5 Great Honda CR-V Alternatives for Less Than $30,000
The Honda CR-V is Honda’s best-selling SUV, but it’s retiring the current version and launching an all-new facelifted version for 2023. The new version adds some sporty touches, as well as some off-road niceties, such as hill descent control, and a snow mode. But, since it’s an all-new model, they will likely be harder to come by when they hit dealers this fall. So, if you’re looking for a small SUV that checks many of the same boxes, these are five alternatives that sell for about the same price and offer similar utility from Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, and Ford.
The 2023 CR-V will have to live up to a legend
Since the CR-V sells so well, the new 2023 Honda CR-V version will have a lot to live up to. It comes in base EX and EX-L versions. The Sport and Sport Touring models are the hybrid versions. The all-new 2023 CR-V SUV, however, will offer a CVT, which is a love-it-or-hate-it type of transmission, tied to a 190-horsepower turbocharged engine. The hybrid versions make 204 horsepower with an interesting two-stage transmission tied to the hybrid motors.
While Honda hasn’t released pricing for the new CR-V, the base model should start at less than $30,000 and a well-equipped EX-L version should be less than $35,000.
Hyundai Tucson is the value-packed CR-V alternative
The Hyundai Tucson sails into the 2023 model year without any major changes. In the base version, the Tucson sells for $26,450. But, we’d suggest bumping up the SEL AWD trim level, which adds an optional hands-free liftgate, wireless charging, Hyundai’s digital key, and several safety aids, like pedestrian and cyclist detection. All Tucsons get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Tucson is large, too, and it can hold 74.8 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded. The SEL models combine the 2.5-liter engine with a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic for $29,550.
Mazda CX-5 is the sporty Honda CR-V alternative
The Mazda CX-5, and its related CX-50, pack in a lot of value for less than $30,000, and that’s probably why the CX-5 it’s the brand’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. While the base model starts at $26,700, the mid-level 2.5 S Preferred comes in at $29,590. For that, you get power, heated, leather-trimmed seats in your choice of seven colors, a moonroof, and the Homelink garage door opener. The CX-5 is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus rated SUV.
All-wheel drive is standard on this sporty-handling SUV. Unfortunately, the hot 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 256 horsepower starts well beyond our $30,000 price point at $36,850.
The top-line Subaru Crosstrek is less than $30,000
The Subaru Crosstrek comes in five versions, and all but the Hybrid have MSRPs of less than $30,000. Each packs a lot of value. In fact, the top-of-the-line (for gas-powered Crosstreks, anyway) Limited has a base price of $29,495 and comes with several premium options, such as leather-trimmed, heated seats standard, paddle shifters for the CVT, hill descent control for keeping your speed controlled off-road, and LED headlights, plus 18-inch wheels.
The Limited also has the optional 2.5-liter engine, which has 182 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard. It can hold 55.3 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats lowered.
Toyota’s RAV4 is the CR-V’s target
Yes, you can find a RAV4 for less than $30,000, and it’s one of the direct Honda CR-V alternatives. The RAV4 is the top-selling small SUV today, and Toyota’s best-selling vehicle and has a base price of $26,975. But you can also get the fuel-sipping Hybrid LE version for $29,575, which has Toyota’s clever all-wheel drive system. The RAV4 Hybrid handles well thanks to its sophisticated suspension, but it also has a host of special options that make it nice to live with, such as dual-zone climate control, several USB ports, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen.
The RAV4 is also spacious and can hold up to 59 cubic feet of stuff.
A new Ford Escape should make it an attractive CR-V alternative
The Ford Escape gets a much-needed makeover for 2023. Ford has not released pricing or specs for the refreshed Escape yet, but it’s safe to say that the SUV will keep its under-$30,000 price and could be one of the best Honda CR-V alternatives to consider. The current Escape, though not as popular as the previous version, will feature new styling, which according to Car and Driver includes new lighting and comes in gas, hybrid, and PHEV versions.