When you’re looking for the best used SUVs under $20,000, keep in mind that you’ll probably need to forego the top-of-the-line models in lieu of the base or mid-level trims. That said, however, you can still get some great deals on late model SUVs in this price range.

Our sources include Consumer Reports “Best Used Vehicles Under $20,000,” Kiplinger’s “Top 10 Picks for Best Used Cars,” and Edmunds “2010 Used Car Best Bets.” We’ve also checked what auto reviewers have to say and included Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) pricing for the models and years listed.

  • 2007 Honda Pilot LXKiplinger hails the 2007 Honda Pilot LX as one of its 10 Best Values in Used Cars for 2009, saying: “The ultra-utilitarian Pilot seats eight, hauls 3,500 pounds and has 48 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second seat. You also get Honda engineering and reliability.” Edmunds TMV for the 2007 Honda Pilot starts at $16,068.
  • 2007 Honda CR-VBoth Edmunds and Consumer Reports single out the Honda CR-V compact crossover SUV as a used vehicle best bet. Edmunds comments: “Space-efficient, fuel-efficient and easy to own, the Honda CR-V does almost everything well… A comfortable ride, an excellent reliability record and strong crash test scores underscore why the CR-V is a top pick among our staff and consumers alike.” Edmunds TMV pricing for the 2007 Honda CR-V ranges from $16,544 (LX) to $21,598 (EX-L with navigation).
  • 2008 Hyundai Santa FeOne of the fastest-growing segments is the midsize crossover SUV, and the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe is a terrific choice for best used SUVs under $20,000. Consumer Reports puts Santa Fe (V6) in its $18,000-$20,000 price range of best used vehicles. Edmunds TMV for the 2008 crossover SUV is $16,019 to $21,948. All but the Limited trims are available for under $20,000 starting TMV. Consumer Guide, which gave it a Recommended, says of the 2008 model: “Santa Fe offers impressive room, build quality, and standard safety features, all at competitive prices. Hyundai’s generous warranty is another value plus.”
  • 2009 Mitsubishi OutlanderAnother midsize crossover SUV on the Consumer Reports list is the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander. About.com remarks: “…the Outlander is a solid, fun-to-drive, mid-sized crossover with unique style and value.” The second-generation Outlander (2007-2009) introduced V6 power, third-row seating, and additional cargo room, thus adding consumer-friendly attributes. Edmunds TMV for the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander is $17,330 (ES) to $21,529 (XLS).
  • 2007-2008 Ford Edge (FWD)Consumer Reports lists the 2007 FWD Ford Edge in the $18,000-$20,000 price range of best used cars. Edmunds TMV ranges from $15,518 (2007) to a low of $18,220 (2008) for the Ford Edge midsize crossover SUV. Consumer Guide notes: “…Edge impresses for its carlike ride and generous passenger and cargo room…Give Edge a look, but favor an SE model or a judiciously-equipped SEL for best dollar value.”
  • 2007-2008 Subaru ForesterAs a fun family SUV, you can’t beat the 5-passenger 2007-2008 Subaru Forester (yes, another Consumer Reports best used SUV choice). All models feature standard all-wheel drive. New Car Test Drive observes: “Forester delivers the SUV features its buyers want, including a high seating position, good cargo space and a choice of superb all-wheel-drive systems.” Edmunds TMV for 2007 Forester goes from $13,840 to $17,876, while the 2008 begins at $15,744 to $22,573.

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