Best Used SUVs Under $20,000
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Best Used SUVs Under $20,000

By Autolist Editorial | January 20, 2021

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. 2017 - 2018 Mazda CX-5


The Mazda CX-5 made a name for itself nearly a decade ago by wrapping a fun-to-drive feel in a practical package. The second-generation version, which went on sale for 2017, took this car-based "crossover" SUV to another level, with greater sound insulation, better materials, superior cargo space, and a more refined engine.

Many Mazda CX-5s from 2017 and 2018 sell for less than $20,000, and they still handle corners better than most rivals and even boast all-wheel-drive (AWD). For buyers who need space but don't want to give up the joyful handling of a sports car, this compact SUV delivers.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic make a refined pair, but not a particularly exciting one, as is the case with many vehicles of this type. A turbo version went on sale for 2019 and alleviated the horsepower deficit, but it comes only on higher trim levels and is still past the $20,000 mark. But even then, the CX-5 is among the smartest and most fun-to-drive choices among late-model SUVs.

See Mazda CX-5 Listings

2. 2009 - 2015 Honda Pilot


The Honda Pilot is a midsize SUV featuring a third row and lots of cargo space. Honda has a reputation for making reliable vehicles, and this one is no exception. Although the current model of the Pilot has been around since 2016 and some land in this price range, all of the second-generation Honda Pilots land firmly in the under-$20,000 range.

The Honda Pilot remains a practical workhorse and family hauler, with seating for up to eight passengers. Models released after 2012 offer more modern conveniences, such as USB ports, and some later models even have a rear entertainment system and power tailgate. With a V6 engine and optional all-wheel drive, the Honda Pilot can get you where you want to go with ease.

See Honda Pilot Listings

3. 2014 - 2017 Toyota Highlander


Released in 2001, the Toyota Highlander popularized the car-based midsize SUV and quickly overtook longstanding favorites, such as the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It took years, however, for the Highlander to match rivals when it came to space.

With the third generation, released for 2014, Toyota cracked the formula. Highlanders of this vintage come with seating for up to eight passengers, up from seven in earlier cars. And many of the models made between 2014 and 2017 sell for under $20,000.

These models pack a super-smooth 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of 295 horsepower. They also deliver Lexus-like refinement (thanks to sharing some of the design with the Lexus RX also on this list), with enough practicality to rival the best three-row SUVs. While a minivan may offer more space, the Highlander is one of the best SUVs for everyday use.

Highlanders from this generation also offered some of the driver assistance technology common on new vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warning. It also achieved excellent ratings in safety assessments from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

See Toyota Highlander Listings

4. 2016 - 2017 Ford Edge


While the first generation of Ford Edges offered a merely adequate two-row SUV, the Edge made significant strides after Ford gave it a thorough redesign in 2016.

Based on the most recent Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, the second-generation Edge gained more space, refinement, and technology. It also packed a more energetic turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as standard equipment, although many Edge models were still equipped with a V6 engine and all-wheel-drive.

New features such as blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning started to appear on some Edge models. Most of the second-generation models' pricing pushes up against the $20,000 mark, but these earlier models are so similar to new ones on sale today that can cost upwards of $40,000 when modestly optioned. Also, the Edge's popularity means you should have little trouble finding one at your local dealer.

See Ford Edge Listings

5. 2010 - 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban


The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and mechanically related GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, are some of the largest SUVs available. They also enjoy intense popularity in the full-size SUV market due to their power and practicality.

They all boast burly V8 powertrains, rated as high as 405 horsepower, and can even be luxuriously equipped. As well, most of their models come with a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system.

The high-specification Yukon Denali trim comes with the Magnetic Ride Control suspension that's notable for its smoothness, the largest engine option, and even some driver assistance features like blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera.

Their size makes them tedious to maneuver in tight spaces, and fuel economy can easily dip below 20 mpg even if you're not lead-footed or towing. But if you're looking for power to haul both cargo and people, it's hard to beat this fearsome foursome.

See Chevrolet Tahoe Listings

6. 2016 - 2017 Kia Sorento


A longstanding nameplate, the Kia Sorento received a significant revision for 2016 that pushed it into the major league of midsize SUVs.

A turbo four-cylinder engine joined the previously available four-cylinder and V6 engines, as did better materials and a superior ride and handling, putting the Sorento firmly on par with heavyweights in the class from Honda, Toyota, and other automakers.

Many Kia Sorentos from these years are equipped with a third-row seat to allow for seven passengers, although the seat is small even for children.

The 2017 Sorento has more standard conveniences than the 2016 model, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and blind-spot monitoring. More than anything, the Sorento offers a nice compromise for any family torn between buying a bulky three-row SUV or a two-row, five-seat SUV.

See Kia Sorento Listings

7. 2013 - 2015 Lexus RX


Notable for its refinement and high resale values, the Lexus RX is another strong used SUV in this price range.

The base Lexus RX from this generation comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of 275 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. However, a much more fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid powertrain is available, producing a total output of 295 horsepower and a modest improvement in overall fuel economy.

Among the best used SUVs on the market, the Lexus RXs from these model years come in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Combine that with a spacious interior for five people that's also appointed with high-quality materials, plenty of standard and available luxury features, and an image for both reliability and poshness.

The Lexus RX is a highly desirable SUV that can be had for the price of a new compact hatchback.

See Lexus RX Listings

8. 2016 - 2019 Hyundai Tucson


The Hyundai Tucson has an impressive list of features, typical of Hyundai's cars. Its 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and there are available features such as a large panoramic moonroof and heated front seats.

While the standard four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission are unexciting, they make an adequately powerful team even when equipped with optional all-wheel-drive. A turbocharged four-cylinder is also available on highly-equipped models.

The Tucson is a practical package that is easy to live with and a lot of SUV for the money.

See Hyundai Tucson Listings

9. 2012 - 2016 Honda CR-V


The long-running Honda CR-V is one of America's most popular vehicles, so CR-Vs are bound to be plentiful on the used car market. While you may be able to find current-generation Honda CR-Vs for under $20,000, CR-Vs made before 2017 are much more common – some even with relatively low mileage.

Featuring durable and fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines, these SUVs boast tons of interior space, and many come equipped with all-wheel drive. While some trim levels sport leather upholstery, heated seats, a power tailgate, and a now-dated navigation system, models built from 2015 can also be equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision warning.

The CR-V is one of the most pragmatic picks of its class and a loyal hauler for every need.

See Honda CR-V Listings

10. 2014 - 2018 Nissan Rogue


One of the most popular SUVs in the US, the second-generation Nissan Rogue is known for its competent handling and exceptional safety scores.

It earned both a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS. Some of the Rogue's driver assistance and safety features include lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, which became more common after a 2017 revision.

This vehicle comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission, which isn't powerful but competitive for the class. Better still, the Rogue is a slightly less expensive option than rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but just as practical.

If the redesigned 2021 Rogue is out of reach, the outgoing model is worth a look for a bargain.

See Nissan Rogue Listings

11. 2009 - 2014 Toyota 4Runner


The Toyota 4Runner is a long-running nameplate that's grown increasingly popular among the off-road enthusiast set (and those who can't afford a Land Cruiser). However, it's not much less accomplished than its larger, cushier brother.

More recent 4Runners sport advanced versions of four-wheel drive, along with some creature comforts on Limited models. Most buyers, however, go for the less expensive SR5 model, which must have felt comically primitive when it came out, given its whopping $35,000-plus sticker. Fortunately, these models have dipped below the $20,000 mark and boast a robust 4.0-liter V6 engine and four-wheel drive. Some leather-lined Limited models might also approach the mark, but they tend to have higher mileage.

Either way, the 4Runner is a durable machine that can accommodate five people and their luggage with little hassle. It's also plenty competent on the road.

See Toyota 4Runner Listings

12. 2013 - 2018 Toyota RAV4


The Toyota RAV4 hit a milestone in 2018 when it became the top-selling non-truck in the United States. Backed by Toyota's reputation for reliability and an SUV's stability combined with a car's platform, the RAV4 became the ideal vehicle for people who want both versatility and efficiency and not to break the bank. T

hanks to the RAV4's popularity, many examples are available on the used car market. You don't have to look too hard to find some nice newer Toyota RAV4s for under $20,000. Many of these fourth-generation vehicles (which were only replaced by the 2019 redesign) come with a spate of modern perks, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a backup camera, and adaptive cruise control.

A hybrid version became available in 2016 for slightly improved power and efficiency.

See Toyota RAV4 Listings

13. 2014 - 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee


The Jeep Grand Cherokee has retained roughly its current form for a decade, but it's only recently started to feel it. Constant updates to the Cherokee's technology and styling have kept it fresh.

While the 2011-2013 models share much of the sophisticated mechanicals of later model years, including two all-wheel-drive setups, the 2014 models kept those features while also integrating a vastly improved infotainment system and more driver assistance features.

A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine also joined the gasoline V6 and V8 offerings, and a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission was made standard, features traditionally reserved for premium SUVs like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.

The popular Laredo and Limited trims also became available, sporting leather seats, large sunroofs, and other creature comforts. On top of its on-road comfort and practicality, the Jeep Grand Cherokee makes a formidable vehicle that is capable as an off-road tool or a towing machine.

And it can even do a respectable impression of a luxury SUV with its refinement and desirable badge.

See Jeep Grand Cherokee Lisitngs