SUVs are great vehicles to haul cargo, family members and gear; however, finding one for less than $5,000 may prove challenging.
Are You Searching for a Reliable, Cost-Effective SUV Under $10,000? Check Out Our List
1. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most legendary SUVs on the market, thanks to its off-road abilities and body-on-frame construction that allows it to navigate steep slopes with ease, as well as overcome obstacles that would defeat most other vehicles.
Its powerful V6 engine can be equipped with either a manual or automatic transmission and offers impressive power for its size. However, the high-rpm noise can sometimes be disconcerting when traveling at highway speeds.
There are various safety features available to enhance parking and off-roading experiences, including rear parking sensors, forward collision warning system and adaptive cruise control with full stop capability. You could also opt for forward facing camera systems and automatic emergency braking features – these features could keep both yourself and passengers safer should an accident occur.
Though not the most comfortable SUV on the road, Wrangler remains an excellent value. There is plenty of customization available, such as roof racks, tow hooks and extra seats available for it.
Choose between two and four door Wrangler models, and from various trim levels. Plus, there’s even an off-roading version with soft top!
Inside the Wrangler cabin is an aesthetic with vintage styling – including its chunky dashboard and round air vents. Center console and door pockets may be narrow, yet an average-size water bottle fits nicely on its dashtop tray.
The front seats are adequately sized for driving comfort, providing ample head and legroom. Unfortunately, the back seats are rather cramped and may prove challenging when accommodating three people at once.
Furthermore, when driving at high speeds the Wrangler’s interior can feel cramped – especially the two-door model which often makes one feel restricted behind the wheel.
The Wrangler is an ideal vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a no-frills, no-compromise off-road vehicle. However, for greater comfort or savings in terms of time and hassle-saving potential other SUV models might offer.
2. Toyota 4Runner
If you’re in search of a rugged yet capable SUV that seats five comfortably, the Toyota 4Runner is an outstanding option. Renowned as one of the top off-roaders on the market and known for its durability and resale value.
The Toyota 4Runner stands out as an off-road capable SUV, yet also provides safety and on-road comfort features such as its 8-inch multimedia touchscreen that enables smartphone connectivity, Toyota Safety Sense(tm) P features including automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings.
Example features of an SUV include its rearview camera that displays a wide-angle view of the area behind, providing increased collision avoidance. Furthermore, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring technologies help drivers operate it more safely.
Additionally, this SUV’s third-row seats are spacious enough for adults, and the rearmost seats fold flat for cargo space use. Furthermore, this used SUV provides ample trunk storage allowing you to fit virtually anything you wish inside its trunk.
The 4Runner features a standard 4.0-liter V-6 that produces 270 horsepower, and can be coupled either to rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. However, the engine doesn’t provide much in terms of acceleration for an SUV standard vehicle.
Fuel economy is another pitfall of the 4Runner, as its estimated EPA mileage estimates hover between 15 mpg in city driving conditions and 19 on highway drives – not ideal for an off-road midsize SUV designed to tackle challenging terrain.
Even so, the 4Runner’s 4.0-liter engine is an outstanding performer. Reliability is its forte and 0-60 time is reasonable.
If you’re shopping used 4Runners, opt for ones equipped with the TRD Pro package. This trim adds off-roading accessories like nonfunctional hood scoops, TRD off-road specific shocks and tires, Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system, Crawl Control (a low speed automatic braking feature for tricky off-road situations), Crawl Control as well as KDSS disconnecting sway bars to your SUV for enhanced off-road performance and KDSS disconnecting sway bars to create optimal off-road performance.
3. Mazda CX-9
If you’re in search of a small family SUV to meet everyday errands and weekend “soft-roading” adventures, the Mazda CX-9 may be just what you’re searching for. Offering an exceptional driving experience with its quiet cabin and composed ride quality, responsive steering system and confident brakes making winding roads much simpler to traverse, this Mazda makes driving fun again!
The CX-9 features a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine which offers an ideal balance between horsepower and torque, producing 227 when using premium (93 octane) gasoline and 250 when using regular (87 octane). A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard while seven-speed manual options can be selected as options.
This engine is combined with an all-wheel drive system that helps the CX-9 maintain control when driving in challenging weather or off-road trails. All-wheel drive also features an active braking system to reduce wheel spin and decrease fuel consumption by shortening acceleration time.
As such, the CX-9 achieves superior fuel economy than most of its rivals; it can reach 20 miles per gallon in city driving conditions and 26 on highway drives – impressive figures for three-row midsize SUVs.
Additionally, the CX-9 features i-Activ traction control and electronic stability control to keep its vehicle stable during rough roads or severe weather. They can help the driver keep control of their ride while decreasing crash risks; additionally cylinder deactivation can be enabled for enhanced performance as can sport mode for greater driving pleasure.
Overall, the CX-9 provides an engaging driving experience that’s superior to most rivals in its segment. It’s more enjoyable than both Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride models while providing more power and superior handling compared to Jeep Grand Cherokee L models.
The interior is spacious and comfortable, providing plenty of room for passengers and cargo alike. Door pockets are deep and cupholders large so it is easy to keep everything close at hand.
Safety features of the CX-9 are abundant, as standard features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a backup camera. Furthermore, all models feature driver assist technologies like radar cruise control with stop/start function and forward collision warning for added driver support.
4. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer SUV is an excellent option if you’re searching for a space-efficient ride capable of comfortably seating six adults while providing plenty of cargo capacity. Plus, its spaciousness makes it the perfect vehicle to take family on adventures together!
The Explorer comes in eight distinct trim levels, providing you with plenty of choices. In addition, this car boasts numerous safety features and advanced technologies such as the Adaptive Cruise Control system.
Its standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as Wi-Fi hotspot capability, in addition to being equipped with rear seat entertainment system and voice activated navigation features.
Most Explorers are powered by a 2.3-liter turbo-4 that generates 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque – more than enough power for most driving situations and coupled with an efficient 10-speed automatic transmission for seamless performance.
Other performance features of the Explorer include its sport-tuned suspension and ST model’s more powerful engine with stiffer springs, as well as sport steering. While these features make the Explorer feel athletic, they may lack refinement and driving excitement.
Dependent upon its trim level, the Explorer can achieve up to 19 MPG in city driving conditions and 25 on highway travel, with hybrid models also being an option on certain models.
Explorers can tow up to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped, making them ideal for hauling large loads. However, it should be remembered that Explorers do not offer much in terms of off-road capability.
Explorer owners also must deal with poor reliability ratings for older models. Some of these vehicles have experienced problems like timing chain ticking and rattle that can become serious if left untreated.
Reliability ratings should always be considered when purchasing a used SUV, as they provide insight into its long-term reliability. For instance, it’s likely that the 2001 Explorer will have poor reliability ratings due to its 4.0-liter SOHC V6 engine which can experience timing chain problems leading to premature wear and tear.