5 Best Crash Test Rating SUV's for under $20,000

January 27, 2012

Finding the best crash test rating for an SUV for under $20,000 may seem like a daunting task. However, there are five great options that you can buy for under twenty grand. All of the cars below were tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A few of the cars listed even won their Top Safety Pick award, which is only given out to a select few cars, and usually more expensive cars. Finding some that are this inexpensive on the list make for excellent safe choices for you and your family. 

Top Safety Picks

Some of the cars below were awarded the Top Safety Pick for 2010 award. In order to do this, there are two requirements for the cars. First, in the three crash tests of different locations to the car, the car must pass the tests with the highest rating (Good). In addition, the cars must feature electronic stability control. Electronic stability control is a great new system that can help you avoid accidents. What it does is sense when the car is about to go into a skid. When this happens, the car applies the brakes to help the driver steer and / or correct their steering when skidding. This helps also in rollover prevention.

Here are five SUV's under $20,000 that you should consider, listed in no particular order.

  1. Jeep Patriot: The Jeep Patriot is the first on the list and was a Top Safety Pick for 2010. The car fared extremely well in its crash tests. The driver's survival space was well maintained throughout the crash. Leg and foot injury measures were deemed low. There was a higher than normal head acceleration during the crash so there could be head and neck injuries in a severe crash. Since the car was a Top Safety Pick it does come with standard electronic stability control. It also has anti lock brakes and daytime running lights. There are also front and rear head curtain airbags, as well as seat mounted torso airbags as an optional addition. Base models begin at around $17,000.
  2. Chevrolet HHR: The Chevy HHR was not a Top Safety Pick, but that does not mean it is not a safe SUV. The SUV features more things than the Jeep Patriot. It does have electronic stability control, but is also coupled with rollover sensors. Rollover sensors detect rollovers and if one is about to occur, airbags deploy for safety. There are also anti lock brakes, daytime running lights, and front and rear head curtain airbags. Base models start around $18,500.
  3. Mazda Tribute: The Mazda Tribute is next. It also features electronic stability control and rollover sensors. Front and rear head curtain airbags are equipped, as well as seat mounted torso airbags. This crash test also applies to the Ford Escape which is another car for the list. These two cars start around $20,000 in pricing.
  4. Honda Element: The Honda Element is last on the list. It is a Top Safety Pick for 2010. The crash tests showed that the survival space of the driver was maintained, and that injury risk was low all around. It does have electronic stability control, rollover sensors, anti lock brakes, and a bevy of airbags. Base models start around $20,000.

As you can see, these cars have very similar features. Safe cars should have these features installed. When looking for an SUV, you can definitely find a safe one that fits in your budget.