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Top 10 SUVs Under $10,000

BY: Adam Karner

With the holidays coming up, you’re probably looking for ways to save money on gifts for friends, family and even yourself. Whether you’re looking for clothes, gadgets, gizmos or other gifts, shopping on a budget can be challenging, despite the deals and savings available this time of year. 

It can be even more complicated if you’re looking to purchase a new car, like an SUV, to find the right vehicle without breaking the bank, especially as larger cars like SUVs and trucks will often cost more than your average sedan. Still, despite prices on new and used vehicles skyrocketing over the last few years due to the pandemic, savvy consumers like yourself can find a great deal on top-rated used SUVs if they know where to look. 

That’s why we dove deep to put together a list of the 10 best SUVs you can find under $10,000.

The Top 10 SUVs Under $10,000

Going with a used vehicle will always be the cheaper option when shopping for any vehicle, whether it’s a sedan, a truck or an SUV. Still, while you can find a great vehicle at an affordable price, it’s a “used car” for a reason, and that low price will reflect that. That’s why it’s always best to research and learn more about any vehicle you consider purchasing. This includes checking its accident and maintenance history reports, checking its mileage and taking it for a test drive so you can get up close and personal to tell if there are potential issues with how the car runs or handles.

Best Compact SUV: 2010 Honda CR-V

The 2010 Honda CR-V is a five-passenger crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a front-wheel drive (FWD) drivetrain, a 5-speed automatic transmission, and upgraded features like power heated seats, Bluetooth, and a USB audio port. 

The 2010 Honda CR-V was one of the best-selling SUVs in the country. In 2010, it won the best compact crossover, has excellent reliability ratings, and consistently claims top rankings for the best used compact SUV, even under $10,000. In addition, the model year boasts an additional 14 horsepower than the previous version and improved fuel economy with a spacious interior and 73 cubic feet of cargo space, family-friendly features and an outstanding safety record. 

Best Midsize SUV: 2008 Toyota Highlander

The 2008 Toyota Highlander is a midsize crossover with optional third-row seating, ideal for young families. The strong 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 270 horsepower, offering an impressive 7.3-second acceleration from 0 to 60, which is more than enough to safely and confidently maneuver onramps and merges. Moreover, its engine power pairs well with its luxury-inspired interior, including leather seats, a backup camera, GPS navigation, and Bluetooth connectivity. 

In its time, the 2008 Highlander even was awarded the top safety pick for a midsize SUV by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS). The only downfall could be that although the Highlander claims to seat seven passengers, arguably, the third row is intended for younger children and will not be comfortable for long road trips, teenagers, or the average-sized adult. 

Best SUV for Large Families: 2012 Chevrolet Traverse

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse is another crossover SUV. Although nearly a full-size SUV, this one still technically lands in the midsize SUV category, making ChevyTraverse bigger than competitors like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander or the Hyundai Veracruz. Its roomy third-row seat can easily fit up to eight passengers, even full-size adults, and an additional 116.4 cubic feet of storage capacity, the most of any in its model year segment. Although, the LT model with the cloth upholstery came with captain’s chairs in the second row, comfortably seating seven passengers

This model year ranks as one of the best SUVs for a family of six, featuring incredible safety records, lower insurance costs, and better fuel economy. The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse’s sophisticated 3.6-liter V6 engine with a four-wheel independent suspension system offers a smooth and comfortable ride, reminiscent of a smaller vehicle, with all of the family-centered practicality of a minivan, like a power liftgate, rear seat entertainment system with second-row controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote keyless entry and remote start. This versatile crossover utility vehicle has a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds and can be equipped with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) or FWD drivetrain.

Best SUV for Towing: 2009 Toyota Sequoia (Pictured Above)

For drivers needing more towing capabilities to haul a boat, a travel trailer, or a utility/livestock trailer, a 2009 Toyota Sequoia is an excellent choice. This full-size SUV offers a massive interior, a smooth ride on and off the highway, and impressive maneuverability even in parking lots. Families will enjoy three-row flexible options, with either a 40/20/40 split-bench seat second row or captain’s chairs and a foldable 60/40 third-row bench seat, both of which can fold flat, opening up an impressive 121 cubic feet of cargo space

Along with space, this vehicle has a luxurious interior while also being able to tow up to 10,000lbs when properly equipped. For example, two V8 engine options, the 5.7-liter V8 or a smaller 4.7-liter, are both available in rear-wheel drive (RWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) options. Standard features include tri-zone automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and remote entry. In contrast, top-of-the-line models include a power liftgate and sunroof, heated and vented front seats, and power rear seats. As a result, the 2009 Sequoia frequently outranks competitors like the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Ford Expedition. 

Best SUV for Fuel Efficiency: 2013 Mazda CX-5

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover has won several awards, including being the 2013 SUV of the Year for the Americas by the International Federation of Automotive Journalists and being a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It is an excellent option for those looking for a fuel-efficient SUV under $10,000, boasting a class-leading 26 MPG city/35 MPG highway rating with a manual transmission. If you opt for the automatic, you’ll still enjoy less time at the pump with 25 MPG city/32 MPG highway. 

To get an even better sense of the CX-5, this five-passenger crossover compact SUV is in the same class as the Honda CR-V and other competitors, like the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue. Yet, Mazda stands out as sporty, fun to drive, and impressively responsive. The Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trims are available and have FWD and AWD drivetrains and manual and automatic transmission options. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly SUV that’s sporty and has excellent fuel economy; the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is worth considering. 

Best Compact Luxury SUV: 2010 Acura RDX

Most notably, the 2010 Acura RDX won the competitive title of Best Compact Premium SUV in 2010 by J.D. Power, beating out tough competitors, including the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLK. Its eye-catching exterior is matched by an equally impressive interior, which includes sport-style, perforated leather seats, an attractive sculpted three-spoke steering wheel and metallic trim. A generous center console controls high-tech features, like the glass moonroof, backup camera, heated front seats, an upgraded infotainment system and a 360-watt sound system with a seven-speaker in-dash XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. 

However, the Acura also has a surprise under the hood—a turbocharged inter-cooled 2.3-liter DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that gives this model a V6 power feel with the weight of a smaller four-cylinder. An AWD RDX clocks in at 6.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph, making it one of the fastest compact luxury crossovers. The Acura RDX is ideal for anyone looking for an affordable and reliable small SUV with high-performance luxury.

Best Hybrid SUV: 2008 Lexus RX 400h

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h hybrid SUV is a peppy, fuel-efficient and luxurious midsize SUV that was the only “green” option of its class in 2008. For drivers looking for a budget yet environmentally friendly option, the Lexus RX 400h utilizes full-hybrid technology, seamlessly fluctuating between gas-engine-only, electric-only or a combination of the two. 

Overall, the RX 400h is quiet and has a smooth ride with good responsiveness and tight handling. However, if you’re looking for a vehicle with all the added bells and whistles, the Lexus RX 400h may be lacking. Although it has the supple leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, along with chrome accents and other luxury features, the in-dash cassette and 6-disc CD changer may need an upgrade.

Best AWD SUV: 2012 Subaru Outback

A 2012 Subaru Outback driving down a snowy forest road. While not looking like a traditional "SUV," the Outback is a popular choice for drivers.

The 2012 Subaru Outback is the ideal midsize AWD SUV option for the adventure-seeker looking for an affordable used car. As a top of its class in the 2012 model year, the Outback outperformed the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen and the 2012 Toyota Prius V to earn the number 1 spot for Best Wagon for the Money and the Best Wagon for Families, according to U.S. News

Although it isn’t designed for serious off-roading, the 256 horsepower impressive peak torque produced by the 3.6 liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine and 5-speed adaptive automatic transmission will confidently take you where you want to go. Notably, the 2012 Outback is also available with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, which most drivers agree will still accomplish your daily driving with more fuel efficiency, although with notably less power. In addition, the attractive interior makes it a comfortable ride, no matter where the road leads, complete with a leather-trimmed power adjustable driver’s seat, ample head- and leg room, substantial 71.3 cubic feet of cargo area capacity, and an intuitive roof rack with fold-out crossbars. Overall, the Subaru is an excellent choice for drivers looking for a midsize, wagon-like, AWD crossover vehicle. 

Best Used SUV for Safety: 2012 Ford Edge

The 2012 Ford Edge is the winner of the U.S. News award for the 2012 Best Affordable Midsize SUV, and it was selected as a 2012 Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. The Edge offers a quiet, smooth, and responsive driving experience, allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead. Four different model trims are available. The most premium features include heated leather seats, a premium sound system, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and the breathtaking “Vista Roof,” a panoramic glass roof to brighten the ride. 

This sporty five-passenger crossover SUV has three different engine options, the highest rated being the high-powered 3.7-liter V6 engine capable of producing 305 horsepower is available in the Sport, performance-focused Edge model. However, for those looking for better gas mileage, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo EcoBoost engine offers 240 horsepower, achieving an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Best Affordable SUV: 2012 Nissan Murano

The 2012 Nissan Murano is a sophisticated mid-sized crossover SUV with unique styling and a potent powertrain. The Murano is a budget-friendly option that offers a great driving experience with an attractive interior, intuitive technology, and sport-tuned suspension. No wonder the Nissan Murano took the top spot for the U.S. News Most Affordable Midsize SUV in 2012. The upscale interior includes an impressive sound system and dual-zone climate control, with the opportunity to upgrade to a dual-pane sunroof, backup camera, and Bluetooth and satellite capabilities.

Even the backseat features abundant head- and legroom as well as reclining seatbacks for optimal comfort, as it was designed with the comfort of five passengers in mind. However, this vehicle is more than just an appealing exterior. The Murano also offers a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower, backed by one of the business’s best continuously variable automatic transmissions for an engaging driving experience. 

Protect Your Used Car, Truck or SUV with Endurance

If you’ve been shopping for an SUV or another vehicle, you’ve likely noticed that car prices have increased recently, leaving you with fewer options than you might have imagined. However, it is possible to find a great deal on a reliable SUV for under $10,000 when considering buying a pre-owned SUV. 

For older SUVs and vehicles past their factory warranty coverage, an extended warranty, like one from Endurance Warranty, can protect you from unexpected repair bills that come with buying a used SUV. After all, while a pre-owned car can be a budget-friendly option, older vehicles with high mileage need more frequent repairs and maintenance to keep them running, and a costly repair bill can add up if you’re not prepared. 

Luckily, whether your car, truck or SUV has 75,000 miles or over 300,000, an Endurance protection plan can help give you peace of mind with comprehensive and award-winning breakdown protection and complimentary benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car reimbursements. Plus, you’ll also have access to the exclusive Endurance Mobile app and our award-winning customer service, along with the chance to enjoy an entire year’s worth of Endurance Elite Benefits, including extra perks and savings like key fob replacements, tire repairs or replacements, collision discounts and even up to $1,000 in total loss protection.

Get started by requesting a free, no-obligation quote today or call our customer care team at (800) 253-8203. You can also find more articles on topics ranging from everything you should know about used car warranties to tips on how to get the best price on your used car, insights about when new car prices will drop, and how to make the most of your test drive by visiting the Endurance blog

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