A new SUV doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. While upscale features and options can send the price skyward, there are still plenty of affordable sport-utility vehicles out there. Here are 10 of our favorite SUVs under $30,000.
1. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe is a midsize SUV packed with value. A facelift for 2021 brings updated styling and a new dashboard. The Santa Fe offers room for up to five and three available powertrains; a basic four-cylinder, a turbocharged four-cylinder, and a hybrid, which returns 39 mpg in the city. On top of that, Hyundai HYMTF, offers an industry-leading 5-year/60,000 mile basic and 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
2. 2021 Honda CR-V
The CR-V has long been one of the leading compact SUVs on sale. In its current generation, it offers loads of cargo space and a functional interior with great storage solutions. A hybrid model joined the lineup last year, and is rated at 38 miles per gallon combined by the EPA. Overall, we love the Honda HMC, -0.45% CR-V for its consistency and build quality, which leads to great resale value.
3. 2021 Kia Seltos
Kia’s Seltos was an all-new model for 2020. It’s technically a subcompact SUV, but clever packaging means it’s larger than most vehicles in its segment. The Seltos has bold styling—a theme for Kia 000270, +1.78% recently—and is available with loads of features. Two engines are offered; the more potent of which is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 175 horsepower. All-wheel drive is available across the board, and actually comes standard on many trims.
Also on MarketWatch: The 10 comfiest cars for less than $30k
4. 2021 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 isn’t the most modern compact SUV on sale, but it remains one of our favorites given it’s blending of mainstream pricing with luxury-car refinement inside and out. For this reason, the Mazda MZDAY, +1.22% CX-5 is an exceptional value-laden alternative to the SUV offerings of Lexus and Acura. The base engine is a 187 horsepower four-cylinder, though a turbocharged version of that engine is also available and makes 250 horsepower. Inside you’ll find an exceptional interior with luxury appointments.
5. 2021 Toyota RAV4
Toyota’s TM, -0.46% RAV4 is America’s bestselling vehicle that isn’t a full-size pickup. It offers a little bit of everything; a rugged aesthetic, efficient powertrains, standard active safety features, and excellent reliability. We’re especially drawn to the RAV4 Hybrid model, which offers standard all-wheel drive and is rated at 40 mpg combined, setting the standard for efficiency in the compact SUV segment.
6. 2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Ford’s F, -1.45% new Bronco and Bronco Sport are the two most-hyped vehicles of 2020. While the main Bronco serves as a Jeep Wrangler competitor, the Bronco Sport is built on the same underpinnings as the Ford Escape, and is designed to blend crossover sensibility with added off-road capability. It’s a vehicle that’ll achieve 28 mpg on the highway, and then tackle the three mile trail to your campsite with significantly more confidence than your average Escape or CR-V.
7. 2021 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue is Nissan’s NSANY, +0.35% most important vehicle, and it’s all new for 2021. A compact SUV, the Rogue counts the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V as its top competitors. Nissan has placed an emphasis on safety with the latest Rogue, and every trim level comes standard with the company’s suite of active safety features. Nissan’s ‘ProPilot Assist’ system is also available, which is capable of guiding the vehicle down the highway unassisted over short distances, and now incorporates navigation data on upper trims to anticipate curves and exits.
8. 2021 Hyundai Kona
The subcompact Hyundai Kona packs a lot of fun powertrain elements into a small package. It’s available with a small turbocharged engine, a fast-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Beyond that the Kona has a sporty exterior and a lot of tech inside, even in its lower trims. The Kona can be had pretty much loaded for about $29,000 and change, making it one of the most well-equipped new SUVs under $30,000.
9. 2021 Subaru Forester
The Forester is a viable alternative to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. Unlike those vehicles, which offer all-wheel drive as optional, the Subaru FUJHY, -0.70% Forester comes standard with four-wheel traction, though you pay for it in the form of a slightly higher base price. The Forester checks all of the boxes in the compact SUV segment; it’s spacious enough for the needs of most buyers, packs standard active safety tech, and a good array of standard and available features.
10. 2021 Jeep Wrangler
The other SUVs under $30,000 on this list ride on what are essentially car platforms. One structure makes up both their body and their frame, they use a road-oriented fully-independent suspension setup, and they offer simple all-wheel drive systems. The Wrangler turns that on its head. It’s got a body-on-frame construction, uses solid axles font and rear, and packs a traditional low-range transfer case, all of which combine to make it one of the most capable off-roaders on sale. It also comes standard with a removable roof and doors. In other words, it’s a recipe for fun; just don’t expect it to return much more than 20 mpg in real-world driving.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.