Searching for best cheap large SUVs – but don’t have a clue where to start? First, figure out how much you need in the way of passenger and cargo-carrying capabilities, whether or not you’ll be towing a boat or a trailer, how important fuel economy is to you, and whether you’ll need to go off-road. Then, decide just how much you want in the way of amenities, and don’t forget to thoroughly investigate the safety features (standard and optional). You’ll start to get a good idea of your wants/needs. Now, it all boils down to starting manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP). Although no one pays sticker, it’s a good place to begin to sort out the large SUV offerings available.

Here are five 2010 Best Cheap Large SUVs to put on your consideration list. They are arranged in descending order of starting base MSRPs:

  • Mazda CX-9 ($28,805 – $34,215) – From the zoom-zoom automaker Mazda comes the CX-9, the only car-based crossover large SUV in the class. For 2010, CX-9 gets a slight exterior refresh, and reviewers love the styling, agile performance, and loads of standard safety features. With 7-passenger seating and good cargo capacity, CX-9 is the only one of the bunch with a V6 engine – and there’s limited towing and a somewhat stiff ride. Still, consider CX-9 as a bargain-priced large SUV. Edmunds says, “Want a family-friendly crossover that doesn’t compromise on driving excitement? Look no further than the 2010 Mazda CX-9.”
  • Jeep Commander ($31,575 – $42,830) – Consumers looking for go-anywhere capabilities have a good choice in the Jeep Commander, which is largely carryover from 2009. Plusses include lots of passenger space, good federal safety scores, and off-road prowess. But Commander doesn’t stand out in a competitive class, especially with its rather uncomfortable interior, say reviewers. Edmunds comments: “Although not quite as capable off-road as the smaller Jeeps, among SUVs in its size class the Commander is a superb trail-buster, able to tackle rock-strewn paths and steep mountain tracks without breaking a sweat.”
  • Ford Expedition ($35,585 – $51,240) – With second- and third rows that fold flat into the floor with the touch of a button and a third-row seat that’s actually adult-friendly, the Ford Expedition full-size SUV wins praise for its interior. While towing is impressive, Expedition’s weight and size make it a tad tougher handling than some competitors. Car and Driver opines: “Built on the old F-series pickup chassis, the Expedition is a traditional full-size SUV that delivers quiet operation, a supple ride, and attractive interior décor.”
  • Chevrolet Tahoe ($37,280 – $53,615) – Seating, towing, substantial V8 power, off-road and foul-weather capability and Consumer Guide Best Buy for several years straight are major selling points in the Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV. Reviewers hail the spacious interior and comment that for such a large vehicle, Tahoe is surprisingly light on its feet. Kelley Blue Book says, “The 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe continues to be one of the best full-size SUV values on the market.”
  • Nissan Armada ($37,570 – $52,490) – Decent handling, plenty of power in a 317-hp V8 engine, roomy interior and rugged capabilities are hallmarks of the 2010 Nissan Armada – but they’re not enough to make the large SUV a standout in its class of best cheap large SUVs. Offering good value for its size, Armada can seat up to eight. Car and Driver says, “This big, traditional SUV is built upon the bones of the Titan pickup and packs a powerful V8 engine. Its three rows of seating are remarkably spacious, it drives smaller than it actually is, and it is well suited to towing.”

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