Let’s face it, just because you’re all grown up, you have a family and two or more kids, doesn’t mean you’ll stop appreciating how your family SUV looks and feels when you’re behind the wheel.
But what about when you’re on a tight budget? A crossover would cost you considerably less than $30,000 and you can have your choice between over a dozen models in the U.S – both foreign and domestic. You know, your run of the mill Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and so on.
However, you might need more size, you might need a real SUV and you might want it to be something you can be proud of owning if you also happen to be a car enthusiast.
Here are four models that you may not have thought you could get for just $30,000 (give or take):
2015 JEEP Grand Cherokee
Not bad at all for just $29,995, right? It’s also really well equipped for that price – however you’d be dealing with the
FWD RWD version. If you need all-wheel drive, you’ll have to spend $31.995, which is still very acceptable for a borderline premium SUV. It comes with a 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, 17″ alloys, a touchscreen multimedia system, keyless entry & start, an 8-speed automatic box, paddle shift control and (if you go AWD) the highly dependable Quadra-Trac 4×4 system.
Odds are, you’re going to enjoy your time driving the Grand Cherokee, and you’ll probably love its masculine looks too.
2015 Toyota Highlander
This very roomy and arguably good looking SUV from Toyota can be yours for just $29,665, if you’re happy going with front wheel drive – and lots of people are, since not everyone lives in cold climates or places where you have to deal with harsh winters.
Even though it’s not the fastest thing around (it’s 2.7 liter 4 cylinder engine produces just 187 HP), the Highlander is extremely spacious, well equipped even in LE-form and some would say not bad looking.
2015 KIA Sorento
Here’s where it gets tricky. The all-new Sorento might just offer the best value out of all mid-size SUVs. And we’re not just being practical. It’s large, it looks good, it has a nice interior and most of all, oh man, it’s priced from $24,900.
You can get the middle spec LX version for $26.200 and add the optional all-wheel drive system for another $1,800 and you’ve got yourself a heck of a deal on a family car. Seriously, this is great value, and if you’re a practical person, you’ll have a hard time talking yourself into any of the other SUVs. The 2.4 liter 185 HP unit will have to be your engine of choice, unless you’re willing to spend more for the 2.0 liter turbocharged powerunit, packing 240 HP, or the 290 HP V6 – which you could get for $28,300 in LX trim.
2015 Ford Explorer
Let’s not forget that size matters, especially here. This would be our ‘dark-horse’ pick, but it would require the customer to spend at least $30,700, which is what the entry-level 3.5 liter V6 model costs. With 290 HP, you’ll be alright with moving all that weight around.
You’d also need to spend extra for the 4WD model, which costs $32,700. Overall, if size is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Explorer.
Note: All prices are from their manufacturers’ respective websites