A brand new SUV will cost you well over $20,000 in most cases, but fortunately, it's not difficult to find used SUVs for this price. Thanks to the popularity of SUVs and leases, there are plenty of both large and compact SUVs in the used market, many of which have low miles and are only a few years old. Whether you're looking for a people hauler or off-road ability, there's something in the used market for you. Here are 15 choices for used SUVs under $20,000.
1. 2014-2018 Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 is a solid all-around SUV that features an upscale interior and design while also offering good fuel economy with either a 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The CX-5 only debuted in the U.S. for the 2013 model year, but the larger engine wasn't available until the 2014 model year. There are large numbers of these used SUVs on auto listing sites for $20,000 or less.
2. 2009-2015 Honda Pilot
The Pilot is a large three-row SUV featuring a third row and lots of cargo space. Honda has a reputation for making reliable vehicles, and this one is no different. You'll have to go back to the previous generation from 2009 to 2015 to find a model that's around $20,000 in good condition and without a lot of miles. But it will still feature a V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. At 2013, you could be looking at some reasonably low mileage versions. If you want to spend even less, look back at the 2009 and 2010 models with a bit more mileage.
3. 2010-2013 Toyota Highlander
Backed with typical Toyota reliability and high resale value, the Highlander is an excellent choice for a crossover with a third row. If you want a used SUV that is still relatively new with convenience features like rear-seat air conditioning, then the Highlander is an excellent choice with plenty of models under $20,000 and low mileage. If you don't mind over 100,000 miles on the odometer, then you can cut your price in half by looking at previous generation models between 2007 and 2009.
4. 2010 or older Toyota Sequoia
If you're in the market for a full-size, truck-based SUV with Toyota reliability, then a used Sequoia might be a perfect choice. The Sequoia model year here had a choice of V8 engines with plenty of power for towing and passing. Even the fuel economy wasn't bad for a vehicle this large at roughly 19 mpg on the highway. You'll be looking at 2010 or older though as the 2010 model usually goes for around $19,000 in the used car market.
5. 2010-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban
The Tahoe, Suburban and the identical platform-mate of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL are three of the biggest SUVs available. The model year range specified is from a previous generation, so it's reasonably easy to find vehicles for around and under $20,000. Searching for any of these on auto listing sites yields fruitful results. These big SUVs feature strong V8 engines with as much as 405 horsepower. If you want some luxury to go with the power, then consider the Yukon Denali trim, which has the smooth GM Magnetic Ride Control suspension. If you're looking for power to haul both toys and people, it's hard to beat this powerful foursome.
6. 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade
Another even more luxury option in a large SUV is undoubtedly the Escalade. The model year range indicated starts in the early part of the third generation and goes back into the second generation for older models. A 2008 model is likely to set you back around $18,000, but you'll get a V8 engine, classic styling, and an undeniably luxurious nameplate.
7. 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler
Not only is it probably the most fun you'll have in a used SUV, but it's perhaps one of the most fun cars ever. The JK generation of Wrangler has been out since the 2007 model year and has only recently ended production, which means that vehicles in the above year range are starting to go down in price. The Wrangler here was available in both four-door and two-door versions with both versions still showing an iconic design and top-free capability. If you want an on-road Wrangler, then the Sahara provided luxury features like leather seats. If you're looking mainly for an off-road Wrangler, then consider the Rubicon trim, which added several reinforced items for better off-road skills. In this generation, the updated 2011 or newer models have better reliability ratings and can still be found for under $20,000. If you're looking for a compact SUV with an even more utilitarian design, consider going back to the last models of the 1997-2006 TJ Wrangler, which can still be found at decent mileage for between $10,000 and $16,000 depending on the trim and options.
8. 2005-2015 or older Nissan Xterra
The Xterra stopped production after the 2015 model year, so plenty of older models can be found under $20,000. It was a rugged and durable SUV with body-on-frame construction. It had very competent off-road ability and plenty of power with a robust V6 engine. If you want something reliable on the road and capable off-road, the Xterra is a good pick.
9. 2016-Present Mazda CX-3
The main plus of this subcompact SUV is that the 2019 model is available for just over $20,000 MSRP, which means that used versions can easily be found under that amount. Not only that, but the current CX-3 isn't much different from the ones that came out in 2016. If you want a luxury trim with features such as real leather seats and an infotainment system, then the Grand Touring versions are also available below this price point as used vehicles. The CX-3 represents excellent value in the compact SUV category.
10. 2008-2014 Honda CR-V
One of the top-rated SUVs ever by Consumer Reports, the CR-V is easily found below $20,000 if you go back some five years. The CR-V is well-known for its reliability with a recent study showing that owners of this compact SUV have held onto their vehicles for over 15 years. The 2014 model generally retails for over $15,000, but if you look for older and higher mileage, you can get an even lower price point.
11. 2013 - 2015 Lexus RX
The RX is currently one of the most popular crossover SUVs available and the third-generation through the model years mentioned are generally easy to find for under $20,000. The standard version of the RX, also known as the RX 350, offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out about 275 horsepower. If you can find it, the hybrid version gets much better gas mileage at 30 mpg overall against the 20 mpg of the standard version. In either version, you still have the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
12. 2008-2011 Toyota 4Runner
The 4Runner is another one of Consumer Reports' best-rated vehicles, and you have to go back to 2005 to find versions that don't have top ratings from the trusted magazine. Like most Toyota vehicles, the 4Runner tends to hold its value, so you if you want something under $20,000, you'll have to search older than 2011. The good news is that you're likely to be able to run it for over 200,000 miles. The generation sweet spot is the fourth generation and near the end of it. With the fifth-generation in production for several years now, you should be able to find some deals.
13. 2016-2018 Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 hit a milestone in 2018 as it became the top-selling non-truck in the United States. Backed with Toyota reliability plus SUV stability in a car platform, it became the ideal vehicle for plenty of people who wanted cars, but also SUV features. Thanks to its popularity, large numbers of the vehicle sold, which makes the used car market rife with deals. You don't have to look very hard to find some excellent newer models for under $20,000. The model year range mentioned is part of the fourth generation, which only recently came to an end. If you want an even better deal, you can look back into the third generation to find some higher mileage RAV4s for right around $10,000 or less.
14. 2009-2015 Toyota Venza
The Venza left the U.S. market back in 2015, but it had strong reliability scores during its short run. It was a mid-size crossover SUV with more of a station wagon look. It was based on the Camry chassis and offered a four-cylinder and six-cylinder engine. The Venza had a more car-like feel versus its eventual successor in the Highlander. The recommended model years from Consumer Reports are available for under $15,000, making the Venza a lot of SUV for the money, and a good alternative to a Highlander if you don't need three rows of seats.
15. 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee is another venerable American SUV with a go-anywhere vibe. It's currently in its fourth generation as of 2011 and got an update for the 2014 model year, and has consistently been one of the best-selling Jeep models and best-selling SUVs in its class. Even if you are only considering AWD models, there are plenty to be found in the year range mentioned for under $20,000. Top trims like Trailhawk, Summit and Overland are still available in this price range, although there are less of them overall. If you're looking for something a bit smaller, you can also take a look at the Cherokee, which has been converted to a crossover style and has been selling very well in its fifth generation.