The Best Affordable Used SUVs for Teens Under $20,000 According to Consumer Reports

Being a parent isn’t an easy job, especially if you’re the parent or guardian of a teenager with a newly minted driver’s license. After all, teens are reportedly among the riskiest drivers. Chances are, then, you want your teen behind the wheel of a vehicle designed to put their safety first. You probably want to save a few bucks too. Fortunately, Consumer Reports has the inside track on the best affordable used SUVs for teens under $20,000. Let’s find out what they are.

How to choose the best used SUV under $20,000 for your teen

A grey 2015 Toyota RAV4 parked in the street, the RAV4 is among the best affordable used SUVs for teens under $20,000
2015 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Now, Consumer Reports was very deliberate in its choices. In fact, to identify the best used SUVs for teens, it considered several factors. First and foremost, each affordable used SUV on its list must have earned a good or acceptable rating in the IIHS driver’s-side small-overlap front crash test.

Consumer Reports was also careful to choose used SUVs that offered the best all-around protection for inexperienced teen drivers. Fortunately, driver-assist safety features are among the norm these days, making it reasonably easy to find a used SUV equipped with them. Safety features you should look out for include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and blind-spot warning, Consumer Reports recommends. 

Consumer Reports’ picks for the best affordable small used SUVs for teens under $20,000

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As for the best used SUVs for teens? Consumer Reports highlighted several small used SUVs as worthwhile options for teens. Take, for example, the Mazda CX-5. Opt for a 2014 model or newer and Consumer Reports says you can anticipate spending roughly $9,300 on this affordable used SUV. Not only is it available with safety features like blind-spot monitoring and Smart City Brake Support, but the IIHS also tapped it as a Top Safety Pick+.

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The Mazda CX-5 wasn’t the only small used SUV that Consumer Reports included in its list of the best affordable used SUVs for teens under $20,000. Popular models like the 2015 Honda CR-V, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and the 2016 Subaru Forester were also included. While both the 2015 Honda CR-V and the 2016 Subaru Forester were tapped as a Top Safety Pick+, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 was recognized as a Top Safety Pick.

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Consumer Reports also included the 2017 Volvo XC60 ($19,200) among its picks for the best used SUVs under $20,000. All models are standard with a rearview camera. Safety features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with brake assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, a driver drowsiness monitor, and road sign detection are also available. With so many safety features to its name, it’s no surprise the IIHS recognized the 2017 Volvo XC60 as a Top Safety Pick+. 

Consumer Reports highlights the best affordable used midsize SUVs for teens under $20,000

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Say your teen would benefit from a used midsize SUV. If that’s the case, Consumer Reports highlighted several affordable used SUVs for teens under $20,000. Among them are used midsize SUVs like the 2013 Subaru Outback, the 2017 to 2018 Kia Sorento, and the 2017 to 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. Each model came well-stocked with safety features and was recognized by the IIHS as either a Top Safety Pick or a Top Safety Pick+.

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Consumer Reports also recommends checking out the 2017 Mazda CX-9 if you’re shopping for the best used SUVs under $20,000. This affordable used SUV can be had with a slew of confidence-inspiring safety features too. These features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, active lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. It was also awarded the IIHS’s highest honor and was recognized as a Top Safety Pick+.

Buying a car for your teen doesn’t have to be expensive

There are plenty of used SUVs for teens under $20,000 out there. In fact, these are just a few of Consumer Reports’ recommendations for the best affordable used SUVs for teens. To find the best used SUV for your teen, we recommend keeping Consumer Reports’ recommendations in mind. We also suggest getting behind the wheel for a few test drives.