The Most Wanted SUVs Under $35,000 for 2017
15. 2017 Toyota Highlander – Midsize
This year's Toyota Highlander sets the standard for reliability and safety. It comes with a third row of seating which adds a decent amount of space, but only for the smaller members of your group.
What it lacks in performance it gains in features, options, and an all-new engine and transmission couple for 2017, which is pretty exciting.
All this comes at a price though, and with the Highlander finding itself at the top of our list, it is the most expensive at $30,630. Considering what you get though, it's definitely still a great value.
Pros: fantastic combination of reliability and safety, long list of options to choose from
Cons: small third row can feel cramped for adults, not performance oriented, heftier price tag than others
Bottom line: The Highlander is a beloved member of the SUV community, receiving high praise for its dependability to keep itself and its passengers safe and riding comfortably.
14. 2017 Honda Pilot – Midsize
The Honda Pilot (big brother of the CR-V) was built primarily for comfort and its third row is expansive enough to cater to adults without sacrificing cargo space in the back which is a major benefit.
In fact, there are many well thought out aspects of this vehicle that make it "must-see" such as space, power, options, comfort, styling and efficiency.
At $30,595 you can buy one without breaking the bank, but be ready to bust out the instruction manual for the stereo and climate controls as they can be a bit tricky.
Pros: very comfortable interior, many exciting features, and ample room for all passengers
Cons: some buyers may find it difficult to learn the electronics (similar to the latest Ford Escape)
Bottom line: The Honda Pilot will most likely set the course for where the midsize SUV goes in the future and is already a popular option for families and buyers needing a lot of space.
13. 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee - Off-road
Built for off-road enthusiasts, this Jeep is an exciting vehicle with a huge reputation.
It may seem that a base model price tag of $30,395 is too much for this type of vehicle that sometimes lacks reliability, but if maintained properly, Jeep promises a rewarding purchase.
The good thing is, with horsepower capabilities of up to 475hp, you won’t be wanting for more power - this vehicle is capable of more than your average SUV.
In fact - this will appease the sports car junkies out there - it has the same amount of exhilarating wheel-spinning power as you get in a Porsche 911 GT3, which when you think about it, is pretty insane (at least to me).
Pros: ample horsepower, off-road capabilities, adventurous and fun to drive
Cons: some questions its reliability ratings, higher initial cost (which is pretty standard for Jeep)
Bottom line: The Grand Cherokee can be a lot of fun to drive and own, but weighing the pros and cons of its reliability scores is definitely worth doing.
12. 2017 Dodge Durango – Midsize
The Durango is a comfortable and powerful choice for an SUV. It’s one of the few in its class that offers a V8, so if you don’t mind getting 14 mpg in the city, this could be a great choice for you.
Prices start under $30,000, but in all honesty, you’ll want to go that extra mile for a higher package since the base is really just a bare-bones model.
Pros: very powerful, comfortable, relatively low base model price, noteworthy V8 engine as an option
Cons: V8 option is great, but gives the lowest mpg in its class and there are very few options offered with the base model
Bottom line: The Durango gives you a chance to haul small to midsize trailers without needing a truck, but extra investments into options go a long way for this Dodge. If I were buying one, I’d go all in on the options to get the most out of it.
11. 2017 Chevrolet Traverse – Midsize
The Chevy Traverse is another standout SUV for 2017 for having the highest safety ratings. Scoring almost 10/10 in this category, it’s easy to see why the Traverse is so popular for families and anyone else prioritizing a safe ride (which is pretty much everyone).
The 3.6L V6 engine is standard for whichever trim level you go for, so expect the same drab fuel economy no matter how much you spend. That being said, if you enjoy the secure feeling of driving an armored tank, the Traverse should definitely be on your shortlist.
Just as a heads up, don’t expect a huge amount of quality to be included with the $28,700 base price tag - you will probably want to factor in some options for that.
Pros: extraordinary safety scores, power of a V6 standard, popular choice for families
Cons: not known to look or feel too luxurious, substandard fuel economy, base model lacks a few qualities buyers typically look for
Bottom line: If I had a set of newborn triplets that I wanted to bring home from the hospital, I’d go with the Traverse; otherwise, I'd probably set my sights on another SUV with slightly better fuel economy.
10. 2017 Nissan Murano – Midsize
The stylish Nissan Murano is probably the most well-rounded and methodically designed SUV on this list, which is saying something.
Built by the Japanese, you can take comfort in knowing the Murano exceeds expectations in almost every category - especially in the reliability contest.
The 2017 model offers a plush, comfortable interior making passengers feel as though they are riding in a luxurious $70,000 SUV. The difference? You get the satisfaction of knowing you paid under $30,000 for it.
Both Front Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive powertrains are presented as options, but neither one makes you give up the excellent fuel economy of the standard 3.5L V6 engine.
Pros: very luxurious feeling, outstanding reliability, and gymnastic flexibility make this SUV a popular choice
Cons: the base model is a little pricier than its main competitors, maintenance costs tend to be higher since it’s not a domestic brand
Bottom line: Anyone is the market for an SUV should consider test-driving the 2017 Murano. If I had to recommend just one SUV to buyers, it would definitely be this one. Its design, performance, and reasonable price tag are the perfect combination for most consumers.
9. 2017 Kia Sorento – Midsize
Year after year, the Kia Sorento is quickly becoming a popular option for many wanting a midsize SUV without having to pay an arm or leg for it. It starts at $25,600, which is practically a steal for what you get.
It’s got an optional V6 that loves to zip around from errand to errand, but the standard base engine isn’t going to be quite as potent. The third row is actually a really valuable option here that allows the flexibility to carry either cargo or passengers without compromising space or comfort.
Pros: low pricing, V6 as an option, optional third-row seating if you need more space
Cons: base model not as spacious as its competitors, making you choose between cargo space or passenger space (or adding an option)
Bottom line: The Sorento has a lot to offer and deserves its spot on this year's list of top SUVs. Buyers should definitely consider taking it for a test drive before deciding against it.
8. 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe – Midsize
Other SUVs scored highly in this category, but once again, Hyundai takes the gold in safety.
This may be in part due to its slightly lackluster acceleration with the standard engine, but the suite of safety and comfort options are there all the same. The Santa Fe is an easy one to consider with a price of $25,350 at the base model.
Pros: High safety ratings, dozens of options to choose from, great vehicle for the price
Cons: some complain it has a dismal performance, especially in acceleration
Bottom line: As far as 2017 midsize SUVs go, the Hyundai Santa Fe hangs out at the top of the list for being the safest, and for that reason alone should be one to consider.
7. 2017 Ford Escape – Compact
If Ford were to say the Escape was all-new this year, they would be right. Sure it’s been around for over a decade now, but the 2017 model got a total revamp and it's good. Really good.
A completely new design inside and out with a new turbocharged 1.5L engine and several additional tech options really launched the Escape into a new class of vehicle.
Fuel economy and reliability may leave something to be desired, but for the tech savvy buyers out there, this computer on wheels could be a really great choice.
Pros: All new design, incredible advanced technology, great design and overall look
Cons: The complex electronics makes it difficult for some, lower dependability
Bottom line: Ford was smart to completely redesign this year's Escape. It's a spectacular driving machine and is as beautiful as it is hard to master.
6. 2017 GMC Terrain – Compact
The GMC Terrain is hands down one of my personal favorites. Offering a more robust look and feel while still managing to pull off the luxurious interior is not an easy thing to pull off but the Terrain does it in stride.
Unlike many of its competitors, the Terrain comes with an optional V6, giving the driver just over 300 horsepower to work with. In other words, you won't be wanting for more power.
The flipside to that excellent power to weight ratio is the 16 miles per gallon in the city which can be pricey, especially when considering its asking price is a whopping $24,070.
Pros: the available V6 engine, higher quality materials used on the interior, ready for rugged performance
Cons: some say the ride is a bit on the rougher side, below-par gas mileage
Bottom line: The Terrain leans more on the adventurous side of the scale and is a perfect choice for buyers interested in a robust SUV with a touch of luxury.
5. 2017 Honda CR-V – Compact
No SUV list would be complete without this year's Honda CR-V. The completely redesigned compact SUV takes the number one overall rating from many experts for its class and with good reason too.
The CR-V proposes to be an exciting option for buyers in the market, offering a spacious interior, outstanding safety features and a choice between its 2.4L or Turbo 1.5L engines.
Coming in at $24,045 for the base model, it is a super affordable option which is always good.
Pros: High ratings, a plethora of available options and a moderately low starting price
Cons: Not exceedingly luxurious
Bottom line: The Honda CR-V is everything you would want in a family SUV: space, decent price, and great safety features.
4. 2017 Kia Sportage – Compact
This year's Kia Sportage is bold and commended for its ability to cover every aspect of an SUV owner’s life; from grocery trips to off-the-beaten-path camping trips, it is more than capable of holding its own and keeping up with your hectic schedule.
For a starting price of $23,200, you will get incredible value at a decent price. Along with being a comfortable ride, you'll still get over 180 horsepower and great acceleration.
To consider the Sportage, however, it must be noted that excellent fuel economy may not have been a focus point for the engineers, as the average fuel economy hovers around 21 mpg.
Pros: Very well rounded in most of the important aspects of car-buying, a good fit for most SUV shoppers
Cons: slightly underwhelming fuel economy, so you'll need to fork over a little more in fuel costs each year
Bottom line: The Sportage no doubt covers many bases with its all-new design, but I do wonder if the low fuel economy would be easy to oversee for buyers in today's market. Still, it's a great choice for everyday driving and a favorite among economical SUV buyers.
3. 2017 Chevrolet Equinox – Compact
For the Chevrolet Equinox, reliability is the name of the game, so if that's your main qualifier, this SUV has your name all over it.
Chevrolet engineers spared no expense in making this one of the least broken down vehicles out there, let alone in the compact SUV class.
Starting prices come in at a modest $23,100, but it might not hurt to invest in one of its pricier option packages. After all, maintenance won’t really be an issue since this thing is built to last.
New for 2017, the top of the line package, LTZ, was replaced with the Premier package.
Pros: No point in making friends at your local repair shop since you probably won't be needing much repair work, and its option packages are most extensive I've seen
Cons: very few features are included in the base model, which can be disappointing to some potential buyers
Bottom Line: This Chevrolet will always have a place in my garage, simply because of its brilliant engineering and durability. What it lacks in some areas, it more than makes up for with its long lasting qualities.
2. 2017 Hyundai Tucson – Compact
The Hyundai Tucson is most likely the safest compact SUV on this list and the price point puts it in the top five for many SUV shoppers.
Another selling point is its base model price; at $22,700, its reasonable price is a steal for good engineering and peace of mind. The downside for some is probably the lack of attractiveness on the inside and not a whole lot of effort put into the performance aspect.
Despite any shortcomings, a lot of SUV shoppers consider this model to be in their top five choices for 2017. Buyers tend to love the practicality of the vehicle and its streamlined design.
Pros: Tremendously high safety ratings, price tag is easy to justify for what you get
Cons: Not very powerful and mediocre interior styling
Bottom Line: The Tucson is quite practical as a Sports Utility Vehicle, and should be considered if you are concerned for the safety of a loved one. Just don’t expect to show off in it.
1. 2017 Subaru Forester - Compact
Everyone loves a Subaru, and this model is no exception.
The Forester offers the most storage space of any other model in its class. All Wheel Drive is standard, making it true to the Subaru legacy.
This not-too-distant cousin of the mighty WRX gives fantastic value for the price ($22,595), but sacrifices some styling and fuel economy (22-26 mpg city) along the way. Still, it's a pretty sure bet for most buyers in the market for a compact SUV.
New for 2017 is reverse automatic braking and even more options in the EyeSight safety collection.
Pros: Largest cargo space and AWD make this a very practical choice, including some new and improved safety features
Cons: Not the most attractive vehicle and less efficient than other options out there, but most Subaru owners are loyal to the brand for good reason
Bottom Line: The Forester has definitely earned its place among the top SUVs of 2017 and should be added to your must-see list before making a final decision.
What SUV do you think is the best for 2017?