Are you planning to purchase a used SUV and you are looking to learn more about the fastest SUV under 20k? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to elaborate on everything in detail.
Doing your own research before you buy a car should always be one of your top priorities. Why we are saying this? Well, because it is true. On the market, there are hundreds of models to choose from from a variety of model years. Hence, the huge variety of contenders as the fastest SUV under 50k.
This is why you should be prepared to do your own research on a car before you buy. Each of these models should meet your requirements. And the requirement in this case is speed. You are looking for something quick of the line for less than 20k. Something along the lines of the most reliable supercar, or the best used sports sedan on the market. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is an SUV and the common SUV types. Then we are going to learn more about the reasons why to get the fastest SUV under 20k and then we will discuss the fastest SUV under 20k. We will cover the models thoroughly and learn more about their main selling points and the best performance SUV. Namely, the 0 to 60 times. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is An SUV
Now let’s introduce ourselves to the topic and learn more about SUVs in general before we dive into more complex topics like the fastest SUV under 20k or best used SUV under 20000. We need to do so in order to get ourselves familiar with the types of fastest SUVs that are out there.
So, what is an SUV? Well, an SUV is an abbreviation that refers to a sport utility vehicle. Back in the day, there were only SUVs and regular cars. This meant that these SUVs were niche vehicles that appealed only to people who wanted to go off-road. Examples of these vehicles are the GMC Jimmy, Ford Bronco, Jeep CJ, etc.
But this has changed in recent years with the introduction of crossover SUVs. So, what is a crossover SUV?
An example of this is the BMW X5. This is one of the first SUVs that came up in the late 90s. This model shares the same platform as the standard BMW 5-Series. So, you get the idea of how these models are similar to regular cars. The frame, which is usually a unibody, as well as the powertrain options are all shared together.
So, you have a few classes of crossovers. Subcompact class, compact class, mid-size, and full-size class. Each of these classes refers to the size of the SUV, such as a standard SUV vs a midsize SUV. Starting from the smallest subcompact to the largest full-size SUV. But what is the fastest SUV under 20k? Or the best performance SUV? More on that in a bit.
Reasons To Get The Fastest SUV Under 20k
Now let’s take a look at the reasons why you should get the fastest SUV under 20k. What are the perks of owning such a fast car? Well, let’s elaborate more in-depth in this chapter and see why you should get a performance SUV.
Back in the day, high-performance options like engines and transmissions were usually kept for the coupes. As you probably know, in the golden age of the muscle car era, only the coupes like the Mustang, Chevelle, Corvette, Camaro, and other models had all the good stuff. High-flowing heads, high-performance camshafts, engine headers, improved suspension, and all that jazz.
But things have changed, since the late 80s, and early 90s, there was an increase in high-performance development when it comes to sedans. So, we witnessed models like the BMW M5, Mercedes E55 AMG, and other cool models.
And as the need for SUVs grew, buyers wanted something different in the SUV market as well. So, carmakers said, why do we not offer the same high-performance parts in our SUV segment? And then they listened to the buyers and started offering some high-performance SUV models.
As with most other trends, this was also started by BMW with their BMW X5 M model and other carmakers followed. Nowadays, there is a whole lineup of high performance SUVs like the Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne, and other models.
But these new models are probably out of our price range since we are looking for the fastest SUV under 20k. More on the models that we decided to add in the following chapters, there will be some nice surprises.
Fastest SUV Under 20k
So, we have covered the basics when it comes to SUVs and we covered the main types. As well as why you should get a fast SUV. Looking for a fast car is probably something that you really want if you are addicted to adrenaline.
We all want to experience that adrenaline rush every once in a while. And this is also possible to do on a budget. And frankly, 20k is a decent budget when it comes to a used car, nothing too crazy.
But still quite enough for most people out there who don’t want something perfect. This is why we are going to cover our recommendations on the fastest SUV under 20k in the following chapters.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #1: Acura MDX (2014 – 2016)
Now let’s get into the fastest SUV under 20k list. And the first model on our list is the Acura MDX. This is the third generation of the Acura MDX which was introduced in 2014 and was produced until 2020 when it was replaced with the new model.
This generation of the MDX and all of the other generations of the same model is based on the Honda Pilot. These vehicles basically share the same platform and powertrains.
The MDX comes in two variations, a rear-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive (AWD). The model is equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine that is naturally aspirated. The engine in this model is rather powerful and develops about 290hp and 267lb-ft of torque. The transmission used in this model is a 6-speed torque converter automatic.
But is this the fastest SUV under 20k? Well, the 0 to 60 of this model is 6.4 seconds. So, we can say that this is a really respectable number for an SUV. It’s in fact among the fastest modern Acuras that you can buy today.
A 2014 model can be found for $18,000 or if you want you can get a 2016 model for exactly $20,000. And there are a lot of these vehicles listed on Autotrader right now for this price point. Some of them do not have 100,000 miles on the clock. Now let’s continue with our next fastest SUV under 20k.
And if you’re curious about whether are Acuras reliable, make sure you do your research. Some of the more prevalent Acura MDX problems include numerous instances of serious Acura MDX transmission problems that impacted specific model years.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #2: Lexus RX 350 (2015)
Next on our list of fastest SUV under 20k is the Lexus RX 350. And unlike the MDX that we reviewed previously, the RX 350 is holding the value much better. So, the best deal that you can get for under $20,000 is the 2015 model year or older.
Luckily, 2015 was the first model year of the fourth generation and this model delivers quite a lot compared to its predecessors. On this model, you might not get the most contemporary features. But it is still quite equipped.
There is an FWD model and an AWD model, quite similar to the MDX. But this model has more powerful engines. The RX 350 carries a 3.5L gasoline engine that develops 295hp. And this engine comes equipped with an 8-speed that delivers excellent fuel economy.
The 0 to 60 time of the RX 350 is quite similar to the MDX. The AWD model of the RX 350 accelerates from 0 to 60 in 6.7 seconds. But if you go for the F Sport AWD model you can expect acceleration from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds. Which is a record of the models that we looked at till now.
And frankly, the RX 350 is our personal favorite because Lexus is Toyota and if you want the most reliable SUV, this is probably it. And since you look for the fastest SUV under 20k and spend so much money, you better spend that money wisely and the g the most dependable SUV.
While you’re shopping for one, make sure that you’re also wary of the Lexus RX 350 model years to avoid, as not all of them are completely bulletproof. Now let’s continue with our next recommendation for the best used SUV under 20000.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #3: BMW X3 xDrive35i (2015)
Now let’s cover something German. Namely, the BMW X3 F25. The second generation of the X3 was introduced in 2010 and was produced until 2017 when it was replaced with the current model.
This generation of the X3 is assembled in the US at the factory in South Carolina. The model comes in both FWD and AWD, also known as xDrive. And the model that we are interested in is the BMW X3 xDrive35i.
The most powerful version of the X3 for the 2015 model year. And why 2015? Well, because this is the most recent model year of the X3 that it is available for this budget of $20,000.
Nevertheless, the X3 xDrive35i comes equipped with a 3.0L inline-6 engine that is producing 302hp and 295lb-ft of torque. It is paired with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
And this engine and transmission combo is a true powerhouse, both the engine and transmission are reliable with no major problems. The 0 to 60 for the X3 35i is rated at 5.7 seconds. Quickest from all of the models that we covered in this article. And has a top speed that is electronically limited at 152 mph.
So, if you do not like the Acura or Lexus, this is the model that you should look for if you want something really fast. The price for this 2015 model as listed is between $19,000 and $20,000.
The one thing you should be aware of is the BMW X3 problems need to look out for. And, if you want a smaller SUV, maybe look into comparing the BMW X1 vs the X3. This means that fits perfectly in the category of fastest SUV under 20k. Now let’s move on to the next SUV on our list.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #4: BMW X5 M (2010 – 2013)
Now let’s cover something really performance oriented. In fact one of the first performance-oriented SUVs on the market that were introduced. Namely, the BMW X5 M. So, what is the X5 M?
Well, you probably are aware of BMW and its M division. So, in this case, what BMW did was give the X5 the M treatment. So, this model of the X5 got all the good stuff from the other high-performance M cars like the M3 and M5. Including the suspension, engines, and transmissions.
So, the X5 M has a rather powerful engine. Namely, the S63 V8. This engine is a 4.4L twin-turbocharged engine that is producing 547hp and 502lb-ft of torque. And the transmission used with the X5 M is the good old ZF 8HP 8-speed torque converter automatic.
The combination of these specs made the X5 M able to propel from 0 to 60 in only 4.7 seconds. This number for an SUV of this size was record-breaking. So, if you really want something fast, this is it.
Also, this model is available for as low as $20,000. Which means that it is within our budget. But why it is so cheap? There is probably a catch, right?
Well, yes, the S62 engine of this era is not something reliable. Not to mention that it is crazy expensive to maintain. And even maintenance costs can rise to thousands of dollars per year. So, it’s not really the cheapest SUV to maintain, and hardly comparable to the cars with the cheapest maintenance.
From the problems that this model has, we can note the rod bearing failures and the high oil consumption. Especially at higher miles. So, even though it might look tempting to get one of these models, you should think twice before you buy. So, remember to double-check for the BMW X5 model years to avoid.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #5: 2013 Range Rover Sport HSE
Now let’s continue our list of fastest SUV under 20k models that are out there. And next on the list is the Range Rover Sport HSE. More specifically, models were produced until 2013.
The HSE is one of the highest trims available of the Range Rover Sport and honestly, the most popular one.
This generation of the Range Rover was introduced in 2001 and was in production until 2013 when it was replaced with the next generation.
Nevertheless, the HSE was the trim with the most powerful engine. Namely, the 5.0L Jaguar V8. This engine was supercharged and created a ton of power. More precisely, 503hp and 461lb-ft of torque. And was paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Also, it came with a 4WD.
And all this power made the Range Rover able to accelerate from 0 to 60 in only 5.1 seconds. And this model came dangerously close to the X5 M.
But similarly to the BMW, this model has a lot of problems. There could be a lot of issues that can come up. Namely, the airbags on this model are notorious for failing and the SUV will sag on one of the ends. That’s just one of the more common Range Rover problems out there.
And this will result in an expensive repair bill. And not to mention that the maintenance on this model is also crazy expensive as well. So, even though it is one of the fastest SUV under 20k, it is still far from a reliable vehicle. Therefore, look no further if you want to know are Range Rovers reliable.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #6: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 (2005 – 2009)
Now let’s continue our list of the fastest SUV under 20k and discuss something American. More precisely, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 model. If you didn’t know, in 2005 Jeep introduced an SRT-8 model that was basically the high-performance model in the lineup.
If you are not a Chrysler fan and don’t know what SRT is, let’s explain. SRT is basically Chrysler’s performance division. SRT means Street & Racing Technology. They take the standard SUV or a sedan and give their SRT-8 treatment.
So, this was the case with the Jeep Grand Cherokee since Jeep is under Chrysler. This version more specifically, was equipped with the all-new 6.1L HEMI V8. This is a third-generation HEMI for those who don’t know. And HEMI is the epitome of performance when it comes to Chrysler engines, tracing its roots back to the 60s when the 426 HEMI was created.
Nevertheless, this new 6.1L engine produced 420hp and was paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. This made able the Jeep Grand Cherokee accelerate in 4.6 seconds from 0 to 60. Which at the time was rather an achievement.
Also, this model featured upgraded Bilstein suspension and other suspension upgrades to make this model able to handle so much power. Also, all of the off-road equipment was completely gutted to make the SUV lighter.
And what is good about the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is that it fits our budget. You can snatch one of these for even less than 20k. There are models on Autotrader that are readily available even for $17,995.
If you’re getting one, make sure you’re diligent about the Jeep Grand Cherokee model years to avoid and are aware of how long do Jeep Grand Cherokees last. Some instances of the problems with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission problems can be troublesome.
Fastest SUV Under 20k #7: 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Now let’s conclude our list of fastest SUV under 20k and let’s finish this list with a proper sports SUV that comes from a brand with a really rich racing heritage. And this is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Just the Turbo, not the Turbo S. The Turbo S is more powerful, but unfortunately out of our $20,000 budget.
This is the first generation of the Cayenne that was introduced in 2002 but came a little later in the US. We are specifically interested in the models built in 2008. Why 2008? Well, this was the first year when the Turbo got a turbo boost.
In the years prior to the 2008 model year, the Turbo made only 444hp and 457lb-ft of torque. But from 2008, the model started to make 493hp and 516lb-ft of torque. And we all know what more horsepower means, faster 0 to 60 times. The transmission used on this model was a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifts.
But what about the 0 to 60? Well, the 0 to 60 for the Cayenne Turbo was rated at 4.4 seconds. Practically, the fastest of all of the models that we reviewed up till now. While you’re looking at one, make sure you’re also aware of the Porsche Cayenne model years to avoid, which can sometimes be rather problematic.
And what is good is that you can get one of these models for less than $20,000. This means that this model fits perfectly in our fastest SUV under 20k category. And not only that, these early Cayenne models are very cherished and loved by the aftermarket. So, there are a ton of options to improve them as well. So, you get the idea why the Turbo is a great option.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the fastest SUV under 20k. We learned what is an SUV and the different classes of SUVs that are out there. Then we learned the reasons why to get a fast SUV.
In the following chapters, we listed our picks when it comes to the fastest SUV under 20k. We started with vehicles that are cheaper when it comes to maintenance and finished with the most expensive ones to maintain. Overall, if you want to have great performance on a budget, the BMW X3 xDrive35i is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is The Fastest SUV
The fastest model ever is the Aston Martin DBX707 with a top speed of 193 mph. Then there is the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Audi RS Q8 which can push up to 190 mph.
What Is The Best Used SUV To Buy
The best used SUV is probably the Lexus RX 350. This model is a good balance between reliability and luxury. We recommend it since it is a rather good vehicle and also, it holds its value really well.
What Is The Sportiest SUV
This is a really subjective question since there are a lot of SUVs that are sporty nowadays. But our favorites are the X3 M and X5 M. Mainly because BMW loves stiff suspension and these models feel rather sportier than other SUVs.
What Are The Most Reliable Used SUVs
The most reliable used SUVs are definitely Toyota, Honda or Acura, and Lexus. If your budget is lower go for a Toyota or Honda. If you can afford something better, go for the Acura and Lexus models.
What Is The Best Used Midsize SUV To Buy
Our personal favorite is the Lexus RX 350. This model is a good balance between luxury and performance. Other good models are the Honda Pilot and the Acura MDX.
What Car Should I Buy Under 20k
If you can afford it, we would recommend going for a 2015 Lexus RX 350. This model is a perfect balance between luxury and reliability. And you will not regret it.