SUVs are loved for their blend of sport character, off-road properties, impressive passenger and cargo capacity and hauling opportunities – and all these are under one hood with comfort and style. Yes, it is very tempting, but SUVs versatility and practicality costs a pretty penny, while you might have no extra bucks for such a purchase. Luckily, there are plenty of used SUVs on the market, and many of them are really affordable – but are they worth to buy? And how would you choose a vehicle, which best meets your needs?

Take advantage of our SUVs rating and choose your best used SUV for $10,000 or less, depending on your preferences. We have collected best SUVs in the affordable price range with due account for their classes and distinctive features to assist you in choosing a relatively fresh, reliable and practical vehicle.

2008 Dodge Durango

Overview

Engine: 4.7 L Magnum V8
Power: 303 horsepower
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 3,030 mm
Curb Weight: 2273 kg

2008 Dodge Durango

The 2008 Dodge Durango is one of our top 10 big SUVs for its balanced blend of utility, roominess and affordable price. This relifted model of the second generation got a powerful engine, spacious cabin for 7 passengers, large trunk of over 100 cu ft, impressive towering capabilities, easier steering and better interior materials. Yes, it has this monumental and rugged design many women don’t like and its interior plastic details are too rigid, while the automatic transmission is somewhat dumb and the brakes can feel spongy. But the vehicle got its 5-star rating for the safety of front occupants and its entry-level comes standard with cruise control, full power accessories and a tilt steering wheel, while many other options (including a premium audio system and rear-seat DVD entertainment) are available.

So, if you are searching for a full-size family SUV that is safe and reliable, features decent off-road qualities (especially in 4WD versions) and provides smooth on-road driving, you should definitely consider the 2008 Dodge Durango.

2007 Nissan Murano

Overview

Engine: 3.5L VQ35DE V6
Power: 245 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,825 mm
Curb Weight: 1,807 kg

2007 Nissan Murano

The 2007 Nissan Murano finds its place among our top 10 used SUVs in a midsize category for its stylish design, both interior and exterior, as well as outstanding handling, impressive reliability on slippery roads, fairly fast acceleration and comfort on long trips. It boasts much space in the cabin, making a ride comfortable for 5 persons and offering them plenty of places for storage along with its great cargo capacity of 81.6 cu ft. Also, the vehicle scored high in a NHTSA crush test getting 5-stars in all categories except one, which adds to its value.

Since the Murano doesn’t provide a third-row seat, it can be a good choice for smaller families. The base trim includes full power accessories, a dual-zone climate control and a 4-speaker CD stereo, while there are wider options in other trims and packages. For example, if you are looking for better sport features, you can buy the SE trim which comes with AWD, rigid suspension and a rear-view camera. But keep in mind that the Murano CVT is quite dull, though it contributes to fuel efficiency and smooth riding.

2006 Honda CR-V

Overview

Engine: 2.4 L I4 K24A1
Power: 156 horsepower
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,625mm
Curb Weight: 1,555 kg

2006 Honda CR-V

We believe that the 2006 Honda CR-V deserves a title of the best compact SUV under $10,000 for its spacious interior, excellent ride, superior handling and good safety score. After the facelift, the second generation of CR-V got some upgrades that make its interior more ergonomic, modern and comfortable. It is surprising how these compact vehicles can be so roomy with a lot of space for rear passengers and the fold flat seats that allow increasing the cargo capacity up to 72 cu ft. The base level comes with a CD player, cruise control, air conditioning, ABS, EBD, traction and stability control systems, side airbags for front passengers and side-curtain airbags for all passengers. The SE trim offers some luxury features like leather interior or heated mirrors and seats.

According to owners’ reviews, the CR-V is rather agile, stable on slick roads, comfortable in around-town trips and reliable, but it can boast neither convincing off-road features nor sport driving. Still, it is a great choice if you are looking for something bigger than midsize sedans, but smaller than real trucks.

2007 Toyota RAV4

Overview

Engine: 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6
Power: 269 horsepower
Transmission: automatic
Wheelbase: 2,660 mm
Curb Weight: 1,594 kg

2007 Toyota RAV4

The 2007 Toyota RAV4 can become your best small used SUV under $10,000, if you give preference to stable handling over soft-tuned suspension, as well as to in-city comfort over off-road properties. The RAV4 is one of the most popular compact vehicles due to its balanced performance, reliability and impressive power combined with rather low fuel consumption (21/27 mpg). The third generation got a powerful 6-cylinder engine, unavailable in the previous generations, and additional airbags to improve the safety. Also, it features a third-row seat, making the car more comfortable for large families with kids.

The RAV4 welcomes its passengers with a little bit budget, yet stylish interior, which wins in roominess rather than in high-grade quality. Still, it offers much space for occupants and for storage, being especially convenient thanks to its low cargo bay floor. Though the base level is quite poor, it comes with 7 airbags, cruise control, a CD stereo with MP3 support and full power accessories, while climate control, heated and power-folding mirrors and alloy wheels are available in other options.

2006 Toyota Highlander

Overview

Engine: 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6
Power: 215 horsepower
Transmission: automatic
Wheelbase: 2,715 mm
Curb Weight: 1,716 kg

2006 Toyota Highlander

If you are searching for your future car among the safest crossovers, the 2006 Toyota Highlander is definitely your choice. It ranks among top 10 SUVs in safety ratings, including an IIHS report on vehicles featuring the lowest driver fatality. It was also rated high in NHTSA crash testing, getting 5 stars in each category except the rollover category. Lots of safety features come standard in the Highlander, including all kinds of active-safety equipment.

At this, the Highlander is one of the most favorite SUVs in a midsize class, since it provides exceptional reliability, excellent handling and impressive driving performance. It accommodates up to 7 persons, having the third-row seat, which is comfortable for kids and foldable to increase the cargo capacity. Though the Highlander’s exterior is rather old-fashioned, its interior is still comfortable and spacious, except for the second-row seat that is a bit small and don’t have a flip-and-fold mechanism. However, these tiny shortcomings cannot overshadow its benefits, including the price below $10k.

2011 Kia Soul

Overview

Engine: 2.0L Beta II I4
Power: 142 horsepower
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 2,550 mm
Curb Weight: 1,336 kg

2011 Kia Soul

We have chosen the 2011 Kia Soul as the best boxy SUV, which is also rather cheap for the fresh model year. This compact SUV looks small and funny, but if you like boxy-styled cars, this one is a promising option.     

Though its exterior aesthetic aspects can be disputable, the Soul offers much volume inside, including plenty of space for legs and heads thanks to the high roof and high-mounted seats. Its trunk is not large (no more than 53 cu ft with the rear seats folded), but you can hardly expect more from the car of such a size. At the same time, the SUV attracts with its lively interior design addressed to the younger audience. Besides, it scores high in safety rankings and features up-to-date active-safety features along with front head restraints, side airbags for front occupants and side curtain airbags.   

As for the driving performance, the Soul is rather fast (the acceleration time to 60 mph is under 9 seconds), fuel saving (combined 28 mpg) and agile for driving throughout city, but its off-road capability is far from great.

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Overview

Engine: 4.7 L V8
Power: 305 horsepower
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,915 mm
Curb Weight: 2,499 kg

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee

When you need real off-road properties, there is nothing like time-tested classics – and that is why our best off road SUV under $10,000 is the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The third generation of this living legend is still fresh, yet affordable, not to mention its lucky combination of on and off road performance. For 2008 it got a powerful engine of 305 hp, stylish facelift and some additional tech features making the vehicle more comfortable, luxury and easy-to-drive.

The 2008 Grand Cherokee features soft interior materials, LED-illuminated gauges, user-friendly controls and spacious front seats. But it is really a shame that the rear seats and trunk are not so roomy, as we can expect of a SUV in this class. The vehicle accelerates to 60 mph in about 5 seconds and shows precise steering, while its AWD and generous suspension deliver an excellent all-terrain experience. Note that the 2008 model is among the 10 best SUVs for its safety verified by NHTSA 5-star rating.

2011 Hyundai Tucson

Overview

Engine: 2.0 L I4
Power: 165 horsepower
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 2,640 mm
Curb Weight: 1,580 kg

2011 Hyundai Tucson

The 2011 Hyundai Tucson can be considered as the best mpg SUV under $10,000 having an impressive EPA rating of 23 mpg for city and 31 mpg for highway driving. The model was redesigned for 2011 and got its economy trim with a smaller engine for improved fuel economy.

Along with its fuel efficiency features, the 2011 Tucson boasts sporty suspension and sharp handling combined with decent safety, higher than average reliability and nice interior. Though small, the vehicle provides sufficient space both for front and rear occupants, with plenty of head- and legroom. Unfortunately, the rear seats cannot fold flat and the trunk is comparatively small (only about 56 cu ft).

While the Tucson delivers lively driving experience, someone can find it too uncomfortable because of the stiffer suspension. On the other hand, according to an Edmunds review, the sporty nature of the vehicle blends with its crispy interior feel and makes the 2011 Tucson one of the top 10 used SUVs in a compact class.    

2008 Mazda CX-9

Overview

Engine: 3.7 L MZI V6
Power: 273 horsepower
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,875 mm
Curb Weight: 2,054 kg

2008 Mazda CX-9

The 2008 Mazda CX-9 is equally good for city trips and county rides and this is one of the reasons to recognize it as the best used family SUV under $10,000. Since larger families usually need a third-row seat in their vehicle, the CX-9 provides such an option and accommodates up to seven passengers. The second-row seat slides forward to give an easy access even for adults, while the third row can fold flat to enlarge the cargo capacity up to 100 cu ft.   

The CX-9 interior is not only spacious, but also stylish, boasting balanced ergonomics and high-grade materials. You can enjoy full power accessories, keyless entry, a tilt wheel and a CD player, while plenty of other useful tech features are optional.

The SUV looks sporty and its driving nature compiles with the design. It is nimble and rides smoothly on both highways and twisty roads, having the precise steering and sport-tuned suspension. Besides, according to NHTSA tests, it ensures high safety and this is one of the key factors when choosing a family car.   

2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

Overview

Engine: 4.2 L LL8 I6
Power: 291 horsepower
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,870 mm
Curb Weight: 2,052 kg

2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

The 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer can be praised for its reliability, high level of comfort, roomy cabin and powerful engine – it has everything required from a top used SUV under $10,000. It won’t disappoint you if you need a powerful car for hitting highways, though it is not that great when it comes to curvy roads and rough terrain conditions. The TrailBlazer’s suspension is too soft-tuned for the escapades, but it delivers thrilling comfort when riding interstates and city streets.

The TrailBlazer wins over its user-friendly controls, clean and simple interior details, excellent observation and multiple tech options available to complement its base trim. It comes with ABS and stability control, dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and locks. The roominess and cargo capacity are great, while the SUV is lack of a third-row seat, accommodating only five persons.  Nevertheless, it is a smart choice for those people who need utility midsize SUV at an affordable price.