Buying Advice

Ranked: Best used SUVs under $20,000

The GMC Yukon is one of the best SUVs you can get for under $20,000.

Photo courtesy of GMC

It's not just new cars that people are after. The used car market is full of good cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that are available at prices far lower than a brand new car.

iSeeCars, a car search engine, analyzed over 6.1 million cars from model years 2011 and newer to determine the used cars that demonstrated long-term reliability and have an average safety rating of at least 4 stars out of 5 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Shoppers with a budget of $20,000 can purchase the following reliable SUVs that are less than 10 years old.

2013 Acura MDX

2013 Acura MDX

Photo courtesy of Acura

Average Used Price: $17,138
The 2013 Acura MDX is a good handling car with plenty of cargo space and accurate steering, which makes it easy to park. It's an all-wheel drive model that seats up to seven people in three rows. J.D. Power rates the 300-horsepower SUV as being pretty reliable.

2013 Ford Expedition

2013 Ford Expedition

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Average Used Price: $17,175
The Ford Expedition is a hauler that easily moves a large family whether it's in a rear- or all-wheel drive configuration. If you don't fill it up with people and instead need to haul cargo, you'll be pleased with how easily the third row folds down. Ford has made the model capable of towing up to 9,200 pounds.

2013 Toyota Highlander

2013 Toyota Highlander

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $18,239
Americans have long loved the Toyota Highlander and it's easy to see why. It's a comfortable three-row family hauler. When it was new, it was considered well appointed compared to other midsize SUVs. It was also available in four-wheel drive, making it a good daily driver in all climates.

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $18,270
The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid had the advantages of the 2013 Highlander but without the four-wheel drive option. Toyota filled that void by offering superior fuel economy and more rapid acceleration thanks to the hybrid powertrain.

2014 Dodge Durango

2014 Dodge Durango

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Average Used Price: $18,494
The Dodge Durango is available as either a two- or three-row SUV. It delivers a smooth ride across all grades and has a luxe interior in its highest trim levels. The Durangos infotainment system is easy to use and it was available in all-wheel drive when it was new.

2014 Honda Pilot

2014 Honda Pilot

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Average Used Price: $18,591
The 2014 Honda Pilot is reliable and spacious but doesn't have an exhilarating engine or luxe interior. Still, it's a solid choice for families on the go, even used.

2012 Chevrolet Suburban

2012 Chevrolet Suburban

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Average Used Price: $18,794
The 2012 Chevrolet Suburban makes an idea people hauler for many reasons. It has plenty of passenger space, can haul and tow a fair amount, and is stable on the road. It's easy to drive and delivers a good amount of cargo space.

2016 Honda CR-V

2016 Honda CR-V

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Average Used Price: $19,061
The 2016 Honda CR-V is a two-row SUV that has a lot that small families are looking for. Its cargo area is huge, there's plenty of legroom in both rows of seating, and it's regarded as being generally reliable.

2011 Cadillac Escalade

2011 Cadillac Escalade

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Average Used Price: $19,472
The 2011 Cadillac Escalade's best attributes in 2011 are much the same as they are in the 2020 model. It has a spacious cabin for the first two rows of passengers, a competent engine, and a luxe interior in top trim levels. It delivers a comfortable ride and came in both rear- and four-wheel drive when it was new.

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Average Used Price: $19,529
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe delivers nearly all the same things that the Chevrolet Suburban does. After all, they're mostly the same vehicle. Though it seats up to nine people in three rows, that third row is cramped for adults.

2012 GMC Yukon

2012 GMC Yukon

Photo courtesy of GMC

Average Used Price: $19,801
The 2012 GMC Yukon is the brother of the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe so it shares many of the same features. It's easy to drive, has a high towing capacity, and has a competent engine (though it's not too quick off the line). To get the most cargo space from the SUV, you'll need to lower the third row seats.

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The new Si gets many improvements over the standard Civic.

Honda

The 2022 Civic and Civic Hatchback are just starting to hit our streets, but Honda's already moved on to higher performance versions of the car. The automaker just announced the Civic Si, which lands between the standard cars and the red-hot Type R in the Civic lineup.

2022 Honda Civic Si The Si's manual transmission gets rev-matching from the Civic Type R.Honda

The 2022 Civic Si gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The VTEC unit has been updated with broader power curves and better output at the top of the rev range. It's paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that features the handy rev-matching feature from the Civic Type R. The system can detect downshifts and blips the throttle to perfectly align engine revs with the shift.

Honda tightened up the new Si's body with an 8 percent bump in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity over the previous model. The 2022 Civic Si also rides on a longer wheelbase and has a wider rear track for better stability. Honda says that at 107.7 inches, the Si has the longest wheelbase in its class, which should give the car a stable and comfortable ride.

2022 Honda Civic Si The 2022 Civic Si's interior is clean and sporty. Honda

The Si's cabin borrows heavily from the standard Civic, but the sporty car gets more aggressive front sport seats with stronger bolstering and better thigh and shoulder supports. Honda raised the seats' bottom cushion by half an inch at the front for better thigh support. A 9-inch touchscreen display is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12-speaker Bose stereo with Centerpoint 2 tech and SurroundStage digital signal processing are also standard.

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The Passport was lightly modified for competition.

Honda

Honda recently announced a line of off-road-oriented trims and packages for its vehicles. Called TrailSport, the trim brings rugged appearance upgrades to the Honda Passport and will eventually offer more performance upgrades for other vehicles in the automaker's catalog. To further prove its mettle in the off-road space, Honda built a 2022 Passport rally truck to compete in the American Rally Association race series. The truck debuted over the weekend in Michigan and had a reasonably successful run for its first time out.

2022 Honda Passport Two Honda engineers handled driving duties.Honda

Importantly, the Passport's drivetrain and suspension were left untouched for the rally. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and suspension in the rally vehicle are the same components that you or I would see if we bought a new Passport today. Honda did add a transmission fluid cooler, but even then, it's the unit that everyday buyers can get with the available towing package. The SUV's interior was stripped and modified for safety and performance.

2022 Honda Passport Honda is pushing deeper into the off-road with its TrailSport trims.Honda

Honda did upgrade the Passport's wheels and tires for the event by fitting 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels and Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires. The automaker also made modifications to the SUV's underside with custom 1/8-inch thick aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates. High-density panels protect the fuel tank and other sensitive components, while Carbontech XP12 brake pads and high-temp racing brake fluid slow things down.

2022 Honda Passport The Passport's interior had to be stripped and modified for the event.Honda

The ARA National and Regional Championship Series events feature modified street vehicles that travel at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. The courses include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow, and cover hundreds of miles. The Honda Passport rally vehicle was first driven by two Honda engineers and ran in the top ten out of 42 teams. Honda says that a tire de-bead eventually slowed the team, leading to a delayed finish.

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