Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Best Compact SUV

What is the best value/quality used Compact(or crossover) SUV.

Price range is between 7-14,000? What do you guys recommend?

I would recommend the RAV4 or CRV. The RAV4 would be previous generation to avoid the recent recalls, if you are worried about that.

Can you really use compact and SUV to describe the same thing? :slight_smile:

Good point-Kevin

consumers has a “list” of compact SUV’s…

The old generation RAV4 is pretty awful and would not recommend especially in comparison to new.

The 2006&2007(new generation) is not recalled, my sister has a 2007 and not included.

Nice thank you all. What do you think about the 2000-2004 range?

Jump to 2006 for RAV4 it is a superior vehicle. The previous generation is quite cramped, nosier, less comfortable, smaller and gets less MPG.

The CRV is better from 2002-2006 and redesigned for 2007. The first generation is pretty lacking and certain engines burn up exhaust valves.

I would not touch a Subaru Forester till 2005(head gasket problems until 2004 except turbo engine). Some people really like it, it has the best AWD system of bunch if that matters to you. Out of your price range but it jumped by leaps and bounds in 2009 with the redesign.

Another great contender this bunch is KIA Sorrento or Hyundai Tucson. They depreciate much faster than Subaru, Honda, Toyota and you can a more recent model. They have decent reliablility.

I semi agree with “andrew” We have an 05 RAV4 which does everything well except…you need to get used to the choppy ride. But it is small, but has very flexible interior and makes excellent around town which wife loves. As an only car, no; but if you have something more comfortable for trips, it’s a great buy and an excellent all round car in spite of not being as good as more expensive newer models.
The CRV is my top recommendation for used compact but only if you don’t expect same AWD performance on the par of Forester or RAV. In the 2000-2004, it’s hard to beat the CRV for reliability and value.
As Jos. implies, they are really just raised sedans with awd and not true off roaders. But for many, the upright seating comfort, increased ground clearance and added room with awd is enough. I like em.

Suzuki Sidekick may have been the last that could fit that def.

What about a loaded 2006 Ford Escape? You can get one w/ 4WD for less than $14,000. That’s about $3000 less than a comparable Rav4. And costs are less for the Ford, too. If you go for equal purchase price, the repair/maintenance costs are even better because the Rav4 is 1 year older. BTW, if you are willing to go for a lower trim level and 2WD you can get an even newer Escape.

I will only add we have had a few posts of the 2000-2002? RAV4 with automatics and failed transmissions likely due to ECM. I think it is a known issue. But mute point if the poster wants a rarer manual.

99-200 Rav4 2001 is new model and should be avoided

I agree that an Escape is probably the best route to go. You’ll get a newer one for the same cost of an older Honda or Toyota

What is the point of a 2 wheel drive SUV?

We would like to stick to under $10,000.
I think we want to stay clear of the Toyota lot. There have been brake and steering issues dating back to 2003 on some vehicles.

A 2005 Ford Escape will put you within your budget. If you can come up a bit more, you might even be able to get the HEV(hybrid) for about $13~15k, if you can find a used one that is

Most people never drive off road with their SUV. What’s the point of 4WD?