Are you planning to purchase a used SUV and you are interested in learning what is the best used SUV under $5000? Well, if this is the case and you are looking for an SUV in this price range, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a bit to cover on this topic.
Doing your own research before you make a purchase is always the way to go. By doing research you basically broaden your spectrum and learn more about new and interesting models that you can purchase right now for dirt cheap.
This is why you need to focus on learning more about the prices and learn about the specs of each of these SUVs. The specs are also important since you need to get the engine that you need.
You just don’t want to get an underpowered SUV that is really slow and has poor throttle response. Driving a vehicle like this can be very frustrating. But don’t worry because we are going to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is an SUV and we will cover the main types of SUVs that are out there. Then we will cover the reasons why to get one and the reasons against this decision. Then we will cover our list of best used SUV under $5000. So, if you want to learn more about this topic, follow along till the end!
What Is An SUV
Now before we dive into the best used SUV under $5000, let’s take a look at what is an SUV in general and understand more about these types of vehicles. Why do we need to do so?
Well, mainly because not all people that are reading this are car experts and we need to understand a bit more about this type of vehicle before we move on to our list of best used SUV under $5000.
So, what is an SUV? Well, SUV stands for “sport utility vehicle”. So, what does this mean? It basically means that this is a vehicle intended to serve an off-road purpose, besides standard use. But are these vehicles really off-road capable?
Well, not quite. SUVs nowadays are pretty limited when it comes to off-road capability. Unless you get an AWD or a 4WD model that is somewhat more capable.
This is the case because most of the SUVs are not real SUVs but mostly crossover SUVs. A crossover SUV is something like a crossbreed between an SUV and a standard sedan.
Carmakers usually take the standard sedan platform and build an SUV on the same platform. So, for example, on the same platform, there is the Honda Civic sedan and there is also the CR-V crossover SUV. So, you get the idea.
In terms of sizes, there are sub-compact SUVs, compact SUVs, mid-size SUVs, and also full-size SUVs. A full-size SUV is usually built on a ladder frame that is a truck frame. Unlike the other smaller types.
So, the GMC Yukon shares the same ladder frame as the GMC Sierra. Which is a pickup truck. You get the idea. But what is the best used SUV under $5000? More on this we will cover more in a bit.
Reasons To Get The Best Used SUV Under $5000
Now let’s take a look a the reasons why to get the best used SUV under $5000. Why do we think that this is necessary? Well, mainly because people are still in doubt about whether they should purchase an SUV or not. So, we feel the need to further elaborate on this topic.
What are the reasons why to get an SUV? Well, the main factor for getting an SUV is the status symbol nowadays. SUVs have become true status cars that only the richer people usually drive since purchasing and maintaining them is always more expensive than your standard sedan model.
Another benefit of purchasing an SUV is the ride height. Usually, SUVs sit a lot higher than the normal sedan. And this makes these types of vehicles a lot safer, compared to your standard sedan model.
So, if you are into safety and you want something really solid, then going for an SUV is probably the way to go because you will get that ride height that could protect you quite a bit in some aspects.
And the last reason why to get the best used SUV under $5000 is probably the off-road capability. It doesn’t matter that these SUVs are not built for this type of use, a lot of them perform a lot better than a sedan.
Mainly because of the increase in ride height. They are taller and they can tackle uneven terrain a lot easier compared to a sedan. But enough on the pros of getting an SUV. Now let’s take a look at the reasons why not to get the best used SUV under $5000.
Reasons To Avoid The Best Used SUV Under $5000
So, we covered the reasons why you should get yourself an SUV under $5000. Now let’s take at the reasons why not to get the best SUV under $5000. Are there some downsides to purchasing a vehicle such as this? Well, let’s elaborate.
The first reason why not to get an SUV under 5k, is the budget limitation. When it comes to SUVs, $5,000 is a real limitation budget when it comes to purchasing a vehicle.
So, when it comes to this, you are only limited to getting an SUV that is close to 20 years old. So, keep this in mind.
And this brings other common problems. These vehicles are usually pretty worn out and in desperate need of repair.
Even if you purchase an SUV for this amount of money, you can still expect to pay a few grand more to bring the car back in good shape.
This is why you should always have some money on the side when buying an SUV this old. This will guarantee that if something happens, you will have the funds to sort the problem out.
And the last con is probably the maintenance cost. Maintenance costs are really high when it comes to this type of vehicle. Much higher in comparison to a sedan. So, you need to be prepared for this when trying to get the best used SUV under $5000.
But what is the right model for this price point? Well, let’s elaborate more on this topic in the following chapters in-depth.
Best Used SUV Under $5000
Now let’s cover the best used SUV under $5000 and learn more about the models that are available right now to purchase for this amount of money.
Take note that we will stick to older model years of certain vehicles. This means that these vehicles are near the end of their lifespan. And in most cases are well above 150,000 miles. But there are still some good and reliable cars even at this price point. So, let’s discuss the models.
Now let’s discuss the first model on our list of best used SUV under $5000. And this is the Toyota RAV4. More specifically the second generation of the RAV4. This generation was introduced in 2000 and was produced until 2005.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #1: 2002 Toyota RAV4
What is interesting about this model is that it was the first RAV4 that broke the mainstream and became a really good seller for Toyota. And frankly, for a really good reason. It was cheap, starting at only $19,000, and also really good performance-wise.
Just take note that back in those times, the dollar was worth a lot more than today. Still, this was 20 years ago. Nevertheless, for this amount of money you got a really good deal. You could opt for a 3-door version and a 4-door version if you needed more space to carry people around.
The model was equipped with a 4-cylinder inline engine that was 2.0L in displacement. The 2.0L engine produced about 148hp and 142lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission. It was not a powerhouse. But with the lightweight body, it could deliver really good fuel economy for its time.
The fuel economy of the RAV4 is 20 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. Not the worst, but also not the best compared to a proper modern RAV4. Still, this model checks all the checkboxes when it comes to the best used SUV under $5000 and it’s definitely worth your attention.
For those wondering about the top RAV4 competitor, we’ve previously looked at the much later Toyota Venza vs RAV4 Hybrid, as well as the Ford Edge vs RAV 4. And for anyone getting a used RAV4, make sure you’re also aware of the best year for the Toyota RAV4, and the Toyota RAV4 model years to avoid.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #2: 2004 To 2005 Honda Pilot
The second on our list of best used SUV under $5000 is the Honda Pilot. So, why specifically this model? Well, mainly because this model is a big mid-size SUV. This means that you can seat up to 7 people in it. So, if you need something roomy, this would be it. And the second thing why to get it is that it is really cheap.
The Pilot is the bigger brother of the Honda CR-V. And unlike the CR-V which is based on the Civic platform, the Pilot is based on the same platform as the Honda Odyssey minivan and the Acura MDX.
This model has a wheelbase of 106.4 inches and an overall length of 188 inches. Which is quite good if you plan to seat passengers in the rear.
The model comes equipped with a powerful 3.5L V6 engine that develops about 244hp and 240lb-ft of torque. The transmission used on this model is a 5-speed automatic.
When you try to purchase a model of these model years, make sure that the transmission is in good condition. Usually, this is the weak spot in these models. Also, make sure that the engine was maintained really well and pulls well.
Granted, there are those that still wonder is the Honda Pilot a good car. If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is study the best year for the Honda Pilot, as well as the Honda Pilot model years to avoid. That alone should help a lot with keeping you away from the common Honda Pilot problems, like the Honda Pilot transmission problems.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #3: 2003 Lexus RX 300
Now let’s cover something really good and luxurious on our list of best used SUV under $5000. And this is the Lexus RX 300 from 2003. So, why the Lexus RX 300?
Well, this is a really good-looking model, even from today’s standpoint after 20 years. The 2003 model was the first model year in this second generation that was produced until 2008. The model was assembled at the Toyota factory in Cambridge, Canada.
This model was based on the Toyota K platform that was shared between this model and the Toyota Highlander. In terms of size, the RX 300 is similar to the Honda Pilot that we covered previously. The RX 300 has a wheelbase of 106.9 inches and an overall length of 186.2 inches.
In terms of engines, the 2003 model year came with a 3.0L V6 engine. This engine produced about 220hp and 222lb-ft of torque. The transmission that was used for this model was the 4-speed automatic.
The fuel economy was decent for a vehicle of this size. Not quite comparable to a modern vehicle. But still decent for those times. With 16 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg combined. So, if you are looking for something fuel efficient, this best used SUV under $5000 is probably not the right for you.
Should you be able to find the higher-tier RX 350 model instead, our write-up on the Lexus RX 350 years to avoid might provide some valuable insight on which ones are the best.
Now let’s cover something smaller on our list of best used SUV under $5000. And this model is the Honda CR-V. More specifically the second generation of this model was produced between 2002 and 2006. We are specifically interested in the 2004 model because this model is in our price range of $5,000.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #4: 2004 Honda CR-V
What is interesting about this model is that this was the first production year that got a mid-life refresh. So, new bigger wheels and other visual cues were added. And frankly, the updated model looks very contemporary. Even though it is an 18-year-old car.
This model understandably is based on the Civic platform. It has a wheelbase of 103.1 inches and an overall length of 181 inches. And we can say that even though it is a compact SUV, it actually is quite roomy inside.
In terms of engines, the CR-V included an inline-4 engine with 2.4L in displacement. This engine is known under the K24 codename. A really reliable engine for its time, among the most reliable SUV models. This engine produced about 160hp and 162lb-ft of torque. The transmission used on the model was a 4-speed automatic.
The CR-V in terms of fuel efficiency is really good for its time. It delivers about 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. So, if you want something really fuel efficient, this model is the way to go. ‘
If you want to guarantee reliable long-term ownership, it’s wise to be diligent about the Honda CR-V years to avoid. On top of that, the best model year of the CRV. While they are pretty dependable, our guides on the 2005 Honda CR-V problems, 2016 Honda CRV problems, 2020 Honda CRV problems, and 2021 Honda CRV problems show that issues still appear.
Or, if you want to compare the CRV against its other rivals, we have plenty of articles covering those ones, too! That includes comparing the Honda CRV vs the Toyota RAV4, the newer CRV Hybrid vs RAV4 Hybrid, as well as its luxury sibling, the CRV vs Acura RDX, and the Volkswagen Tiguan vs CRV. On top of that, we’ve also compared the Subaru Outback vs CRV, and Mazda CX 5 vs the CRV.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #5: 2005 Subaru Forester
Another very cool model for those that want something more exotic is the Subaru Forester from 2005. So, why this specific model year? Well, mainly because it is the cheapest model around.
If you can get a 2006 model it would be even better because you could get a model with updated looks. But overall, the best used SUV under $5000 is the 2005 model year. Nevertheless, this model has a wheelbase of 99.4 inches and an overall length of 176.6 inches.
As you can see, the Forester is considerably smaller in comparison to the previous models that we covered. So, take note of this and make sure that this SUV fits your needs in terms of size. Otherwise, you could refer to our write-up on the Nissan Rogue vs Subaru Forester to check out how its rivals compare.
In terms of engines, the model comes as a standard with a 2.5L H4 engine. This is a flat-four boxer engine. This engine produces about 165hp and 166lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission as a standard.
The fuel economy of the Forester is quite good. It easily gets 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. So, if you want something really fuel efficient, this is the right model for you. However, you should also be wary of the common Subaru Forester problems.
Before getting any used car, you ought to research the Subaru Forester years to avoid, as well as the best model years for the Subaru Forester. While mostly reliable, they can sometimes feature distinct issues, as is evident with the later 2011 Subaru Forester problems.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #6: 2005 Ford Expedition
Now let’s cover something American on our list of best used SUV under $5000. And this is the 2005 Ford Expedition. The Ford Expedition is one of the biggest SUVs on our list. And is basically an SUV on a truck frame, more specifically the F-150 frame.
The 2005 model falls into the second generation of the Expedition that was produced between 2003 and 2006. So, this model is a really updated version compared to the previous model in terms of looks and overall aesthetics.
Nevertheless, this model has a wheelbase of 119 inches and an overall length of 205.8 inches. So, we can say that inside is pretty roomy and good for most people that need to carry a lot of stuff and passengers.
The standard engines on this model are either the 4.6L V8 or the 5.4L V8. Not very fast, but still quite capable when it comes to towing this massive house on wheels. No doubt, it’s among the SUV with the highest towing capacity. The transmission used in this model is a 4-speed automatic.
The fuel economy is rather poor. This model gets about 13 mpg in the city, 17 mpg on the highway, and 14 mpg combined. The other thing you need to worry about is the Ford Expedition model years to avoid, as some of them can be a bit troublesome. Now let’s move on to the last on our list of best used SUV under $5000.
Best Used SUV Under $5000 #7: 2007 GMC Yukon
Now let’s finish our list of best used SUV under $5000 with a really good model. And this model is the GMC Yukon from 2007. So, why this model specifically?
Well, this model is the perfect vehicle in our books when it comes to the full-size segment. It is strong and durable. Many of these were pushed well above 200,000 miles and are still beating. Not to mention that the maintenance is rather cheap. You can get a junkyard engine or transmission if needed for a low buck.
If you don’t like the Yukon, you can go for the Tahoe. They are basically the same car under the hood. These models have a wheelbase of 116 inches and an overall length of 202 inches.
There are a lot of engines to choose from. Mainly V8 engines. Namely, the 4.8L 5.3L, 6.0L, and 6.2L. There is only one transmission to choose from. And that is the 4-speed automatic. Some models have a 6-speed automatic.
The fuel economy is similar to the Expedition and this vehicle is able to average about 16 mpg combined driving. And if you somehow can find one for this budget, you may also be curious about its siblings. Do check out our guide on the Yukon Denali vs Escalade and our comparison between the Suburban vs the Yukon XL to learn more.
Now let’s conclude this article on the best used SUV under $5000.
Best Used SUV Under $5000: In Conclusion…
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the best used SUV under $5000. First, we learned more about SUVs in general and their main characteristics. Then, we covered the main reasons why to get the best used SUV and why you should not.
Once we cleared that out of our way, we focused on the best used SUV under $5000. We learned about the top models that you can get for your buck. On our list, there are options for everyone. Starting from compact, mid-size, and full-size SUVs.
Ah, but that’s not the end of our quest to find the best bargains on the market today. We’ve recently looked at the best used SUV under 15000, if your budget affords it. Elsewhere, if you want more speed, we’ve also discussed the fastest SUV under 20k and the fastest SUV under 50k.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
Which SUV is Best For Me
This really depends on your needs. For example, if you don’t carry a lot of passengers and cargo, then a compact SUV will do the trick. If you need a 7-seater, you will need to get a mid-size or a full-size SUV.
Which Compact SUV Has The Most Room
The roomiest compact SUVs are the Nissan Rogue and the Honda CR-V. They have similar specs. The CR-V has 39.2 cu ft behind the second row, and 75.8 cu ft when rears are folded. While the Rogue has 39.3 cu ft behind the second row and 70 cu ft when the seats are folded.
What Is The Best Used SUV To Buy Under 5000
Your best bet would probably be to get a 2005 Honda CR-V. This model carries a reliable 2.4L engine and is basically bulletproof. If you want something bigger, you can go for the GMC Yukon 2007 model year.
What Is The Least Expensive SUV
The least expensive new SUV that you can get is the Hyundai Kona. This model starts at $22,395. Then there is the Chevy Trax starting at $22,595, the Mitsubishi Outlander starting at $22,690, and the Honda HR-V starting at $23,095.
What Is The Best SUV For A Teenager
If you are a teenager, we would recommend getting something smaller. Our personal favorite is the new Honda HR-V. Also, the Chevy Trailblazer is another good purchase.
What Are The Best SUVs To Buy
The answer to this question really depends on your needs. But since most people go for a compact crossover SUV, we would recommend you get the new Honda CR-V 2023 model.