Top picks for a used SUV under $20,000

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No matter what sort of SUV you’re looking for — big, small, or medium, efficiency-first or heavy duty, there are bargains to be found in today’s used SUV market. With $20,000 to spend, your selection includes some nearly new models, some recent hybrids, and some older models with serious capability on-road and off. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a taste of it on this list. 

Here are 10 of the best used SUVs you’ll find under $20,000.

1. 2015 Toyota Highlander

The 2015 Toyota
Highlander is safe, comfortable, reliable, spacious, and feature-packed — everything you want in a family-oriented SUV. At this price point, look for the Highlander XLE trim level. If you want the excellent hybrid version, look for a 2014. 

You might like: 10 of the cheapest new 3-row SUVs for 2024

2. 2015 Honda Pilot

Squared-off good looks and a well-designed 8-passenger interior set the 2015 Honda
Pilot apart from the crowd. It has fuel-efficient performance, plus strong reliability and resale value to sweeten the deal.

3. 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The 2016 Toyota RAV4


The first-ever hybrid model of the iconic compact SUV, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid made a lot of sense then and continues to now. Available on our budget in top-spec XLE and Limited trims, the RAV4 Hybrid scores 34 mpg in town and 31 mpg on the highway and comes with a power moonroof, power liftgate, and more. The RAV4 Hybrid comes with all-wheel drive, and if you’d rather not have the hybrid, there’s a reasonably efficient base 4-cylinder, too, which defaults to front-wheel drive. 

Read: 20 ways to squeeze better gas mileage out of your car

4. 2016 Honda CR-V

Although it’s not a hybrid, the 2016 Honda CR-V won Kelley Blue Book’s Small SUV Best Buy Award when new, meaning it was the best compact SUV on the market. These days, you can find even top-tier Touring models for less than $20,000, packing all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, a premium audio system, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and more. 

5. 2019 Subaru Forester

One of the newest SUVs on this list, the 2019 Subaru
Forester is a smart-sized 5-passenger SUV that bridges the gap between city-friendly and wilderness-capable. For this model year, the Forester was all-new, with a roomier interior filled with smart storage spaces. For our $20,000 cap, your best bet is the Forester Premium. 

Read: The 10 most unreliable vehicles for 2024, according to Consumer Reports

6. 2017 Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5


For a sportier choice that’s still as practical, efficient, and comfortable as you want for the daily grind, consider the 2017 Mazda
CX-5. Stylish looks and a premium cabin are also part of the mix, with our budget affording fully loaded examples. That means amenities like leather seating, Bose audio, advanced driver-assist safety features, a head-up display, and even heated rear outboard seats. 

7. 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

The Nissan Rogue


Another hybrid compact SUV value is the 2018 Nissan
Rogue, with 33 mpg in town and 35 mpg on the highway (31/34 mpg with AWD), and a great deal of equipment in the SV and SL trims at the sweet spot of our budget. Look for models equipped with the optional Sun and Sound Touring package and its panoramic sunroof. 

8. 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe

If your need for an SUV includes large cargo capacity, reasonable payload, or considerable towing capacity, the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe will probably meet your needs. Based on GM’s
full-size truck line, the Tahoe fits 108.9 cubic feet of cargo behind the first row, seats up to nine, and can tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly configured. 

Read: How old is too old for a used car? Here are the main things to consider when buying one.

9. 2015 Dodge Durango

One of the most handsome SUVs ever to grace the road, the humble 2015 Dodge Durango‘s spacious cabin and bold stance hint at its placement somewhere above the midsize SUV class but below the full-sizers like the Tahoe and the Ford Expedition. With a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 in reach of our budget in the form of the Durango R/T, this option puts V8 capability — like 7,400 pounds of towing capacity — in a nimbler package. 

10. 2020 Chevrolet Trax

The Chevy Trax


For a nearly brand-new SUV that’s also great in the city, the 2020 Chevrolet Trax offers a high driving position, seating for five, and 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space in a compact but comfortable package. Our budget should afford the top-spec Premier model, which comes with Bose audio, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, and upgraded safety features. 

Also see: Look for these models if you’re shopping for a used midsize SUV under $25,000

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