Now you can buy an insanely fast SUV without spending a fortune.
SUVs have transitioned from boring family haulers to sport-tuned machines that can hang with the likes of many sports cars. We have seen what the new Tesla Model X can do when it is pitted up against a McLaren 650S. It is hard to believe that SUVs have reached this level of performance. The downside is that many of these models now cost more than $100,000. That's not exactly practical, which is why we have compiled a list of five awesome used SUVs, each with 400 hp or more.
You can't really have a list of fast SUVs without including the Porsche Cayenne. Don't worry, we have actually put two of them on this list! For less than $30,000 you can pick between the 405-horsepower, naturally aspirated Cayenne GTS and the twin-turbocharged 520-hp Turbo S. If you do opt for the more powerful Turbo S model it will likely be a bit older (around 2006), and be a little more expensive to maintain. We recommend buying the GTS (around 2010), which had various updates to the interior and exterior. This car sounds even better than the Turbo, and can even be found with a rare six-speed manual transmission. This is one seriously badass combination.
The next SUV on our list is another German brute. The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG packed a 6.2-liter V8 with 503 horsepower. With this massive engine up front you will be lucky to get 15 mpg on the highway and average double digits. Still, at less than $30,000 this SUV will make you the coolest parent on the block. Changes to the AMG version of the ML are subtle enough that you won't draw too much attention. That is until you decide to light up all four tires in an AMG-powered burnout while leaving your kid's soccer practice. Maintenance bills for an AMG car are typically quite high, but you are getting a handbuilt engine from the amazing performance branch of Mercedes-Benz.
The first and only America SUV on our list is the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. The first-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 has been below $30,000 for a while now. But we were waiting for the greatly refreshed 2012 model to hit this price. We finally found one but with high mileage, 97,000. Despite the miles the Jeep will probably have the lowest repair costs on this list, and the updated 6.4-liter HEMI V8 in 2012 produced 470 horsepower. The 2012 model received a huge facelift over the previous model, but the updated infotainment system wasn't added until the 2014 model year. We would maybe wait a year or two before seriously buying one of these used, but sure enough, prices will come down a bit by then.
You may not remember the next SUV on the list. The Infiniti FX50 is one of the most forgotten cars from an often overlooked brand. We think this is quite a shame. The FX was one of the prettiest SUVs of its time, and the QX70 continues this look today. Unfortunately you can no longer get the 5.0-liter 390 horsepower V8 from the FX50. We know that this engine doesn't quite make our 400 horsepower benchmark, but we simply had to put it on here. The VK50VE was only ever sold in the FX50 and in the car's replacement, the QX70, for the 2014 model year only. This makes this engine extremely unique. The only other cars that are powered by this engine are LMP3 race cars. Talk about pedigree!
We wrap this list up with the best SUV that you can buy for less than $30,000, the original BMW X5 M. Purists were infuriated that BMW wanted to "taint" the M division by building an SUV, but the results were amazing and kicked off the super-SUV craze. The Cayenne may have been first, but the X5 M quickly became one of the leaders in this segment. The original X5 M came with a 4.4-liter V8 with two turbochargers paired to a six-speed automatic. The X5 M is the most powerful car on this list with 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. It is amazing to think that you can find higher mileage 2010 models for less than a brand new X1. Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments!
You can also check out all SUVs under $25k.