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The SUV segment is a packed part of the automotive market. There are subcompact, compact, midsize, and full-size options from more than a dozen manufacturers. You can get an SUV with a focus on luxury, off-road capabilities, fuel economy, safety, and much more. However, it may be hard to find one for a lower price. Thankfully, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reviewers put together a list of the best SUVs you can buy for less than $30,000.

1. 2023 Kia Seltos

A yellow 2023 Kia Seltos subcompact SUV model parked on a rooftop shaded by skyscrapers
2023 Kia Seltos | Kia America

Kia Seltos MSRP: starting at $23,340

The Kia Seltos has the lowest starting price of any SUV on this list. As a subcompact SUV, it’s also one of the smaller options. Of the five Seltos trims — the base LX, S, EX, Nightfall Edition, and SX — three are powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque (the LX, S, and EX), according to KBB. The Nightfall Edition and SX have a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. All five trims except for the S have standard all-wheel drive (AWD), but it is optional for that model.

Every Seltos model comes with driver aids like forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and driver attention warning. Baseline features include an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a six-speaker audio system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Seltos a Top Safety Pick for the SX trim due to its more powerful headlights. Like all Kia models, it comes with some of the best warranties on the market, like the five-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year, 100,000-mile drivetrain warranty. For a safe, affordable, and pretty stylish SUV under $30,000, the Seltos is an excellent option.

2. 2023 Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 MSRP: starting at $27,975

As one of the best-selling SUVs on the market, Toyota has sold at least 400,000 RAV4 SUVs since 2017, per data from CarSalesBase. Like many Toyota models, it maintains a reputation for strong reliability and great safety features.

The 2023 RAV4 comes in six trims: the base LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. All are powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Like the Seltos, all models have at least six speakers, an 8-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Featured on all RAV4 models is also the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system, traffic sign reader, and forward collision warning with automatic braking. The IIHS awarded the 2023 Toyota RAV4 a Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Unlike the Seltos, likely just the LE trim will fit under the $30,000 budget cap. However, the reliability, safety, and driver aids make the RAV4 a great choice for SUV buyers avoiding high prices.

3. 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe MSRP: starting at $28,200

The Hyundai Santa Fe is the only midsize SUV on this list, making it an excellent bargain for the price. KBB rated the Sante Fe the 2-Row Midsize SUV Best Buy for 2023, the fourth year in a row, for good reason.

The base 2.5-liter engine produces 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque for the base SE, SEL, and XRT trims. The Limited and top-line Calligraphy trims get an upgrade with a turbocharged 2.5-liter powertrain delivering 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. KBB reviewers note the comfort and space in the cabin, which provides drivers and passengers plenty of room. 

Driver aids like forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warning, and lane keeping assist are standard on all models. Like the Kia Seltos, it’s backed by the market’s best warranty package. The IIHS also designated the Santa Fe a Top Safety Pick+, making it a safe, economical, and spacious SUV under $30,000.

4. 2023 Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V MSRP: starting at $23,800

The Honda HR-V is Honda’s smallest SUV on the market and the second subcompact SUV on this list after the Seltos. Though small, KBB reviewers note the spacious cabin is one of the model’s strengths.

Completely redesigned for the 2023 model year, all HR-V models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. Reviewers at Edmunds note that the HR-V handles and brakes well, and it’s easy for passengers to get in and out. 

The HR-V comes with Honda’s Sensing Suite of driver aids. That means features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure mitigation, and forward collision mitigation are standard on all models. The base LX model gives you features like a 7-inch touchscreen, three USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bumping up to the Sport or top-tier EX-L trims gives you more features like heated mirrors, an eight-speaker sound system, and heated front seats or leather upholstery. 

The HR-V follows the theme of this list in being named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. For its safety, space, and reputation for reliability, it’s hard to go wrong with the HR-V as a great budget SUV

5. 2023 Kia Sportage

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Kia Sportage MSRP: starting at $26,290

Rounding out the list is Kia’s compact SUV. The all-new Sportage is TrueCar’s best compact SUV for 2023, with sharp new styling, a spacious cabin, and lots of features.

All seven Sportage trims (the base LX, EX, X-Line AWD, SX, SX Prestige, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige) come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. All models come with a host of features. Tinted rear glass, an 8-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six speakers, and heated front seats are included. KBB reviewers note the interior is quiet and elegantly designed with high-quality materials. Like the Seltos and Santa Fe, the Sportage comes with industry-leading warranties and lots of driver aids, including parking sensors, a lane-keeping system, driver attention warning, and forward collision mitigation. The IIHS named the Sportage a Top Safety Pick for the SX Prestige and X-Pro trims because of their upgraded headlights.

What is the best SUV under $30,000?

KBB reviewers put the Seltos above the rest, and, going off of price, it certainly is. You get plenty of features and can upgrade from the base model while staying under the cap. If you want a bit more fun behind the wheel, the Honda HR-V is an excellent choice with its handling. And if a roomy interior with lots of cargo space is a necessity, the Sportage and Santa Fe are great options.