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The Best SUVs Under $20,000

Oct 5, 2007
Looking for a Midsize SUV but want to stay on a budget? No problem! Who said SUVs have to be a drain on your pocketbook? We don't think so. To prove our theory, we decided to look at available Sport Utility Vehicles that can hold their own against other top-selling SUVs, but can also be as easy on your finances as the payment for a mid-size car.

First, let's consider what you should look for in a Midsize SUV. Most people prefer SUVs for cars for two reasons: more cargo space and better safety features. If you're looking for an SUV at any price, you should make sure it meets your needs. Cargo space first. An SUV should provide you with enough space to haul the type of cargo you typically need to take with you, as well as seat the correct number of passengers. This is the reason, in and of itself, many people decide on a Midsize SUV over a Compact SUV. If it doesn't meet your needs, it's not a good value at any price.

Second, safety is important. An affordable SUV doesn't mean that you should compromise on basic safety features. After all, what's going to be more important in an accident - leather seats or well-designed airbags? Make sure your SUV offers what you need. Need a 2-wheel drive vehicle? Get one. Do you deal with snowy conditions several months out of the year? If so, then you're better suited for a 4-wheel drive SUV. Do yourself a favor and get a 4-wheel drive. If you don't, you're sure to regret scrimping on the features that make handling the vehicle easier and safer.

So what are the options? We found three dependable Midsize SUVs that start at under $20,000. Each has impressive features, but we found the one we thought was the best value.

Dodge Nitro. A four-door wagon style SUV with a base price starting at $19,225. Although it's smaller than the other two, its boxy design gives it a bit more accessible cargo space and seats four adults comfortably. The Nitro's body style is trendy but functional - the scaled down exterior dimensions makes negotiating traffic and getting in and out of tight spaces easier than many compact SUVs.

Kia Sorrento. A four-door wagon style SUV with a base price starting at $19,995. Available with an impressive amount of features even on the base model, the Sorrento is more enjoyable to look at than to drive. On bumpy roads, the ride and handling can be frustrating and the resale value is nothing to write home about. The warranty, however, is generous meaning Kia stands by the quality of the parts they use. Always a plus.

Isuzu Ascender 5-Passenger. Our favorite Midsize SUV choice with a base price starting at $19,459. With room for five adult passengers and impressive amount of cargo space, you'll feel like you're driving a full-size SUV. Several standard features are worth mentioning: the hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion power steering system, the anti-lock brake and traction control systems, and its efficient inline 6-cylinder engine. And of course, it comes with Isuzu's famous warranty: 7-year/75,000 Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty and Isuzu's 7-year/75,000 Mile Roadside Assistance Program. Nice.
About the Author
We all want a 4x4 truck for the power and stability when going off road. And Isuzu has you covered with the best price and best in overall comfort. Try out the all new Ascender !
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