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The Best Used SUVs Under $20,000

The Best Used SUVs Under $20,000

Here are the best used SUVs you can buy while on a budget

If you're looking for a used SUV under $20,000, we've got some good and bad news for you. The bad news is that If you're looking for a larger SUV, you'll need to go back a few more model years and be willing to deal with higher mileage. The good news is that we've done some of this legwork for you. We've put together a list of the best used SUVs you can get for under $20,000.

This list is based on Edmunds ratings and inventory listings. We list a range of model years to consider. Prices will vary wildly by location, age and mileage. Make sure to get the car inspected by a mechanic if you have doubts about its condition level. Read on for the best used SUVs you can buy while on a tight budget.

Mazda CX-5

You may need to look at slightly older CX-5s, or those with higher mileage, to find one under $20,000. The good news is that the CX-5 is a very appealing SUV throughout its generation, which began in 2017. A new infotainment system was introduced in 2021, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were available as early as 2017.

And the CX–5, no matter the year, is a lot of fun to drive. It offers great handling, and the available turbocharged engine is quite powerful. The upscale interior also helps the Mazda stand out from the juggernauts of the compact SUV class. The trade-off comes in size and space. There's less room for storage and passengers than in competitors, but that trade-off is worth it if you're looking for spirited driving in your SUV.

Edmunds Rating (2020): 8.1 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2020): 4.5 (out of 5)
Average sales price (2016-2020): $19,825

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is the last square-bodied SUV on sale today and stands out for both its looks and practicality. Note that Kia's famous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty reverts to five years or 60,000 miles for the second owner. Be mindful that older models may not have that coverage if the miles are too high. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on the base LX trim and stepping up to the third-tier EX trim gets you a lot of creature comforts, like heated seats, automatic climate control and a wireless phone charger.

The Soul was redesigned in 2020 and its on-road comfort improved. Its upright windshield means you're subjected to more wind noise than you'll experience in a more traditional SUV and tire noise is also noticeable. But the Soul is roomy thanks to its boxy shape; it has a roomier-than-usual second row and lots of space to store your gear in the trunk.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.8 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 3.9
Average sales price (2020-24): $17,961

Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is a great point A-to-point B SUV. It boasts roomy passenger space, a smooth ride and an easy-to-use infotainment system. Its storage capacity, at 33.8 cubic feet, is about average for the segment and doesn't match up to the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. But the appealing hybrid powertrain gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg in combined driving and is available starting on the SE trim.

That trim, which sits one above the base S model, is the Escape's most appealing. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an available package includes a host of advanced driver aids. These include adaptive cruise control and the ability to detect speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.7 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 3.8
Average sales price (2018-2022): $19,629

Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe shares a lot of similarities with the Kia Sportage, but we actually like the Santa Fe quite a bit more. You might need to get a slightly older Sportage, or one with higher mileage, to find one under $20,000. But even with that caveat, the Santa Fe is an appealing SUV thanks to its selection of advanced driver aids and upscale interior.

The Santa Fe was refreshed in 2021 and got a whole new set of powertrains, including a hybrid powertrain. The available 2.5-liter turbocharged engine is powerful and engaging, two things lacking from the base engine in 2017-20 models. The touchscreen can be a bit laggy, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features throughout the whole generation. Keep in mind that you may need to download a software update to install Apple CarPlay on 2017 models.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.7 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.1
Average sales price (2016-19): $18,894

Kia Niro

The Kia Niro is more a crossover than a true SUV, but it offers a respectable 19.4 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row. You'll also find a lot of places to store small items, and the second row folds flat to create a level storage surface. Its hybrid powertrain (all Niros are hybrids) offers an EPA-estimated 50 mpg in combined driving, which isn't quite as good as some hybrids but is still very fuel-efficient.

That efficiency comes at the expense of power. The Niro is a slow vehicle, and accelerating onto freeways or to pass other vehicles is laborious. However, technology is a strength of the Niro, which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all models. To get desirable driver aids, look for the EX trim and higher. They're mostly grouped in available packages.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.7 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.1
Average sales price (2017-2022): $18,321

Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is a very small SUV that manages to make the most of its tight footprint. It features a Magic Seat, a heavily adjustable back seat that can create more legroom and storage space and make accessing small children much easier. The HR-V's also relatively roomy, offering comfortable seating for adults in both rows.

Its engine is lackluster but an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in combined driving helps soften the blow. Its 23.2 cubic feet of storage space makes it one of the roomiest of the pint-size SUVs available. The Kia Soul, known for its spacious cargo area, only beats the HR-V by a small margin.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.6 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.1
Average sales price (2016-2020): $18,871

Hyundai Venue

There's a lot to like about the Hyundai Venue. It comes standard on the base SE trim with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, can carry 31.9 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat folded down, and a couple of advanced driver aids like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance.

The second-tier SEL trim adds some creature comforts, like automatic climate control, a couple of additional speakers, and blind-spot warning along with rear cross-traffic alert. The Venue isn't exactly fun to drive, but its EPA-estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg in combined driving is in line with the competition. While the Venue is a small vehicle, it makes great use of the space it has with an adjustable load floor and a removable cargo cover as standard features.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.4 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.0
Average sales price (2020-2024): $18,387

Nissan Kicks

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The Nissan Kicks was introduced in 2018, but it received a refresh in 2021 that changed the exterior styling, made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, and lightly upgraded the materials featured inside the small SUV. The Kicks is fuel-efficient, getting an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in combined driving, but it's slower than its competitors, going 0-60 mph in 10.7 seconds. And it lacks in the comfort department, owing to its front seats and rear bench.

But every Kicks comes with forward collision mitigation, reverse automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Upgrading to the midrange SV trim adds adaptive cruise control along with heated mirrors and keyless entry.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.4 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.3
Average sales price: (2019-2023): $18,658

Fiat 500X

The Fiat 500X stands out as an affordable fun-to-drive SUV with standard all-wheel drive. It is quite small, however, with limited storage space for passengers and their gear. The 500X is a good choice if you're looking for something distinctive, fun, and with an upscale interior, but it doesn't represent a significant upgrade in storage compared to a sedan. It has a bit less rear storage capacity (14.1 cubic feet) than a Honda Civic (14.8 cubic feet).

If you're looking for advanced driver aids, be sure to look for a 500X with the Advanced Driver Assistance Group installed. That package was available on all but the base Pop trim and is the only way to get desirable features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and lane departure warning.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.3 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.2
Average sales price (2018-2022): $19,410

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage slots between the three-row Kia Sorento and a couple of smaller SUVs, the Niro and the Soul. It got a significant refresh in 2020, making the 2021 model pretty appealing. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with an 8-inch touchscreen.

But it's a bit smaller than rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which means you get less storage space. The passenger room is ample, but there isn't much interior storage for their gear. Its fuel economy is also disappointing, particularly on the SX Turbo trim.

Edmunds Rating (2021): 7.2 (out of 10)
Average consumer rating (2021): 4.6
Average sales price (2018-2022): $20,008