Owning an SUV is every car lover’s dream come true. They are powerful, sporty, handsome, and appeal to your adventurous side. The only downside of an SUV is the price– they are much more expensive than regular cars or sedans.
But the good news is, not all SUVs cost a fortune. You can buy a decent vehicle that meets your requirements well within $50,000, or even less. We did our research to find out the 20 best SUVs under $50,000, so you don’t have to frantically run from one dealer to another. Use this article as a guide, and choose a vehicle that aligns with your needs and budget.
There are 5 trim levels available, and all of them start from below $50,000. There is no third seat seating in this lineup, but the rear seats are spacious and comfortable, with ample cargo space behind them.
Subaru Forester Specs
- Engine– Subaru Forester 2021 is powered by a 182-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The fuel economy is quite impressive– 26 mpg for city and 33 mpg for highway. You can expect a comfortable ride and smooth handling.
- Towing– The vehicle can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
- Cabin– The practical cabin offers a comfortable seating position for the driver. The camel-colored leather-draped seats are accentuated by plastic trimmings, giving the interiors a luxurious touch. A standard 6.5-inch display is available, which is upgradable to an 8-inch screen. You can extend its 31.1 cubic feet storage space if you fold the rear seats flat.
The lineup is available in both 2-row and 3-row variants and is considered to be one of the most practically designed vehicles in recent times. If you have kids at home, choosing the 3-row Tiguan would be a better choice.
Volkswagen Tiguan Specs
- Engine– Tiguan 2021 comes with a turbo four-cylinder engine producing 184 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23/29 mpg city/highway, with FWD.
- Towing– This compact vehicle has a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds.
- Cabin– The interior of Tiguan is simple and practical, but not particularly luxurious. Cloth upholstery and partially power-adjustable seating are standard across all trim levels. And if you choose a higher trim, you will be greeted with a panoramic sunroof and faux-leather upholstery. For the 3-row variant, the cargo space is quite cramped, but for the 2-row models, you get 37.6 cubic feet of cargo, which is ample for hauling luggage.
You have seven versatile trim models to choose from. Our favorite is the Carbon Edition, with superior sunroof features, a power liftgate, and power-adjustable passenger seats.
Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Specs
- Engine- Mazda has a robust four-cylinder engine giving a decent power of 187 hp@6000 rpm. The driving experience is smooth, especially on curvy roads. For this competitive range, Mazda has an appreciable combined fuel economy of 26 mpg. On city roads, the fuel economy comes out to be 24 mpg, while highway fuel economy stands at 30 mpg.
- Towing Capacity- Mazda has a comparatively low towing capacity of 2000 pounds.
- Cabin- The cabin has a visually appealing aesthetics. Luxurious materials, a well-crafted steering wheel, and an awesome layout give Mazda a royal look. The infotainment section has exciting features like subscription-based Wi-fi hotspots and control of vehicular functions using a smartphone app.
4. Ford Escape
Why We Picked It: With a seating capacity of 5, this compact SUV from Ford can be a great ride for traveling with family, and comfortable on-road cruising. It offers decent fuel economy, but if you want to lower down fuel costs further, there are hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants available.
Ford Escape comes with a host of standard safety additions such as automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning. There are as many as 10 trim levels to choose from, and all of them are priced under $50,000.
Ford Escape Specs
- Engine- Ford Escape 2021 is powered by a 1.5 liter 181-hp turbo engine, but you can also upgrade to a 2-liter liter 250-hp variant if you’re looking for more power. For the hybrid variants, two electric motors and a 2-5 liter engine work together to produce an output of 221 hp.
- Towing- Depending on the trim, Ford Escape’s towing capacity ranges between 1500 pounds to up to 3000 pounds.
- Cabin- The interior looks stylish, with a practical design ensuring comfort for both the driver and the passengers. You will get standard cloth upholstery, which gets upgraded to more visually appealing faux-leather upholstery once you go for the higher trims.
5. Toyota RAV4
The fuel economy is great, and thanks to the availability of standard features like adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-departure assist, you can rest assured about safety. Except for the base trim, all others get power-adjustable seats and blind-spot monitoring.
Toyota RAV4 Specs
- Engine– The vehicle comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with an output of 203 horsepower. On regular gasoline, the 2.5-liter engine offers an estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg and 35 mpg, in city and highway respectively.
- Towing– When supported with the right kind of equipment, RAV4 has a towing power of up to 3,500 pounds.
- Cabin– On the higher trim levels, there are premium inclusions such as faux-leather upholstery, a steering wheel draped in leather, and a premium dashboard. It boasts a cargo-hauling capacity of 37.6 cubic feet, which is expandable up to 136.4 cubic feet by stowing the back seats.
6. Hyundai Santa Fe
The stylized cabin is adorned by a state-of-the-art infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an optional 12-speaker audio system, and wireless charging. The standard safety and driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning.
Hyundai Santa Fe Specs
- Engine– It comes with a 191-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and you can also choose a more powerful 277-hp 2.5-liter variant. Front-wheel drive is standard, but you can opt for the all-wheel drive too. When it comes to the hybrid trim, you get an output of 226 hp, produced by two electric motors and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. The four-cylinder engine offers a fuel economy of 25/28 mpg city/highway.
- Towing– The vehicle can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
- Cabin– The cabin of Santa Fe 2021 looks premium, thanks to the use of quality materials in the interior trims, ventilated and heated seats, a comfortable passenger area, and sufficient cargo space. At the back of the rear seat, you get a cargo area of 36.4 cubic feet, which is enough to haul your luggage for a weekend trip.
Front-wheel drive comes standard across the Sorento trims, but you can choose to switch to all-wheel drive as well, for an additional $1800. There are 8 trim levels available for the lineup, and all of them are priced under $50,000.
Kia Sorento Specs
- Engine– Sorento is powered by a standard 2.5 liter 191-hp four-cylinder engine, and also a 2.5-liter turbo engine producing 281 hp. For the hybrid trim, Sorento comes with a four-cylinder engine of 1.6 liters, paired with a 44-kilowatt electric motor. The base engine offers a fuel economy of 24 mpg/ 29 mpg city/highway.
- Towing– Kia Sorento 2021 can tow up to a massive 5,000 pounds.
- Cabin– The freshly updated cabin of Sorento 2021 comes with neatly stitched detailing on the upholstery, ambient lighting, and a third row. Thanks to the extended wheelbase, the interior is now bigger by a few inches. The infotainment system offers all the latest tech features, including wireless charging.
8. Jeep Wrangler
Its USP is the removable doors and rooftop, a feature that is quite rare to find. There are as many as 11 trims available in this lineup, covering different price ranges. From the entry-level Sport up to Rubicon, the base price stays well within $50,000.
Jeep Wrangler Specs
- Engine– The diesel engine offers a fuel economy of 22 mpg/29 mpg city/highway, which happens to be the most fuel-efficient variant of the lot.
- Towing– Based on the trim level, Wrangler offers a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.
- Cabin– Jeep Wrangler comes with a convenient driving position, allowing the driver to have greater visibility of the road. If the rear seats aren’t offering satisfactory views, there is a provision to remove the roof and the doors to make the adventure more memorable. For the two-door variant, you will get a cargo space of 12.9 cubic feet. It’s not a lot but works well for running errands or for hauling light luggage.
9. Ford Explorer
Why We Picked It: This midsize SUV is yet another vehicle that offers smooth rides, and comes equipped with a powerful engine and state-of-the-art infotainment.
Out of the 9 available trim levels, the first 4 (Base, XLT, Limited, and Timberline) start at less than $50,000. Rated five-star by NHTSA, the lineup comes with standard automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure assist. If you skip the entry-level trim, you will get a standard B&O audio system to keep up the entertainment quotient of your ride.
Ford Explorer Specs
- Engine– The first three trim levels are powered by a 2.3-liter turbo engine, producing 300 hp. The estimated fuel economy is 21/28 mpg city/highway.
- Towing- The 2021 Ford Explorer offers a towing capacity of up to 5,600 pounds, provided that it is supported by the right mechanism.
- Cabin– The first two rows are practical and comfortable, but the third row is small and lowered down towards the floor. When all the rows are in use, the available cargo space stands at 21 cubic feet. An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard, with a wifi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration.
You can choose from five trim levels, with the Touring model giving you premium features like leather upholstery, push-button start, and power-adjustable front seats.
Mazda CX-9 Specs
- Engine- There is a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder turbocharged engine that gives 22 hp@5000 rpm. Mazda gives an excellent EPA fuel economy rating as compared to its competitors. On city roads, it produces 20 mpg while highways take up the EPA to 26 mpg. The combined EPA fuel economy stands at 23 mpg.
- Towing Capacity- Mazda has a reliable towing capacity of 3500 pounds.
- Cabin- The upscale cabin of Mazda comprises materials like brushed aluminum, rosewood, soft-touch plastic, and more. However, it is short on cargo space due to third-row seating. Even the seats are smaller with congested seating.
11. Toyota Highlander
Our favorite pick is the XLE, which is equipped with comfy heated seats and a wireless charging pad, among other luxurious features. This Toyota vehicle doesn’t fall short on standard driver-assistance features either– it comes with automated emergency braking, lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
Toyota Highlander Specs
- Engine– Highlander runs on a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 295 hp. As for the hybrid powertrain, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors gives 243 hp. The hybrid variants offer an impressive fuel economy, 36 mpg/ 35 mpg city/highway.
- Towing– The maximum weight it can tow is 5,000 pounds.
- Cabin– The cabin of the Toyota Highlander is quite spacious, with the L and LE trims offering seating for up to 8 people. At the back of the rear seats, the available storage space is 16 cubic feet, and with all seats folded, it bumps up to 84.3 cubic feet.
12. BMW X1
Some of the available standard safety features include lane departure warning and forward-collision warning. The intuitive infotainment system comes equipped with an 8.8-inch touchscreen, with the latest tech features.
BMW X1 Specs
- Engine– BMW X1 is powered by a 2-liter turbo engine, producing 228 horsepower. Standard FWD is available for all trims, and all-wheel drive comes as optional. It offers a mileage of 24 mpg in city, which goes up to 33 mpg for highway.
- Towing– BMW X1 has a towing capacity of up to 3,700 pounds.
- Cabin– With a seating capacity of 5, BMW X1 is designed for comfort. However, the use of inexpensive material at certain places, such as the bin or the glovebox can be a turnoff. Despite being a small SUV, the cargo area is quite spacious. The standard storage space is 27.1 cubic feet, expandable up to 58.7 cubic feet when you fold the rear seats.
The vehicles of this lineup are equipped with standard rear-wheel drive, however, you can switch to AWD as well. Grand Cherokee 2021 comes with standard blind-spot monitoring.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Specs
- Engine– Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021 is characterized by its gutsy powertrains. It comes with a basic 295-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine, along with three other V8 variants. The V-6 engine offers a fuel economy rating of 25 mpg, but the V-8 variant isn’t as fuel-efficient.
- Towing– Vehicles with V6 engines can tow up to 6,200 pounds, whereas the V8 engine ones offer up to 7,200 pounds.
- Cabin– The use of premium materials in upholstery lends an upscale appearance to the cabin. It is equipped with a standard 5-inch display, but you can upgrade to a more convenient 8.4-inch screen. The infotainment system boasts wifi connectivity, a six-speaker audio system, as well as optional SiriusXM satellite radio.
14. Toyota 4Runner
Out of the 7 trims available, all except the highest TRD Pro trim is priced under $50,000 (base price). With this vehicle, you will get solid towing power, a spacious storage area, and standard driver aids and safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
Toyota 4Runner Specs
- Engine– The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is powered by a V6 engine of 4 liters. It’s quite fuel-hungry, offering a fuel economy of 16 mpg/19 mpg, city/highway.
- Towing– It offers a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds.
- Cabin– The interior of 4Runner isn’t particularly stylish, but it has comfortable seating. If you plan to travel with kids on board, you can opt for the optional third-row. The infotainment system comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. It comes with a cargo space of 46.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 9 cubic feet behind the third row.
15. Land Rover Discovery Sport
There are four trim levels to choose from, and each model of Land Rover has an exciting feature addition. For instance, the SE model comes with premium LED headlamps. If you are someone who likes interesting color variants, you have premium metallic paint finish options.
Land Rover Discovery Sport Specs
- Engine- Land Rover has a 246 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Plus, you get a combined EPA fuel economy of 21 mpg (24 mpg for highways and 19 for city roads). As compared to other SUVs in this range, the performance remains subpar.
- Towing Capacity- The towing capacity of Land Rover Discovery Sport is impressive, with a maximum of 4409 pounds.
- Cabin- The cabin of this SUV is quite spacious, with better seat configurations and sustainable materials. This setup is comfortable for long trips. In addition, the infotainment system is attractive with a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, 180-watt six-speaker setup, and in-dash navigation. Also, Land Rover gives you an option to opt for a third row.
16. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Equipped with standard automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen, this compact SUV is a worthy purchase.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Specs
- Engine- The vehicle has a 2-liter turbocharged base engine producing 280 horsepower. It offers 22 mpg/28 mpg city/highway, with a combined fuel economy rating of 24 mpg.
- Towing- The 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio has a towing capacity of up to 3000 pounds.
- Cabin- The cabin looks premium, with leather upholstery, comfortable seats, and aluminium accents decking up the interior.
17. Audi Q5
With this vehicle, you will witness a smooth and noise-free ride, whether you’re driving through city roads, or on the highways. It doesn’t offer much road adventure with its simple driving manners, rather results in a refined and hassle-free driving experience.
Audi Q5 Specs
- Engine– The first three trim levels are powered by a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 261 horsepower.
- Towing– This SUV has an impressive towing capacity of up to 4,400 pounds.
- Cabin– The cozy cabin of the Audi Q5 comes with a seating capacity for four passengers. The interior remains noiseless even when the vehicle is moving at speed. Thanks to the inclusion of an intuitive infotainment system with a WiFi hotspot, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay integration, the rides become more enjoyable.
Among the 4 available trim levels, the first two carry an under-$50k price tag. The base trim is equipped with only rear-wheel drive, but for the rest, you can get an all-wheel drive.
BMW X3 Specs
- Engine-The vehicle’s 2-liter turbo engine produces 248 hp. The powertrain is sufficiently powerful to offer a hassle-free ride. The entry-level trim offers 27 mpg combined in city and highway (25 mpg/29 mpg city/highway).
- Towing- If you’re in need of superior towing power, you can opt for the optional tow hitch to achieve a maximum towing capacity of up to 4,400 pounds.
- Cabin– The luxurious cabin of BMW X3 offers a convenient seating position to both the driver and the passengers. The faux wood accents in the interior of the vehicle don’t look cheap, rather it adds to the uniquely simple aesthetic.
So in this article, we discussed the top 20 SUVs you can buy under $50,000. When you’re on a budget but you don’t want to settle for anything less than a top-class sports utility vehicle, this listing comes to your rescue. We have covered the necessary information you will require to make a decision, such as engine, towing capacity, cabin, the specialties of each vehicle, along with their pros and cons.
There are hundreds of SUVs launched every year, and it can be overwhelming to decide which vehicle is your perfect match. A product of extensive research, this list includes the most sought-after SUVs of 2021– vehicles that have been applauded by automotive critics and users alike. So read carefully, and choose an SUV that meets your budget, and offers the comfort, power, and additional features you’re looking for.
How to choose an SUV for under $50,000?
There are a plethora of SUVs out there that come with a price tag of less than $50,000. But as you go for more advanced features or any luxury add-ons, the amount soars high and exceeds the base price.
If you have a budget of $50,000, you should look for vehicles that are available at a lower base price. That way, even when you add features like all-wheel drive, or you opt for infotainment or safety upgrades, you won’t have to go beyond your budget.
The right calculation is the key here. Before making a decision, research each vehicle of your interest, consider their base prices, as well as the prices of the add-ons. This will give you a comprehensive idea of how much you are actually investing into the SUV.
Can a 50K SUV do the job for me?
Unless you’re looking for a super-luxury SUV, you will get a good deal on a new SUV under $50k. More expensive vehicles often carry a luxury pedigree, coupled with premium interior add-ons that bump up the price. For regular city cruising, off-roading and hassle-free rides, an SUV worth $50,000 is quite sufficient.
Is there really a good quality SUV for up to 50K?
As our long list tells you, there are multiple good-quality SUVs available under $50k. In general, the starting price hovers around $25,000, and if you want any extra features, you will be charged extra. With an additional cost, you can avail a host of deluxe amenities such as heated and ventilated seats, leather upholstery, wood trimming, bigger infotainment screen, hi-tech audio system, and a rearview camera, to mention a few. And if you strictly want to stay within your budget, all you have to do is avoid the add-ons that you do not need, and stick to the basic offerings.