Toyota's best-selling crossover can't match these used bargains.
We recently had a chance to drive the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4, which should continue to be the best-selling non-pickup truck in the US. Toyota can't sell these things fast enough and this new and improved model should be no different. Pricing for the 2019 RAV4 starts at a rather affordable $25,500 and a hybrid model is also available starting at $27,700. The RAV4 is excellent value, but for car buyers who would rather find a deal on the used market, we've found seven used Toyota SUVs that can now be purchased for less than the price of a new RAV4.
In our review of the new RAV4, we said it reminded us a bit of a miniature 4Runner. Well, instead of a miniature 4Runner, why not get the real thing? The 4Runner tends to hold its value well, but we found used examples as new as 2015 - some with less than 50,000 miles - for less than $25,000. The fifth generation 4Runner has been on sale since 2009 and is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 producing 270 horsepower. Older models were also available with a V8 engine. Although the RAV4 is pretty competent off-road, it can't match the 4Runner's body-on-frame design.
To pay homage to the original FJ40 Land Cruiser, Toyota decided to build a retro model called the FJ Cruiser. It was built from 2006 to 2014 in the US and was powered by a 4.0-liter V6 producing 260 hp. Power went out to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, though RWD was available if you bought the five-speed automatic. The FJ Cruiser has actually become slightly collectible but high-mileage examples can still be found for less than $25,000.
As car-based crossovers become more and more popular, many enthusiasts are starting to look back on old-school body-on-frame SUVs as collectibles. Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer prices have already skyrocketed and we think the Land Cruiser will be the next great investment. We found plenty of Land Cruiser models ranging from 1970 all the way up to 2009 for less than $25,000. The Land Cruiser is known as one of the toughest and most dependable vehicles ever built, so we definitely recommend buying one as an investment piece.
You may be wondering why we would include a used RAV4 on a list of alternatives to a new RAV4. Well, that's because the third generation RAV4 - built from 2006 to 2012 - had an available option not found on the current car - a V6 engine. It also had an available third-row seat. The most powerful 2019 RAV4 is the hybrid with 219 total hp. Back in 2006, the Toyota RAV4 had an available V6 engine producing 270 hp. It may not be as efficient as the new car but it is certainly faster. Even the most expensive RAV4 V6 we found was less than $12,000.
The new RAV4 is based on Toyota's TNGA global platform, which also underpins the Corolla and the Prius. Some shoppers may be looking for something larger, which is why we recommend the second generation Sequoia. The Sequoia hasn't really changed much since it was refreshed in 2008. It still rides on the same platform as the Tundra pickup truck and is powered by the same 5.7-liter V8 producing 381 hp. There are other engines available, but the 5.7 is the one we recommend for this three-row behemoth.
Buying a used vehicle means you can afford something that would have been way above your budget when it was new, like the Lexus GX 470. We were surprised to find plenty of examples of the newer GX 460 for less than $25,000, though we decided to stick with the older GX 470 because it's prettier. The GX 470 is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado platform and is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 producing 263 hp. If you can stand to look at its ugly face, the GX 460 (built after 2009) produces 301 hp from a newer 4.6-liter V8.
If you just want a comfortable crossover to haul the kids around, few are better than the Lexus RX 350. The new RAV4 offers loads of refinement but the RX is on another level. The car's 3.5-liter V6 engine produces a healthy 270 hp and the cabin is extremely quiet. We did find a few F Sport models for less than $25,000, but we'd recommend going for the more comfortable standard model.