Yes, You Can Buy a New SUV for Less Than $20,000

We can talk about high SUV prices until the cows come home. But rejoice! You can still buy two new SUVs for less than $20,000, and they don’t feel like penalty boxes on wheels. The Kia Soul and the Hyundai Venue are closely related, under their stylish sheet metal, yet they’re two different subcompact SUVs aimed at two different markets, even if their price is less than $20,000.

The sub-$20,000 SUV is getting rare

Front angle view of silver 2022 Chevy Trax
2022 Chevy Trax | Chevrolet

For 2023 several of last year’s bargain SUVs are gone. Chevy killed the Trax and the Spark, and while it was cheap, not many will miss the subcompact Spark. Now, the cheapest 2023 Chevy SUV you can buy is the Trailblazer, and it’s about $22,000. Ford killed the EcoSport, which was a competent but uninspiring small SUV.

Nissan has slightly updated the Kicks for 2023. It comes in at an oh-so-close price of $20,290 for 2023, while the 2022 version sold for $19,990. The Kicks, though, now comes standard with Nissan Safety Shield driver aids, as well as a seven-inch touchscreen and more.

Several SUVs are close to $20,000

A red 2022 Volkswagen Taos parked on some dirt
2022 Volkswagen Taos | Edmunds

Several manufacturers make SUVs that cost just a bit more than these two, like the Toyota Corolla Cross at $22,445, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is $21,700, while the VW Taos comes in at $23,495. Each of these SUVs comes with drivers’ aids, like automatic braking and lane keep assist, as well as human-sized touchscreens and more. But, they blow through the $20,000 price barrier.

Hyundai Venue is cheap to buy and own

The Hyundai Venue SE starts at $19,000 and comes well equipped for being the cheapest new SUV you can buy. It’s not luxurious, but it does come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, dual USB chargers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Bluetooth for your phone, and more. It has manual climate controls, remote entry, and more. Upgraded SEL and Limited models get more stuff, but not a lot more. It’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor only makes 121 horsepower, so don’t expect a speed demon, but it does get 29 mpg in town and 33 mpg on the highway.

For 2023 the base model it’s mostly a carryover, except for a new, larger and color, instrument cluster screen, a new armrest, and a map light. Also, it earned a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS.

Kia Soul will get a major 2023 update

The 2022 Kia Soul is one of only two SUVs you can buy that cost less than $20,000.
2022 Kia Soul | Kia

Though they’re related under the skin, the $19,290 2022 Kia Soul has a 2.0-liter 147 horsepower engine that makes it feel like it’s in an entirely different class than the Venue. Overall, it feels a lot like the Venue but it has slightly bolder styling for its tiny size. Like the Hyundai, even the base LX version has several safety systems, like rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and lane-keep assist, as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Act fast if you want a 2022, however. The 2023 version will be hitting dealers soon and with new styling, however, Kia has not released pricing yet.  

While both of these SUVs are inexpensive, they’re not cheap. They both have standard features, like 8.0-inch touchscreens and safety systems that just a few years ago were unimaginable on $20,000 vehicles.

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