Best Used SUVs to Buy Under $5,000 According to Consumer Reports

If you’re looking to upgrade to something like an SUV for a little more space, financing something expensive isn’t always what you want. There’s a lot to be said for someone who would rather save for a while and pay up front in cash. There are good used cars and SUVs out there for under $5,000. According to Consumer Reports, these are the best used SUVs to buy for less than $5 grand.

A Honda Pilot on display at an auto show
A first-generation Honda Pilot | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

2005-2006 Honda CR-V

It’s definitely no surprise that Hondas and Toyotas make up this list of best used SUVs to buy for under $5,000. Each of these brands has a reputation for reliability and longevity. The 2005 and 2006 model year of the Honda CR-V is our first cheap SUV recommended by Consumer Reports. And we agree, it’s a great choice for a second or third hand SUV.

front view press photo of a Honda CR-V form the 2005 model year
2005 Honda CR-V | Auto Evolution

Consumer Reports says the “the CR-V of this vintage is extremely versatile.” People love it for its nice, smooth engine. It’s a very reliable car if regular maintenance is handled appropriately. Even high milage examples have plenty left to give. CR writes that “handling is sound but not agile.” However, it’s a very utilitarian family driver with a decent comfortable ride. There have been complaints of road noise, but the back seat is ample enough for family life. Additionally, the 2005 Honda CR-V was the first model year to feature Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and side curtain airbags.

2005 Honda CR-V driving on a gravel road
2005 Honda CR-V | AutoEvolution

CR posts an estimated final price of $4,625 – $5,525 for a 2005 Honda CR-V. The 2006 model year is also recommended. Overall gas mileage is estimated at 23 mpg, which is great for an older used SUV.

interior of the front seats of a 2005 Honda CR-V used SUV
Honda CR-V interior 2005 | MotorTrend

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2004-2006 Honda Pilot

interior dash view of the 2005 Honda Pilot
2005 Honda Pilot Interior | Vehicle History

The Honda Pilot is another one of the best used SUVs to buy for under $5,000. From the 2004 to the 2005 model year, the Honda Pilot is easy to find for the price range around $5 grand. According to CR, the 2006 Honda Pilot gets about 19 mpg overall. You can expect the 2004 and 2005 model years to get around the same mileage. The Pilot is more roomy, and has a third row.

Also according to CR, “the Pilot combines the best virtues of a wagon, an SUV, and a minivan.” The V6 is plenty for most drivers and the fuel economy really isn’t bad at all, everything considered. You’ll find a pretty comfortable ride and solid handling. However, you’ll also run into road noise for this model. Yet, for under $5,000 that’s not a major issue.

green 2005 Honda Pilot from the side in a press photo against a white backdrop
2005 Honda Pilot | Edmunds

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CR says that ESC was standard from the 2006 model year and on for the Honda Pilot. It began as an option for the 2005 model year. The third row folds. right into the floor for generous cargo space. You’ll find lots of “cubbies and bins” for interior storage and organization, making this one of the best used SUVs to buy for families.

2004-2005 Toyota RAV4

A Toyota RAV4 parked in a dealership lot
Toyota RAV4 | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Toyota RAV4 is a very popular model today, in 2020. However, it’s been a trusty little family steed for quite some time. According to Consumer Reports, you should avoid any model of used RAV4 because they did not have ESC, which is a vital safety feature.

The Toyota RAV4 from 2004 or 2005 is one of the best used SUVs to buy under $5,000. CR writes that “RAV4s of this vintage have nimble handling and compact dimensions that made them fun to drive and very maneuverable.” They can be expected to get around 24 mpg on average.

A red Toyota RAV4 on display at a car dealership.
Toyota RAV4 | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The ride noise and comfort are decent for its time. Though “rear seat room and cargo volume are modest.” Consumer Reports posts an average price between $4,675 – $5,150. Overall, this used Toyota SUV easily rounds out the list of best SUVs to buy under $5 grand.