Cars just not your thing? If you have different vehicle requirements and can’t find a car that meets your needs, have a look at a used SUV. While more expensive than cars when new, depreciation lets you get the vehicle capability you need at a price that fits your budget. Here are the SUVs that pack a value punch on the used market.
Jeep promotes the Patriot as the most affordable new SUV on the market, but buying used means even more vehicle for your money. Only looking at SUVs under $15,000 and under 50,000 miles? You have several Patriots to choose from. The interior is comfortable and spacious for the class, seating five in comfort with plenty of leg and head room. The 2.0-liter base engine struggles a bit around town, so the smarter choice is the 2.4-liter with a six-speed auto and all-wheel-drive. The Mazda CX-3 has better gas mileage and on-road driving feel, but the Patriot has best in class off-road capability, as Jeep tried to instill a bit of Jeepness into their “cute ute.” If you plan to haul people outdoors and off roads, look to the Patriot.
Since its introduction two decades ago, the Ford Escape has successfully navigated that tricky segment between cars and SUVs that we now call crossovers. The current Escape continues that success by offering a car-like driving experience with SUV capability and cargo. On road manners are reminiscent of the current Ford Focus, with a small footprint, nimble steering, stiff chassis, and quiet ride. Economy numbers are car-like too, with 30 MPG highway. On the SUV side, the Escape offers a commanding ride position and excellent visibility, it seats five with solid rear legroom, and putting the rear seats down results in 68 cu-ft of storage. Ford’s AWD system is highly rated, and offers security in poor weather conditions.
Often unfairly overlooked, Kia crams of ton of value into a small price. Like its name implies, the Sportage is the sporty SUV of the bunch, with an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine making an impressive 260 horsepower. The base 2.4-liter isn’t bad either, and achieves better fuel economy at 30 MPG highway. Storage is a bit smaller compared to competitors, however, the Sportage excels with a high quality interior, long list of standard features, sporty driving dynamics, and excellent brakes. Kia’s factory warranty is awesome, and you can easily find one with seven or more years of powertrain warranty left.
The Equinox is a big seller due to the right mix of cargo, efficiency, and AWD for a great price. Passenger space is impressive, and people over 6-foot-1 will fit comfortably in any seat. Put the rear seats down and you have 64 cu-ft for large cargo. The ride is quiet and composed over bumps, but the steering is more like a Silverado than a Camaro. When properly optioned, you’ll be able to tow 3,500 pounds, well above average for the class. Buyers should avoid the 2010 and 2011 model years with the 2.4-liter, as it suffered from high oil consumption issues. The 2013+ 3.6-liter V6 is the engine to get for rock solid reliability, and it’s much more powerful at 301 horsepower. The ‘nox gained 4G LTE Wi-Fi in 2015, and active safety features for 2016.