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Inflation has made getting a new SUV a nightmare for many drivers. Luckily, there are still plenty of affordable SUVs on the market. Some even start under $22,000. Which of the cheapest SUVs should you want, get, and pass on?

Cheapest SUVs for 2023

  • Hyundai Venue ($19,650)
  • Kia Soul ($19,890)
  • Chevy Trailblazer ($22,100)
A yellow 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer subcompact SUV is driving off-road.
The 2023 Chevy Trailblazer | Chevrolet

Hyundai Motor Company and its Kia brand are making two of the most affordable SUVs on the market. Both are quirky (and frankly oddly shaped) subcompact SUVs. The final most affordable SUV of the trio is the American-made Chevrolet Trailblazer from GM’s Chevy brand. None of these SUVs are particularly impressive from a specs standpoint, but they sure are affordable.

So, how do you decide which of the cheapest SUVs of 2023 to get? Surprisingly, the most expensive model listed doesn’t necessarily offer the most value for the money. Furthermore, the least expensive model isn’t necessarily the most popular. Don’t fret, here at Motorbiscuit, we’ve got you covered on which models you should want, get, and pass on based on specs and overall appeal.

Want/get: The 2023 Kia Soul

Rarely does a nameplate earn both the “want” and “get” designations, but the Kia Soul isn’t just any SUV. Kia’s Soul nameplate has been in production since 2008. Over 15 years later, it’s as relevant as ever. Clever marketing tactics have earned it a rent-free room in the minds of millions of consumers.

Aside from memorable commercials involving hamsters, the Soul is known for its value. The South Korean automaker manages to pack plenty of Soul into one of the industry’s tiniest SUVs. Best of all, it has a surprisingly spacious cabin and cargo area. The 2023 Kia Soul uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to make 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It achieves 29 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Kia Soul is the SUV to get of the three cheapest SUVs listed because it’s well-balanced. Drivers don’t get a Soul for thrilling acceleration or a luxurious interior. If you want an affordable subcompact SUV to shuttle around town with, the Soul is perfect. It’s more expensive than the Hyundai Venue, but it has more charisma and provides a better ownership experience than the Venue. The more expensive Trailblazer isn’t as appealing because its base engine isn’t as powerful, and its exterior design isn’t as bold as the Soul’s.

Kia’s tiny SUV has that certain je na sais quoi (or, in English, that special somethin’) that few models at its price point can tap into. Furthermore, its upper configurations remain affordable and offer better standard creature comforts and tech.

Pass: The Hyundai Venue and Chevy Trailblazer

A red 2023 Hyundai Venue subcompact SUV is parked.
The 2023 Hyundai Venue | Hyundai

In this specific scenario, the Soul is the SUV to get over the Hyundai Venue and Chevy Trailblazer. Neither the Venue nor Trailblazer are bad SUVs, but they lack the flare of the Kia Soul. The best thing about the Venue is its affordability, but the Soul isn’t significantly more expensive. The Trailblazer’s measly 137 horses disappoint in comparison to more affordable rivals. So, in this triple threat match, Kia’s subcompact SUV is the clear victor.


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