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If you’re thinking about buying a new SUV, you’re likely wondering how much car you can afford. Figuring out your budget for a new car isn’t easy. Although there are loads of calculators out there, not many help you figure out how much of your salary you should spend on a new SUV. Here are some guidelines to figure out how much SUV you can afford, as well as affordable SUVs and luxury SUVs that will fit your needs.

A white 2021 Subaru Forester speeding down a tree-lined road.
2021 Subaru Forester | Subaru

How much car can I afford?

Investopedia says that the average new car costs $40,000. That price may be higher if you’re buying an SUV. And if you’re buying a new luxury SUV, you can expect that number to be much higher. 

As far as how much car you can afford, Investopedia has some advice. They recommend that no more than 10-15% of your monthly income be spent on your vehicle. That includes more than just your car payment. You have to take into account repairs, registration fees, and insurance

So what kind of SUV can you buy? It’s difficult to account for all the variances that occur with purchasing an individual car. Your credit score, the amount of money you’re planning on putting down, and even where you live can change your monthly payments. So let’s assume that you’re comfortable spending ten percent of your income on just your car payment. That leaves you five percent of room for the extras, or you can factor in a little extra for your monthly payment if you’d like. 

We’ll also assume that you’re in the second-highest credit category, and that you’re taking out a 60-month loan. Here’s what you can get.

If you bring home $3,500 per month, you can buy the 2022 Hyundai Venue

Based on Nerd Wallet’s calculator, if you bring home $3,500 a month, one of the cars you can afford is the 2022 Hyundai Venue. This SUV starts at around $18,900, which with above criteria, would cost you $352.35 per month. 

If your take home pay is $4,500 per month, the 2021 Subaru Forester is one of the cars you can afford

The 2021 Subaru Forester will cost you about $462.25 per month, for the car payment alone. Of course, that’s with 0 money down and a very good credit score. If your criteria is different than that, your payment will vary.

You can buy the 2021 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid if your take home pay is $5,500 per month

The 2021 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is slightly more expensive than the regular Toyota Rav4, but if you’ve been wanting a hybrid SUV, this would fit in your budget. This doesn’t include insurance or taxes, but you should have some room to pay for those things as well.

The 2021 Kia Telluride S is one of the cars you can afford for $650 per month

If you bring home $6,500 per month, the 2021 Kia Telluride is within your budget. The 2021 Kia Telluride S starts at about $34,590. This will cost you $644 per month, with very good credit. Just make sure you take into account insurance and repairs.

You could get a Tesla if you make $7,500 a month

How much car you can afford will increase as your pay increases. The 2021 Tesla Model Y starts at $39,990. If you bring home $7,500 a month and spend 10% on just your car payment, you’ll have $4.47 left over a month. Don’t spend it all in once place.

The 2022 Volvo XC90 starts at almost $50,000

If you want the newest Volvo, the 2022 Volvo XC90 and you bring home at least $9,300 per month, you’re in luck. The 2022 Volvo XC90 will cost you about $932.15 per month, with all the above criteria. Seem like too much? You can try putting down some money to make that number shrink. 

The 2021 Audi Q8 is a luxury SUV you can buy for $1200 per month

If your monthly income is at least $1,271 per month, and you don’t put any money down, you can buy the 2021 Audi Q8. Just remember that your monthly payment isn’t the only cost of car ownership, and plan accordingly. 

Whether you want a budget SUV or a luxury SUV, there are plenty of options. How much car you can afford will come down to a few key factors that you have to calculate. The most important thing when buying a car is to do a lot of research. Make sure you’re buying something that you can afford, including putting away money for unforeseen expenses like unexpected repairs. Try to raise your credit score and save some money before you make a big purchase like a new SUV, that way you’re in the best position to buy.


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