While SUVs are almost always more expensive than their sedan counterparts, there are plenty of affordable options out there. Sometimes, a manufacturer's cheapest car is a budget-friendly crossover. Because SUVs command such a large segment of the market, there's plenty of variety, too. These are the cheapest SUVs for 2023 and 2024.
2024 Hyundai Venue
Price: $21,000 (est.)
With a base price estimated at $21,000, the 2024 Hyundai Venue holds the crown for cheapest new SUV on the market today. Compact dimensions and an airy cabin come together to provide an acceptable driving experience, but don't expect niceties such as all-wheel drive.
Under the hood of the Venue sits a predictably small 1.6-liter inline-four making 121 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque, paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. While that's sufficient for low-speed city driving, we'd think twice about using it for passing semis on two-lane roads.
2024 Kia Soul
What was once the butt of many jokes in the automotive world has grown into a fun and affordable choice in the subcompact SUV segment. The Kia Soul has more charm than the vast majority of its competitors, while an ultra-cheap starting price makes it attractive for buyers on a budget.
A 147-hp inline-four paired to a standard CVT and front-wheel drive means you won't be carving corners or making passes swiftly, but we think that's plenty for getting around town and commuting.
2024 Chevrolet Trax
The Chevy Trax has experienced a glow-up for 2024, with more space and a new, more mature fascia. It's the most affordable crossover in GM's lineup, and thanks to a tiny engine with standard turbocharged power, can deliver 32 mpg on the highway.
Under the hood is a 1.2-liter inline-three making 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. That's enough for an 8.8-second sprint to 60 mph. The Trax also comes with a six-speed automatic rather than a CVT, a rarity at this price range.
2024 Nissan Kicks
Price: $22,000 (est.)
The Nissan Kicks is the company's cheapest SUV, undercutting rivals in price while providing smart looks and a host of standard driver-assistance features.
No matter which trim you opt for, the Kicks comes standard with a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated inline-four making 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. Performance is predictably average, with a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds.
2024 Buick Envista
Easily the best-looking car on this list, the Envista marks a turning point for Buick, a brand that, for many, was considered appealing only for the elderly and out of touch.
The Envista is a car that looks like it could cost double its starting MSRP, and comes standard with turbocharged power. The tiny 1.2-liter three-cylinder under the hood makes 136 hp, enough for low-speed travel and commuting.
2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer
The Chevy Trailblazer is new for 2024, adopting the company's corporate design, making it look like a sort of mini Blazer. And we like it.
The Trailblazer can be ordered with one of two tiny turbocharged three-cylinder engines, neither of which are particularly powerful. The bigger 1.3-liter makes 155 hp, and can be had with optional all-wheel drive. Select it, and you get a 0-60 time of 9.4 seconds.
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross
As the name suggests, the Toyota Corolla Cross is the Corolla of crossovers. Like the compact sedan and hatch, it comes in at a very affordable price point, providing the same dependability we've come to expect from the Japanese brand.
The only choice of engine in the Corolla Cross is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 169 hp, paired to a CVT. Thankfully there's all-wheel drive available for those who live in snow belt states.
2024 Mazda CX-30
Price: $25,000 (est.)
Those in the market for a cheap SUV that's also fun should look no further than the Mazda CX-30. It mixes Mazda's fun-to-drive ethos into a compact crossover that's nice to look at and feels premium inside.
The standard 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four and its 191 hp will work fine for most people, but we'd opt for the turbocharged motor, which delivers 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, enough for a 5.8-second 0-60 time.
2024 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is one of the older cars on this list, sporting an aging fascia and a lackluster interior. What it does have, though, is a solid warranty, standard AWD, and two engine options.
The bigger of the two, the 2.4-liter inline-four, makes just 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque, though. That's enough to get the Mitsubishi to 60 mph in 8 seconds flat.
2024 Volkswagen Taos
If the Volkswagen Golf is just too small for your needs, but you're not into the big size of the Tiguan, the Taos is the car for you. It's sort of like a mini Tiguan, sporting similar looks in a smaller, more efficient package.
Like any Volkswagen, you get a more high-end, refined driving experience than other cars in the segment, along with 158 hp from a standard turbocharged engine. There's even optional AWD.
2024 Honda HR-V
Honda's entry-level HR-V crossover might not look as elegant as some of the company's other current offerings, but signature Honda reliability and a lovely cabin space give it lots of appeal.
Sadly the HR-V has just one powertrain option for America: A 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder making 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque, paired to a CVT. It's powerful enough to squeeze the HR-V to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds.
2024 Hyundai Kona
Perhaps the most futuristic-looking vehicle on this list, the Hyundai Kona sits at the forefront of the company's new design language, sporting a singular light strip across the nose on a rugged-looking crossover.
There are naturally aspirated, turbocharged, and all-electric drivetrains to choose from. While the Kona EV will likely work best for those with at-home chargers, we're most interested in the turbo motor, rated at 190 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.
2024 Kia Seltos
The Kia Seltos is more appealing than ever for 2024, with updated styling inside and out. Mix in a fun-driving attitude and a strong 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty and you have yourself a truly compelling affordable SUV.
The optional turbocharged 1.6-liter motor is the one we'd have, rated at 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to an eight-speed auto and AWD, resulting in an impressive 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph.
2024 Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru's entry-level Crosstrek has been given a significant refresh for 2024, with new looks and underpinnings, along with a new Wilderness trim that lifts the suspension for an impressive 9.3 inches of ground clearance.
In typical Subaru fashion AWD is standard, paired to either a 2.0-liter boxer-four or a bigger 2.5-liter boxer-four. Both engines are naturally aspirated making, 152 hp and 182 hp, respectively. Tragically the manual has been dropped, meaning a CVT is the only choice of transmission.
2024 Buick Encore GX
The Buick Encore GX wears much of the same smartly designed exterior as the Envista, making us second-guess whether we should keep considering the brand irrelevant here in the United States.
Despite being the smallest vehicle in Buick's lineup, the Encore GX comes standard with some desirable features like big digital displays, wireless Apple CarPlay, and more. There are a pair of turbocharged three-cylinder engines available, the bigger of which makes 155 hp. Go for AWD, and you get a nine-speed auto in place of the standard CVT.
2024 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
While the iconic name and sporty looks suggest the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross might be a fun car, it veers far closer to average when it comes to the driving experience.
What the Eclipse Cross lacks in joy it makes up for with standard all-wheel drive and turbocharged power. Sadly the only choice of transmission is a continuously variable automatic. We suggest upgrading to at least the LE trim, as that's the only way you get an 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is the only way to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2024 Chevrolet Equinox
The all-new Chevrolet Equinox EV might be hogging the spotlight these days, but let's not forget about the gas-powered version. It's far cheaper than its rivals, making it the most popular seller in Chevy's lineup behind the Silverado.
A 175-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four is the only engine available, paired to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is an optional extra, though if you want to save money at the pump we suggest avoiding the extra driven wheels and staying FWD.
2024 Kia Niro
Price: $28,000 (est.)
Not only is the Kia Niro one of the cheapest SUVs on the market, it's also the most efficient. As standard it comes with a 139-hp hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.6-liter inline-four to an electric motor, good enough for an incredible 54 mpg on the highway.
Those on the hunt for even more efficiency will be please to learn Kia also offers the Niro with plug-in hybrid and full electric powertrains. If fuel-sipping is your most important requirement, you can't go wrong here.
2024 Subaru Forester
If the Crosstrek just isn't big enough for your needs, consider the Subaru Forester. The mid-size SUV has been a staple of Subaru's lineup for over 25 years, delivering the same nice driving experience and capability it always has.
Sadly there's no longer a turbo variant available, which means you'll have to make due with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer-four paired to a CVT transmission. At least all-wheel drive is still standard.
2024 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson has a few good things going for it on top of the slick looks and massive 10-year, 10o,000-miles powertrain warranty. Acceptable handling and a smooth suspension mean it'll be suitable for most people, and optional hybrid drivetrains means it can appeal to people looking to save at the pump.
The base gas-powered four-cylinder should be enough for most people, rated at 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, sending power to the wheels via an eight-speed auto.
You Might Also Like