The 5 Cheapest SUVs for Sale

July 17, 2014

The cheapest SUV isn't necessarily the best deal. Compare the 5 cheapest SUVs: the Explorer, the Xterra, the Trailblazer, the Borrego, and the Liberty.

Whether you are shopping for a new or used vehicle, getting the cheapest SUVs possible can help save you money. It is important to make the right decision by choosing a reliable vehicle that offers plenty of safety and comfort features.

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Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is an excellent value whether you are looking for a new or used vehicle. Simply put, with the large number of Explorers on the road, they depreciate quickly. This depreciation is offset on new vehicle purchases by a variety of employee/supplier discounts and rebates offered to buyers. These low selling prices when new also translate to cheap prices when buying used.

Nissan Xterra

For buyers shopping for a mid-size SUV, the Nissan Xterra offers a variety of options that provide for capable off-roading and passenger comfort. Not only does the Xterra offer lots of comfort features, it also has a five-star crash test rating, and a starting price of $22,450 when new. The Xterra has been available for years, so you should be able to find a lot of used examples in your area for sale at excellent prices.

Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy

The mechanically-similar Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy were built with minimal technical changes from their introduction in 2002 until their phase-out after the 2009 model year. They offer a choice of smooth straight-six and V8 engines that provide lots of power and towing ability. While most Trailblazers and Envoys feature five-passenger seating, a long-wheelbase version was available for several model years, offering seating for up to eight passengers. Although new models are no longer available, used examples of these vehicles are excellent values.

Kia Borrego

While the Chevy and GMC examples are recently discontinued, the Kia Borrego is a newcomer to the body-on-frame SUV market. Offering smooth V6 and V8 engines paired to an automatic transmission, the Borrego provides three rows of seating and an interior quality uncommon in Kia products. Although few used examples are yet on the market, this is one of the cheapest full-size SUVs, available new for a suggested price starting at $26,245.

Jeep Liberty

The Jeep Liberty offers great front seat room and reasonable accommodations for rear seat passengers. If you purchase new, Jeep Liberty models are often discounted heavily by way of employee discount programs and large rebates offered by Chrysler. If you want the absolute best pricing possible, consider the rare manual transmission, which was only offered through the 2008 model year.

How to Buy Cheap SUVs Online

To locate the best SUV at the best price, buyers need to take the following points into consideration.

New or Used?

Depending on how "cheap" is being defined, buyers should be able to find both new and used SUVs for a cheap price. If shopping for a new SUV, buyers should find that many auto manufacturers are offering significant rebates and incentives. Manufacturers are having a difficult time selling cars in this current economy, let alone SUVs, so buyers should be able to score a good price on a new SUV. If shopping for a used SUV, buyers should have many options to select from that are priced at or below Kelly Blue Book.

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What Kind of SUV Do You Want?

Whether purchasing new or used, certain SUVs may offer buyers a better chance at scoring a cheap price than others. For example, domestic SUVs generally have lower prices and, if buying new, higher incentives than comparable foreign SUVs. Domestic options include the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Dodge Durango. Many lesser-known foreign SUVs can also be found at discounted prices. Kia's Sorento and Hyundai's Tuscon are two examples. Popular foreign SUVs such as the Toyota 4Runner and Honda CR-V won't usually be priced as low as other SUV options, but discounted models can be found.

How Cheap Are You Willing to Go?

Certainly, cheap SUVs can be easy to find if a buyer's expectations are low enough. Age, mileage and condition are three key drivers of an SUVs price. Accordingly, an older, higher mileage SUV in need of TLC will have a cheap price. Price, however, is not the only consideration. Oftentimes, a cheaper SUV requires some maintenance and reconditioning, which adds to the total cost of the vehicle. Shopping online will provide buyers with plenty of options for any desired price range.

What Are Comparable SUVs Being Sold For?

Once an SUV has been identified, use the Internet to shop various dealerships and private parties offering that vehicle. Take one dealer's advertisement or Internet print-out to a competing dealer to see if they are willing to offer any sort of discount or incentive to purchase the SUV from them. It is possible that dealers will vary widely on their advertised prices, so comparison shopping can only benefit a potential buyer.

Are You Willing to Walk Away?

When buying a new or used SUV, whoever wants the deal less will walk away with the better end of the bargain. Buyers should walk away if a dealer or private seller is unable or unwilling to meet your price. An emotionally-attached buyer will usually end up paying too much. Walking away shows the seller you're serious about waiting for a better deal to come along.

The Internet can be a powerful tool for buyers shopping for cheap SUVs. Research prices in your area on the CarsDirect website.

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4 Reasons Not to Buy a Cheap SUV

Buying a cheap SUV can get you into trouble. Here are some reasons why it is better to spend the extra buck on a better SUV.

Poor MPG

SUVs are the biggest gas guzzlers on the road. The fuel economy ratios on some SUVs is terrible. Getting 15 miles per gallon or lower is making people pay more at the pump, and more frequently. Cheap SUVs can have reduced fuel ratings, which ends up being a waste of money. It's better to spend a little more upfront, in exchange for better fuel economy for the duration of your car.

Poor Reliability

Cheap SUVs are more prone to frequent breakdowns. Not to say that the better SUVs don't break down, it just means that cheap SUVs are likely to break down more often than a more expensive SUV.

Lesser Warranties

Cheap SUVs don't come with as good of warranties as more expensive SUVs. A luxury SUV is covered bumper to bumper, usually with the best warranty. For a cheap SUV, you may be paying a lot of the repair bill, and your car may take extra time to repair.

Fewer Safety Features

Cheaper SUVs may not have the latest safety features installed. Luxury SUVs are usually the first to get the newest technologies such as electronic stability control, rollover sensors, lane departure warnings and other advanced safety features. Chances are a cheap SUV may only have airbags and not much else when it comes to the latest safety technology.

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