Best Used SUVs Under $15,000: The Cheapest And Most Reliable SUVs

Best Used SUVs Under $15,000: The Cheapest And Most Reliable SUVs

Americans love SUVs. In 2020, the light truck category (which includes SUVs alongside pickups) accounted for almost three-quarters of US auto sales. And it’s not hard to see why. 

With plenty of room, and some models offering up to seven seats, SUVs are well-suited for growing families. Some are distinctly premium in their positioning, and come with all the entertainment bells-and-whistles necessary to keep the kids happy on long drives. 

And that’s without mentioning the “U” in SUV: utility. Since these are effectively light trucks disguised as cars, they tend to come with powerful engines capable of performing serious haulage and towing tasks. 

All things considered, they’re exceptionally versatile vehicles, and if you’re prepared to hit the used market, you can find a bargain. We’ve compiled some of the best SUVs under $15,000. From crossovers to full-size trucks, there’s something here for everyone.

Best Used SUVs Under $15,000

2016 Nissan Rogue SL (from $14,950)

 2016 Nissan Rogue SL (from $14,950)

The 2016 Nissan Rogue is among the most compelling options for families, thanks to its relatively modern vintage and generously-sized interior, paired with a generous selection of safety features.

This five-seater offers solid levels of leg and head room, making long-range trips feel decidedly less claustrophobic. Comfort levels are boosted further with the inclusion of sleek leather seats, which are heated and power-adjustable in the front row. On the safety front, you’ve got a blind spot monitor, making lane-shifting slightly less perilous, while the rear-view camera will ensure your car remains unscathed when delicately reversing into a parking spot.

And yes, you’ve got all the entertainment goodies expected of a premium SUV from this era, including a generous touchscreen infotainment display, USB-input, a top-notch sound system, and mobile connectivity.

Its 2.5L 4-cylinder engine won’t break any land speed records, although you can console yourself with solid fuel economies, with the Rogue SL providing 26MPG in the city and 33MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Nissan Rogue SL
 2016 Nissan Rogue SL (from $14,950)

The 2016 Nissan Rogue is among the most compelling options for families, thanks to its relatively modern vintage and generously-sized interior, paired with a generous selection of safety features.

This five-seater offers solid levels of leg and head room, making long-range trips feel decidedly less claustrophobic. Comfort levels are boosted further with the inclusion of sleek leather seats, which are heated and power-adjustable in the front row. On the safety front, you’ve got a blind spot monitor, making lane-shifting slightly less perilous, while the rear-view camera will ensure your car remains unscathed when delicately reversing into a parking spot.

And yes, you’ve got all the entertainment goodies expected of a premium SUV from this era, including a generous touchscreen infotainment display, USB-input, a top-notch sound system, and mobile connectivity.

Its 2.5L 4-cylinder engine won’t break any land speed records, although you can console yourself with solid fuel economies, with the Rogue SL providing 26MPG in the city and 33MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Nissan Rogue SL

2010 Toyota RAV4 (from $10,950)

 2010 Toyota RAV4 (from $10,950)

A budget option through-and-through, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 delivers a capacious and comfortable ride, albeit at the expense of modern-day extras. The 2.5L 4-cylinder engine doesn’t provide much by way of sheer horsepower, but nonetheless offers solid fuel economies of 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, its 4WD drivetrain offers solid handing in even the most challenging of conditions.

Forget about an infotainment system, or parking assistance. And the RAV4’s cloth seats hardly shout “luxury.” Although you’re unlikely to mind, when in the confines of its cavernous interior, with some of the most generous levels of rear-seat legroom found in the midsize SUV category. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota RAV4
 2010 Toyota RAV4 (from $10,950)

A budget option through-and-through, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 delivers a capacious and comfortable ride, albeit at the expense of modern-day extras. The 2.5L 4-cylinder engine doesn’t provide much by way of sheer horsepower, but nonetheless offers solid fuel economies of 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, its 4WD drivetrain offers solid handing in even the most challenging of conditions.

Forget about an infotainment system, or parking assistance. And the RAV4’s cloth seats hardly shout “luxury.” Although you’re unlikely to mind, when in the confines of its cavernous interior, with some of the most generous levels of rear-seat legroom found in the midsize SUV category. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota RAV4

2014 Ford Edge SEL (from $14,350)

2014 Ford Edge SEL (from $14,350)

The Ford Edge is well-positioned for work and play, thanks to its potent V6 3.5L engine, which provides respectable levels of horsepower and torque (285HP and 253lbs respectively). Although the Edge is a compelling choice for a family car, you shouldn’t discount it as a workhorse, thanks to its ability to tow moderately-heavy loads. 

The Edge boasts a spacious interior, with the rear seats enjoying generous levels of head- and leg-room. Comfort is further improved by multi-zone AC and driver-adjustable lumbar support. 

Additionally, it benefits from a relatively modern driving experience, with dashboard information displayed across two 4-inch infotainment screens, with an eight-inch infotainment screen splashed in the middle. Although it lacks Apple Carplay and Android Auto, there are still a decent amount of media input options available, including USB and AUX-in, as well as local hard disk storage.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Edge SEL
2014 Ford Edge SEL (from $14,350)

The Ford Edge is well-positioned for work and play, thanks to its potent V6 3.5L engine, which provides respectable levels of horsepower and torque (285HP and 253lbs respectively). Although the Edge is a compelling choice for a family car, you shouldn’t discount it as a workhorse, thanks to its ability to tow moderately-heavy loads. 

The Edge boasts a spacious interior, with the rear seats enjoying generous levels of head- and leg-room. Comfort is further improved by multi-zone AC and driver-adjustable lumbar support. 

Additionally, it benefits from a relatively modern driving experience, with dashboard information displayed across two 4-inch infotainment screens, with an eight-inch infotainment screen splashed in the middle. Although it lacks Apple Carplay and Android Auto, there are still a decent amount of media input options available, including USB and AUX-in, as well as local hard disk storage.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Edge SEL

2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (from $13,950)

2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (from $13,950)

Subaru has long distinguished itself by offering an all-wheel drive experience across its lineup. The 2014 Outback is no exception, making it a compelling choice for families in rural parts, or where wintery conditions aren’t unheard of. It gives you a degree of stability and handling otherwise unavailable with a normal two-wheel drive car. 

Mileage is good, but not outstanding. The Outback delivers 24MPG in the city and 30MPG on the highway. And its 2.5L four-cylinder engine means it’s unlikely to win any street races, although should provide enough oomph for a frustration-free driving experience. It loses points for a relatively limited set of entertainment options, which are largely confined to USB, radio, and CDs. 

Still, for the price, it’s hard to fault it. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Outback
2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (from $13,950)

Subaru has long distinguished itself by offering an all-wheel drive experience across its lineup. The 2014 Outback is no exception, making it a compelling choice for families in rural parts, or where wintery conditions aren’t unheard of. It gives you a degree of stability and handling otherwise unavailable with a normal two-wheel drive car. 

Mileage is good, but not outstanding. The Outback delivers 24MPG in the city and 30MPG on the highway. And its 2.5L four-cylinder engine means it’s unlikely to win any street races, although should provide enough oomph for a frustration-free driving experience. It loses points for a relatively limited set of entertainment options, which are largely confined to USB, radio, and CDs. 

Still, for the price, it’s hard to fault it. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Outback

2011 Ford Escape XLT (from $9,950)

2011 Ford Escape XLT (from $9,950)

For many reasons, the 2011 Ford Escape XLT is an attractive proposition. First, the price: retailing under $10k, this vehicle is among the most affordable options available in its age bracket. 

But the Ford Escape XLT also stands out for the sheer amount of size afforded to owners, particularly when it comes to cargo, putting it on-par with some closed-cabin pickup trucks we’ve seen. 

As the name implies, the Ford Escape XLT is ideally suited for long family vacations. And this girth doesn’t come at the expense of mileage, which is a respectable 28MPG in the city and 30MPG on the highway. Still, with a small 2.5L four-cylinder engine lurking beneath the hood, don’t expect any breakneck acceleration. 

While it lacks a modern infotainment system, you do get a decent choice of audio input selections: USB, AM/FM, satellite radio, AUX-in, and bluetooth. There’s no built-in navigation, but I suppose you can always use the money you saved to invest in a decent smartphone holder.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Escape
2011 Ford Escape XLT (from $9,950)

For many reasons, the 2011 Ford Escape XLT is an attractive proposition. First, the price: retailing under $10k, this vehicle is among the most affordable options available in its age bracket. 

But the Ford Escape XLT also stands out for the sheer amount of size afforded to owners, particularly when it comes to cargo, putting it on-par with some closed-cabin pickup trucks we’ve seen. 

As the name implies, the Ford Escape XLT is ideally suited for long family vacations. And this girth doesn’t come at the expense of mileage, which is a respectable 28MPG in the city and 30MPG on the highway. Still, with a small 2.5L four-cylinder engine lurking beneath the hood, don’t expect any breakneck acceleration. 

While it lacks a modern infotainment system, you do get a decent choice of audio input selections: USB, AM/FM, satellite radio, AUX-in, and bluetooth. There’s no built-in navigation, but I suppose you can always use the money you saved to invest in a decent smartphone holder.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Escape

Driving Happy

There’s a reason why SUVs are so beloved by the US public. They’re well-suited to family life, thanks to their generous size, while many also prove handy at practical tasks, like hauling and towing. And while you may be tempted to buy or lease new, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of bargains to be found on the used market, even if your budget only stretches to $15,000. 

At Shift, we make the buying process simple. With our straightforward, transparent pricing, there are no surprises. And all vehicles come with a seven-day money back guarantee and a free 150-point inspection. For extra reassurance, check out our certified cars, which come with a free 30-day warranty. 

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Author
Shift Editorial Team