While the crossover may be the most popular style of automobile in the USA, that does not mean that they are all winners. From subcompact through to full-size, there are those that deliver value and those that make empty promises. Before you sign on the dotted line for that Hyundai Palisade detailed here, be sure that you’re getting the very best deal you can. Sometimes, you are sweet-talked into buying something that looks good but actually isn’t, and other times, you may be getting a good car, but there are better ones out there for the same or even less money.
It’s important to read a review or two from a reputable source, and of course, a test drive is a must. With the right research, some hands-on experience, and just a touch of savvy negotiating, you could find yourself behind the wheel of the perfect vehicle. To get you started, here are five of the best SUVs for the money.
#1 Kia Seltos
There isn’t much not to love about the subcompact Korean crossover. The starting MSRP of around $22,000 is definitely enticing, but it’s the only thing cheap about the car. Aside from a stylish exterior, it presents shoppers with a surprisingly spacious cabin that can accommodate adults in the back seat. Still, for a longer drive, it may be best to reserve those seats for the kiddies.
Overall, how much you get for your modest investment is quite impressive. This includes keyless entry, a touchscreen spanning eight inches, Bluetooth, and smartphone integration for Apple and Android. Safety-wise, the Koreans don’t disappoint with forwarding collision alert, automatic emergency braking, a driver attention system, as well as lane-keep assist. Naturally, if you want the more progressive features, you will need to put a little more money on the table, but most small families starting out should be happy with the entry-level model.
#2 Honda CR-V
A step up on the food chain in terms of size, the CR-V is a common sight no matter where you go. Available in standard or modestly more expensive hybrid configurations, the compact ticks a lot of boxes. These include a commodious cabin and a practical trunk. But, Honda throws in a feisty 190-horsepower powertrain and engaging driving dynamics, too. Not many cheap, utility-focused vehicles try to be fun, so this is a nice breath of fresh air.
Naturally, if you want the best fuel economy figures, you’ll want to fork out the extra three grand or so for the hybrid. However, when you consider that the entry-level trim is a bit sparsely equipped, you’ll need to weigh this against opting for one of the higher-tier models. If you can live without smartphone integration and dual-zone climate control, though, the base offering is still quite good.
#3 Toyota RAV4
The Japanese automaker seems to be dominating the segment in the US, with several different models making an appearance on the top-sales charts. However, the single most purchased SUV is the RAV4. It is also available as a hybrid or a plug-in known as Prime. Regardless of the spec you choose, you are guaranteed a high-quality family vehicle. The best performance is delivered by the Prime, which develops 177 hp and returns 40/36/38 mpg or 94 MPGe. The electric-only range of 42 miles is nothing to scoff at, either.
For less than $40k, you receive a well-appointed ride, with heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration, and a full Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, comprising forward collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The gas-powered RAV4 doesn’t give you quite as much, but it is also significantly cheaper. What you save on fuel, in the long run, makes the Prime the smarter choice, though.
#4 Kia Telluride
On paper, the Telluride seems very similar to the aforementioned Hyundai Palisade. And, in many ways, it is, with the same underpinnings and V6 engine, but a closer look shows why it makes this list and the Palisade doesn’t. For starters, it is cheaper at around $32,000, and while this would be good if it offered the exact same quality, it is actually great because it offers even more.
The interior of the three-row SUV is just as spacious but the trunk supplies three cubic feet of additional cargo capacity. Furthermore, build quality is better, even if the competition uses slightly more premium materials. A well-stocked eight-inch infotainment suite and safety systems like blind-spot monitoring and collision avoidance round out the offering.
#5 Tesla Model Y
The priciest motor on this list, the Model Y doesn’t look like your standard crossover, and it isn’t. Powered by a brisk 449-hp electric power plant, it delivers impressive acceleration and overall performance. But, what really earns it a spot on this list is its unbeatable mileage. While the traditional miles per gallon rating doesn’t apply, the electrified SUV is rated at 129/112/121 MPGe with a maximum range of around 315 miles.
The interior sports very minimalist styling, which is remarkably eye-catching in its simplicity. In terms of space, there is plenty to go around, and you could easily pack for a weekend away with the whole family thanks to 68 cubic feet of cargo capacity split between the forward and rear storage compartments. As a Tesla with a $50k price tag, there is no shortage of tech both comfort- and safety-oriented.