Best SUV for the Money: Top Picks and Expert Analysis

In the ever-growing automotive market, SUVs continue to gain popularity among consumers searching for the perfect blend of functionality, comfort, and style. With numerous options to choose from, finding the best SUV for the money can be a daunting task. This article aims to make that decision easier by showcasing some of the top-rated SUV models that offer exceptional value without compromising on quality.

The demand for SUVs has led manufacturers to produce various models catered to different budgets and needs, offering potential buyers an abundance of choice when it comes to selecting the best SUV for their money. Some key factors to consider when shopping for the perfect SUV include overall performance, safety features, fuel efficiency, and cargo space, along with design and aesthetic appeal.

By evaluating these factors and taking into account various expert reviews and rankings, it becomes easier to narrow the search for the ideal SUV that provides the most bang for your buck. Prospective buyers can compare features and price points to make an informed decision on which SUV best suits their needs while offering the best value for money.

Understanding the Parameters

When evaluating the best SUVs for your money, there are several key parameters to consider in order to make an informed decision. This section will cover the following topics:

Vehicle Performance

Vehicle performance is an essential aspect to assess when considering the best SUVs for the money. Factors such as fuel economy, horsepower, and handling should be taken into account. For example, the 2023 Mazda CX-30 offers a decent fuel economy of 25-29 mpg, a 191 horsepower base engine, and sharp handling. Moreover, some SUVs provide optional higher horsepower engines, as seen in the Mazda CX-30’s 227-hp option.

Features and Comfort

Understanding the available features and the level of comfort is also crucial when comparing SUVs. This may include examining the overall design and interior space, seating materials, infotainment system, connectivity options, and convenience features. A good example is the 2023 Mazda CX-5, which receives an overall score of 8.7 out of 10, due to its various features and comfortable cabin.

Safety Evaluation

Lastly, evaluating the safety of an SUV should not be overlooked. Research the crash-test scores, driver assistance features, and overall safety ratings before making a decision. An SUV may have a high safety score due to its design, construction, and the inclusion of advanced safety technologies.

Best Budget Options

Compact SUVs

The 2023 market offers quite a few affordable compact SUVs for budget-conscious consumers. Here are some of the top choices:

  • 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV: With its electric powertrain and impressive features, the Bolt EUV is an efficient and eco-friendly choice.
  • 2023 Hyundai Venue: Boasting a comfortable interior and user-friendly technology, the Venue is a practical option.
  • 2023 Subaru Crosstrek: Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, the Crosstrek delivers reliable performance and excellent safety features.
  • 2023 Nissan Kicks: Combining style and value, the Kicks offers solid fuel economy and ample cargo space.

Midsize SUVs

Midsize SUVs often provide more room and versatility than their compact counterparts, without sacrificing affordability. Consider these options:

  • 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross: Known for its impressive cargo space and practicality, the Corolla Cross is a top choice for budget-conscious buyers.
  • 2023 Mazda CX-5: With best-in-class handling and a refined exerior, the CX-5 is an affordable midsize SUV for drivers seeking style and performance.
  • 2023 Subaru Forester: With standard all-wheel drive and extensive safety features, the Forester is both practical and reliable.
  • 2023 Kia Seltos: Combining a modern design and affordable price, the Seltos offers plenty of value in the midsize SUV market.

Remember to research each of these vehicles further to ensure the SUV fits your specific needs and budget.

Best Luxury SUVs for the Money

Luxury Compact SUVs

The 2023 BMW X1 stands out as a top choice among luxury compact SUVs. Redesigned for 2023, the X1 showcases an updated interior and increased power, making it a desirable option for those seeking luxury and performance. With a starting price of $39,100, the X1 offers a blend of value and luxury features.

Another notable luxury compact SUV is the Porsche Macan. This SUV combines sporty driving dynamics with a full suite of advanced luxury features, making it a popular pick for those who want the best of both worlds. Pricing for the Macan starts at around $54,400, offering a competitive entry into the luxury compact SUV segment.

Luxury Midsize SUVs

In the luxury midsize SUV category, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a strong contender. Known for its sophisticated design, advanced technology, and plush interiors, the GLE-Class offers a well-rounded luxury experience. With a starting price of around $56,200, it provides an ideal balance of luxury and value.

The 2023 BMW X5 is another excellent choice in luxury midsize SUVs. It boasts an impressive list of standard features, a spacious and comfortable interior, and a reputation for performance. Prices for the X5 start at approximately $62,300, making it a competitively priced option within the luxury midsize SUV market.

Lastly, the 2023 Porsche Cayenne stands out as a top performer in the luxury midsize SUV segment. With its exceptional handling, powerful engines, and cutting-edge technology features, the Cayenne offers an unparalleled driving experience. The starting price for the Porsche Cayenne is around $69,000, positioning it as a premium option for those seeking the best in luxury and performance.

Investing in Electric SUVs

As the automotive market shifts towards more eco-friendly options, investing in electric SUVs has become a popular choice for consumers seeking both style and efficiency.

Hybrid SUV Options

Hybrid SUVs offer a balance between traditional gasoline engines and electric power, making them a practical choice for those new to electric vehicles. Some notable hybrid SUVs in the market include:

  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Known for its efficiency and reliability, the RAV4 Hybrid delivers a combined fuel economy of up to 40 MPG.
  • Honda CR-V Hybrid: Combining comfort and performance, the CR-V Hybrid offers a fuel-efficient driving experience with an estimated combined fuel economy of 38 MPG.
  • Ford Escape Hybrid: A spacious and versatile choice, the Escape Hybrid has an impressive fuel efficiency of up to 41 MPG combined.

Fully Electric SUV Choices

For those ready to make the leap into fully electric vehicles, there is a growing range of electric SUVs available in the market. Some top choices include:

  • Chevrolet Bolt EUV: Priced at $28,795, it is one of the most affordable electric SUVs available, with an EPA-rated range of up to 247 miles.
  • Kia Niro EV: Though on the pricier side, the Niro EV offers a stylish and practical option, delivering an estimated range of up to 239 miles on a single charge.
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5: As a newcomer to the market, the Ioniq 5 delivers a sleek design and a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge.
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: Combining the iconic Mustang name with electric performance, the Mach-E offers a range of up to 305 miles and an impressive acceleration rate.

When considering an investment in an electric SUV, it is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both hybrid and fully electric options. As technology continues to advance, consumers can expect more choices and improved efficiency in the coming years.

Long-Term Costs

When considering the best SUV for the money, it’s important to assess long-term costs associated with owning the vehicle. Two crucial factors that significantly impact ownership costs are depreciation and insurance and maintenance costs.


Depreciation is the decline in a vehicle’s value over time. It’s an essential aspect to consider, as it affects the overall cost of ownership and resale value of an SUV. Some SUVs hold their value better than others, which means they’ll depreciate more slowly and could potentially save you money in the long run. For example, the 2023 Mazda CX-30 and 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander have been noted for their low prices and overall value12. When researching SUVs, pay attention to their predicted depreciation rates to help determine the best long-term investment.

Insurance and Maintenance Costs

Another significant factor in long-term ownership costs is the combined cost of insurance and maintenance. Insurance costs vary depending on factors such as the vehicle’s safety ratings, repair costs, and overall desirability in the market. Some SUVs are more affordable to insure due to their design and features, which could result in overall cost savings over time.

Similarly, maintenance costs are crucial to consider when evaluating the best SUV for the money. Vehicles with a reputation for reliability, such as the 2023 and 2024 models listed by U.S. News3, can contribute to lower service needs and repair costs during ownership.

By thoroughly evaluating depreciation rates and considering insurance and maintenance costs, you can determine which SUV offers the best value for your investment.

Making the Final Decision

When deciding on the best SUV for the money, it’s crucial to evaluate each option carefully. The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is worth considering due to its upscale design, impressive crash-test scores, and reasonable price of $22,950. The base engine offers 191 horsepower, and there’s also an optional 227-hp engine. However, it has a limited cargo space of only 45.2 cubic feet.

Another great option is the 2022 Kia Telluride, known for providing a spacious interior and a luxurious feel while still maintaining a good price. It has been recognized as the Best 3-Row SUV for the Money by U.S. News.

In terms of brands, Hyundai is dominating with five awards. Some of their noteworthy SUV models include:

  • Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: Best Hybrid or Electric Car for the Money
  • Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: Best Hybrid or Electric SUV for the Money
  • Hyundai Kona: Best Subcompact SUV for the Money
  • Hyundai Tucson: Best Compact SUV for the Money
  • Hyundai Santa Fe: Best 2-Row SUV for the Money

Before making your final decision, take into account some vital factors such as your budget, space requirements, fuel efficiency, safety features, and overall reliability. Test drive the options you’ve narrowed down, and research both professional reviews and customer testimonials.

Ultimately, finding the right SUV comes down to personal preferences and needs. By balancing these with a well-informed evaluation of the available options, you’ll be able to confidently choose the SUV that best fits your needs and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top budget-friendly SUVs for 2023?

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is one of the top budget-friendly SUVs, offering value and affordability without compromising quality. Another excellent option is the 2022 Hyundai Kona, which has an overall score of 8.4 out of 10 and a starting price of $21,150. The Kona offers a nice interior, a good engine, and up to 35 mpg on the highway.

Which full-size SUVs offer the best value?

Full-size SUVs that provide the best value combine interior space, towing capability, and overall performance. Some notable models offering good value are the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, and the GMC Yukon. These SUVs offer plenty of standard features, strong performance, and spacious interiors for passengers and cargo.

What are the highest-rated AWD SUVs for 2023?

While specific models and their ratings for 2023 may not be available yet, some AWD SUVs consistently receive high ratings due to their performance and reliability. The Subaru Outback, Audi Q5, and BMW X3 are known for their capable and sophisticated AWD systems, providing drivers with confidence and control in various driving conditions.

Which small SUVs provide the best bang for your buck?

Small SUVs can offer a great combination of affordability, fuel efficiency, and practicality. The Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, and Honda HR-V are examples of small SUVs that provide excellent value. They come packed with standard features, have stylish interiors, and offer good fuel economy, making them an attractive choice for buyers.

What are the most reliable SUVs in the market?

Reliability is crucial when considering a vehicle purchase. Toyota and Lexus are known for producing highly reliable SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Highlander, Lexus NX, and Lexus RX. These models have consistently high reliability scores and require less maintenance and repair over time compared to other models in the market.

Which midsize SUVs offer the best overall value?

Midsize SUVs strike a balance between space, performance, and practicality. The Hyundai Santa Fe is a standout option in this category, offering a higher-end interior and a long list of standard features on the same platform as other higher-priced SUVs. Other midsize SUVs worth considering for their overall value are the Toyota Highlander and Ford Edge, providing good performance, comfort, and a host of convenient features.


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