15 Best SUVs Under $30K That Are Totally Worth Buying

Revolutionize your road trips with these affordable SUVs that redefine value and versatility.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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An SUV can be the right vehicle if you need extra interior space or simply want a bigger vehicle that keeps you safe.

Many SUVs are pricey, but there are still plenty of affordable models, so you can avoid wasting money on more vehicle than you need. Check out these options that are under $30,000.

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Volkswagen Taos

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The Volkswagen Taos could be a good option if you're looking for a compact SUV that works well for city driving.

This smaller SUV is easy to maneuver in traffic while giving you enough interior space for grocery shopping or getting the kids around.

You can pick up a Taos for a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $23,995, which is cheap enough to help you keep more money in your bank account.

Jeep Compass

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The Jeep Compass has a 2.0-liter turbo engine under the hood that gives you extra power without requiring you to pay $30,000.

Pick up a Compass for an MSRP of $25,900 for either the 2024 model.

Buick Encore GX

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The Buick Encore GX includes options you may not have considered in an affordable SUV, such as a wide infotainment display screen and a standard package of driver-assistance features and safety features.

The small SUV seats up to five and can be found at your local dealer for an MSRP of $25,600.

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Mazda CX-50

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The Mazda CX-50 was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS notes that the Mazda has extra LATCH positions, which are important if you have kids in car seats.

You can pick up a CX-50 for an MSRP of $30,300, putting it a bit above the $30,000 budget mark. Check with your local dealer to find out about incentives that might bring the cost down a bit.

Toyota RAV4

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The Toyota RAV4 is a crossover SUV that gives you 18 different color choices. You can also choose from multiple power trains, with six gas options and seven hybrid options.

The LE gas version is the cheapest model, with an MSRP of $28,675. The most affordable hybrid option is going to be slightly above the $30,000 mark at $31,725.

Mitsubishi Outlander

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The Mitsubishi Outlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with high overall marks for crashworthiness and crash avoidance.

The Outlander has three rows and room for up to seven people, and an MSRP of $28,395.

Ford Escape

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The Escape is one of Ford’s smaller SUVs, so it could be a good option if you’re looking for a compact vehicle with the SUV features you want.

The Escape’s MSRP comes in at $29,495, putting it close to the limit if you’re on a strict $30,000 budget.

Honda HR-V

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Honda’s HR-V is a great option if you’re looking for an SUV with a high safety rating as you drive kids to school or sports. The HR-V scored a Top Safety Pick Plus rating with IIHS due to strong crashworthiness and crash avoidance marks.

The HR-V also comes in at an affordable $25,100 MSRP for the 2025 model.

Subaru Outback

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The Subaru Outback is a midsize SUV that gives you the option to take the vehicle off paved roads.

The Outback is also fuel-efficient, giving you 26 miles per gallon in the city or 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Pick one up for an MSRP of $28,895 for the 2024 base model.

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Nissan Kicks

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The Nissan Kicks crossover SUV has plenty of features you may be looking for in a compact SUV, such as an affordable price and great gas mileage.

The SUV gets an estimated 31 miles per gallon in the city or 36 miles per gallon on the highway. It also has a low MSRP of $21,340 for the 2024 model.

Kia Sportage

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The Kia Sportage includes both hybrid and plug-in hybrid power trains if you’re looking for an SUV that can also help you save money on gas.

You can pick up a Sportage with an MSRP of $27,190 before adding additional features, which could bump the cost higher.

Chevrolet Bolt

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The Chevrolet Bolt could be a great option if you want to try an all-electric SUV.

Chevy's electric SUV has a starting MSRP of $26,500. However, remember to talk to your dealer about the Clean Vehicle Federal Tax Credit, as you may be able to get up to $7,500 in tax credits for buying an electric car.

Kia Soul

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The Kia Soul crossover SUV has a great compact design to make it easy to drive in traffic and cities while also giving you the room you need for an SUV.

The Soul has an MSRP of $20,190, making it an especially affordable SUV.

Chevrolet Equinox

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The Chevy Equinox is a crossover SUV. That means you get the space of an SUV with drivability similar to that of a car.

The Equinox starts at an MSRP of $26,600 for the new 2024 model and gives you 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on highways. That makes it more fuel-efficient than some other SUVs.

Subaru Crosstrek

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The Subaru Crosstrek comes with standard all-wheel drive to get around town or take you off the beaten path.

Pick up a Crosstrek for an MSRP of $25,195 for a base model.

Another way to cut your costs on a Crosstrek — or any other SUV on this list — is to save on car insurance by comparing quotes and choosing the company that gives you the best deal.

Bottom line

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SUVs can be great vehicles, but some can be expensive. If you are looking to get ahead financially, consider one of the models on this list that is less than $30,000.

These vehicles can give you the SUV you are looking for at a price that won’t ruin your budget.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.