019 Buick Encore 

The 2019 Buick Encore SUV

Although not technically a luxury brand, Buick’s vehicles often feel cut from the same cloth. The Encore is no exception, with a flashy exterior and an interior that guarantees a smooth, comfortable, and quiet ride every time you hit the road. A range of popular, unique trims include the luxury-enhancing Essance and upgraded Sport Touring. You’ll be hard pressed to find a subcompact this fleet-of-foot at such a price point. 

2019 Hyundai Kona 

The 2019 Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV

Ah, the quirky subcompact of the group. Although it lacks the cargo space of more traditional SUVs, the Kona rocks a funky design and is as much fun to drive as it is to gawk at. The 2019 model added crucial standard features such as automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a driver-attention monitor. Overall, the Kona feels more expensive than it actually is. 

2020 Kia Sportage 

The 2020 Kia Sportage compact SUV

Style points abound for this sharply designed compact SUV. Though it may not perform to the level of some of its competitors, the interior gets the job done. Perhaps most importantly, no one would be able to guess you were able to purchase this nearly new crossover for under $20K. 

2014 Lexus RX 

The 2014 Lexus RX SUV

The RX’s value has largely held thanks to Toyota’s corporate reliability – and also because the RX offers a superior amount of luxury with a low risk of costly repair bills. You’ll probably have to go back nearly a decade, and some of the features and tech will be dated. That said, to be able to purchase an SUV of this quality at this price point speaks for itself. 

Get On the Road in No Time 

No matter what you’re in the market for, you won’t find a better hookup than HoneyCar, Winchester’s number one pre-owned dealership. Make car buying easy again; choose your car, get financed, and drive it off the lot! Schedule a test drive today and head into the new year with your heart light and your wallet full. 

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