2 SUVs Under $10,000 Consumer Reports Rates Are the Least Expensive to Maintain

SUVs can be pricey, with some costing as much as six figures. They’re also usually less fuel-efficient than cars, adding to ownership costs. And whether you drive an SUV or sedan, maintenance and repair costs continue long after you’ve driven the vehicle off the lot.

However, you can find affordable used SUVs that don’t cost much to maintain or repair. For example, according to Consumer Reports, you can’t beat the annual maintenance and repair costs of the 2011 Kia Sportage and 2011 Honda CR-V. Plus, you can buy either for less than $10,000.

Assessing maintenance and repair costs

In a recent Consumer Reports roundup, “Least and Most Expensive Cars to Keep on the Road,” staffers surveyed 2011 vehicle owners about how much they spent each year on maintenance and repairs. CR’s reviewers assessed 10-year-old cars because many later models might still be under warranty, affecting the true cost of maintenance.

Consumer Reports evaluated responses about cars, SUVs, and pickups ranging in price from under $5,000 to $20,000. Vehicles that made it into the least expensive category had annual repair and maintenance costs ranging from $0 to $300. The 2011 Nissan Leaf was the sole entry on the list to require nothing to keep running on the road each year, while most other vehicles cost between $200 and $300.

The most expensive 2011 vehicles to maintain included cars, SUVs, and minivans, with purchase prices from under $10,000 to $20,000. Unsurprisingly, the list shows several luxury vehicles, including the BMW 5 Series, which costs a whopping $1,200 a year to keep running. Other vehicles range in annual maintenance and repair costs from $500 to $900, with most between $500 and $600.

But two compact SUVs rank among the best.

The 2011 Kia Sportage is cheap to keep on the road

Though the 2011 Kia Sportage isn’t the flashiest compact SUV on the road, it’s reliable, boasting a 5 out of 5 predicted reliability score from Consumer Reports. It’s also solidly designed, even if its exterior styling is a bit mild. Its powertrain pairs a standard six-speed manual transmission with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (also standard) or a 2.0-liter direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder. With the 2.4-liter, you’ll get 176 hp, 168 lb-ft of torque, and an acceleration speed to 60 mph in about 8.8 seconds. But you’ll also get just 25/27 miles to the gallon in the city or on the highway, respectively, which compares poorly to similar models of this year.

However, the Sportage earns points for a roomy cabin with plenty of leg and head space. Despite this, the Sportage’s small sloped windows, rear roof pillar, and front windshield pillars impair visibility and make the cabin feel a bit more intimate than it is. The interior styling is fairly simple, almost sparse, but of no lesser quality than similar vehicles. You’ll also get a touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth. And pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning are standard across all trims.

There are, of course, extra features that come with the higher trim levels. However, the average cost a 2011 Kia Sportage owner will pay each year for maintenance and repairs is a low $250. Combine that with a likely purchase price of less than $10,000, and any 2011 Sportage is a great value.

The 2011 Honda CR-V also doesn’t cost much to maintain and repair

Another compact SUV that did not win praise for its exterior is the 2011 Honda CR-V, though it’s reliable, boasting a 5/5 rating from Consumer Reports. However, this model has a whopping 12 recalls, which prospective buyers should note. But the CR-V handles well, thanks in part to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. It produces 180 hp and gets about 21 mpg, which is not great compared with other 2011 compact SUVs.

The CR-V also boasts a comfortable cabin but feels as spacious as it is, unlike the Sportage. The interior finish is filled with hard plastics that, though well-crafted, are prone to scratches. The base model comes standard with decent storage space, along with an infotainment system with Bluetooth compatibility. And several safety features, such as stability control and antilock brakes, come standard across trims.

The Honda CR-V’s higher trim levels also boast enhanced features. They include a seven-speaker stereo system and built-in navigation.

And if you’re looking to pick one up, expect to spend only about $300 a year for maintenance and repairs.

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