SUVs — and more recently, crossovers — have always been quite a popular segment in the American automotive market since their birth, but there was always one primary drawback to them: few, if any, could be described as being especially fuel-efficient. Now, the technology being implemented has helped bring up consumption figures dramatically, only helping the appeal of utility vehicles grow further.
Additionally, while some of the large vehicles still command higher price tags, the trend of midsize and compact SUVs has seen the prices fall to about where one would find most entry-level sedans, and with the added utility, they have become a popular choice for a variety of people.
The folks at the Kelley Blue Book recently published a list of top ten SUV and crossover picks that one can pick up, for less than $25,000 — a fairly common price threshold for those looking for a new car that’s easy on the wallet. To our knowledge, the following are not ranked by any specific metric. Here’s what they came up with.
10. Jeep Wrangler
In terms of sheer capability — particularly off-road, wherever you want to go — it doesn’t get much better than the Jeep Wrangler, which starts at just a hair under $23,000. Further, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler also boasts some of the highest resale values in the industry, KBB notes.
9. Kia Sorento
Starting at $24,100, the Kia Sorento offers big options for not a huge amount of money. While many of these will push the price past $25,000, the Sorento offers plenty of features that cost a lot more on comparable vehicles, including a 5- or 7-seat configuration, a panoramic sunroof, and a UVO infotainment, powered by Google.
8. Toyota RAV4
“Heralded as the crossover SUV that started it all, the Toyota RAV4 has offered sensible car buyers a well-rounded balance of fuel efficiency, versatility, and value for nearly two decades,” KBB observes. The latest generation brings the RAV4 up to date with the pack, with its new look and an array of available in-car technology.
7. Jeep Cherokee
Jeep’s striking new Cherokee is the company’s answer for an off-road compact SUV, which “delivers the best Jeep has to offer in a rugged-yet-civilized package.” It starts at $22,995.
6. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Like the Kia, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers an array of features — like Hyundai’s Blue Link and driver-selectable steering — that set the Santa Fe apart from the crowd. It starts at $24,750.
5. Subaru Forester
Standard all-wheel drive and “its traditional hallmarks of safety [and] durability” make the Subaru Forester one of the most appealing options for those living in cold weather-prone areas, especially since the Forester carries with it a starting MSRP of $21,995.
4. Ford Escape
The Ford Escape, in its redesigned form, is a great step up from the previous boxy crossover that it once was, and at $22,700, it offers plenty of value, with an extensive list of upgrades and options for those willing to spend a little more.
3. Nissan Rogue
Though the previous generation was so popular that Nissan will continue to produce it alongside the new model, it’s the new facelift that gives the new Rogue a decidedly premium feel. “The all-new Rogue returns best-in-class fuel economy on the highway thanks to an enhanced CVT transmission, while a newly available third-row seat ups the Rogue’s people-hauling capacity to seven,” KBB says.
2. Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5, which starts at just $21,395, reportedly delivers some of the best driving dynamics (read: more fun) in its class, all in a fuel efficient package and comfortable accommodations for five.
1. Honda CR-V
“Widely regarded as the most recommendable SUV by the KBB.com editors, the Honda CR-V claims the top spot on our list two years running for its matchless combination of value, reliability, and utility,” KBB says. “As it has for over 15 years, the CR-V builds upon its core philosophy of providing practical-minded car shoppers worry-free transportation in a safe, sensible package.”