Cheapest New SUVs of 2020

The cheap SUV and crossover market is extensive in the USA, with mainstream brands offering numerous options and trims varying in performance, classification, and price to those seeking an affordable family carrier. Buyers on a budget have never before had so many choices between affordable vehicles, from small five-seater cruisers to big eight-seater machines and everything in between. Fortunately, within our comprehensive car buyers guide, we’ve reviewed the cheapest new SUVs for sale on the US market at present, to buy, rent, or lease, new or used. They’re easy to compare against one another, too, thanks to our nifty comparison tool.

Advice for Choosing the Most Affordable SUVs

The class is a very versatile and diverse one with a range of machines suited to casual commuters, or purposed performers aimed at those that mix work with play, and even others catering to the eco friendly with hybrids and EVs. In this context, shoppers will know what they want when perusing whether it’s an A to B transport, comfy vacationer, fun-to-drive marauder, capable off-roader, or emissions-free trophy. There are, however, a few other factors to consider when purchasing from this segment.

  • Power: Because motors in this segment are usually on the larger, heavier side of the spectrum, variants with low-displacement power plants especially can feel somewhat underpowered and lackluster. With that in mind, looking for either a turbocharged trim within the selection, or trim with a larger displacement mill, could be what makes the difference. Even the cheapest SUV can offer an exceptional driving experience, given an adequate powertrain.
  • Safety: The NHTSA has explained that SUVs, because of their high riding nature, are three times more susceptible to rolling over in an accident than regular motors. Thus, insurance companies tend to charge more for financial coverage on average than they do for any other class. With that in mind, shoppers should ensure that the wheels they opt for, have enough advanced driver assists and active safety measures to warrant their own safety and hopefully mitigate some of the insurer’s costs.
  • Value for money: Finding the least expensive SUV for your budget is one thing, but making sure it’s the best affordable SUV is something else. This means shopping for the cheapest SUV that will still provide you with sufficient safety, convenience, and comfort, and not compromise on these things simply for the lowest cost.

Typical Cheap New SUV Specifications

Because of how much autos, in general, have progressed over time with how competitive and innovative the automotive industry is, even most entry-level cars now have comprehensive specification levels. The Kia Seltos, to debut in 2021, for example, ships with luxuries such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-inch infotainment system touchscreen, full smartphone connectivity, keyless entry, and remote trunk release, all for an MSRP of only $21,990. These are the features and functionalities most contemporary vehicles come standard with at the base level, nowadays. Higher tier models and available options can, in some cases, even elevate these rides to luxury-level status, which is in line with segment demands.

Most affordable SUVs are equipped with low-displacement naturally aspirated engines and a standard front-wheel-drive setup, both of which are ideal for cruising around the urban environment. Some are, however, presented with all-wheel-drive or 4x4 setups by default, which is usually the case when off-roading is their core intended purpose. Whatever the case, some of the common traits shared by most, if not all SUVs, are a commanding driving position with excellent outward visibility, a raised ride height, a spacious cabin, and highly practical cargo hold. Additionally, the capacity to carry at least five passengers in comfort is seen as a given for the class.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros

  • Most offer good overall value at a relatively low cost with plenty of features
  • Cabins are typically commodious and comfortable
  • Good compromise between driving comfort and rugged ability
  • They’re practical for everyday use and out-of-the-ordinary trips like off-road adventuring

Cons

  • Larger, heavier versions are not as fuel-efficient as regular motors
  • The NHTSA states that SUVs are three times more likely to roll over
  • SUV owners pay anything from ten to 20 percent more for insurance
  • Bulky size can mean less maneuverability in tight spaces

FAQs about Cheap SUVs

What is the best sport-utility vehicle available for under $20,000?

According to CarBuzz’s BuzzScore rating scales, the 2020 Kia Soul is the best crossover SUV money can buy for under $20k. The six-model lineup is offered with a starting MSRP of only $17,490 which increases to a reasonable $27,490 for the top-of-the-line GT-Line Turbo.

What’s the least expensive electric sport-utility vehicle?

Commendably, Kia also produces one of the most affordable electric SUVs, the Soul EV. The latest edition will carry an MSRP of around $35,000 and will deliver significantly improved EV performance compared to its 2019 predecessor, including an electron-only range of up to 243 miles on a single charge.
BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Kia Seltos
9.4
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#2
2021 Kia Soul
9.3
BuzzScore
8
Design
10
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#3
2020 Mazda CX-30
9
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#4
2020 Hyundai Venue
8.6
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
8
Safety
9
Value
#5
2020 Subaru Forester
8.6
BuzzScore
7
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#6
2020 Buick Encore GX
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
7
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
10
Value
#7
2020 Hyundai Kona
8.4
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
7
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#8
2020 Honda HR-V
8.4
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#9
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
8.4
BuzzScore
7
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#10
2020 Nissan Kicks
8
BuzzScore
8
Design
6
Performance
8
MPG
7
Interior
7
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#11
2020 Mazda CX-3
8
BuzzScore
10
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
7
Interior
7
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#12
2020 Ford Escape
8
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
7
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#13
2020 Chevrolet Equinox
7.8
BuzzScore
6
Design
6
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#14
2020 Toyota C-HR
7.6
BuzzScore
9
Design
6
Performance
6
MPG
5
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
7
Value
#15
2020 Buick Encore
7.6
BuzzScore
7
Design
6
Performance
7
MPG
6
Interior
9
Infotainment
7
Reliability
9
Safety
10
Value
#16
2020 Subaru Crosstrek
7.5
BuzzScore
7
Design
5
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
7
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#17
2021 Kia Sportage
7.5
BuzzScore
7
Design
6
Performance
6
MPG
7
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#18
2021 Hyundai Tucson
7.4
BuzzScore
7
Design
6
Performance
6
MPG
7
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#19
2020 Jeep Compass
7.3
BuzzScore
9
Design
6
Performance
6
MPG
7
Interior
10
Infotainment
6
Reliability
7
Safety
7
Value
#20
2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
7.3
BuzzScore
6
Design
6
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
6
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value