10 Best CPO SUVs Under $25,000
Americans love SUVs. This is as true as the sky is blue. Americans love their looks, their versatility, and the aura they project. You don’t hear people who have inactive, sedentary lifestyles talking about their SUVs. The people who drive SUVs are pictured as adventurers who might just head off into the wilderness on an overlanding expedition on a moment's notice.
If there is a problem attached to SUVs and their popularity, it is their expense. For cheap transport, a small sedan, hatchback, or coupe will typically be much less expensive than an SUV. Sure, you can buy a used SUV, but with no warranty, you are out in the cold if something goes wrong. The solution is a certified pre-owned SUV backed by the manufacturer. If you shop and bargain, it will be much less expensive than the same model purchased new, but it will be covered by a comprehensive manufacturer warranty. Problem solved. Here are the 10 best CPO SUVs under $25,000.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
In this article, we are concentrating on 2018 model year vehicles because that is a sweet spot right now for vehicles coming off leases and going into the CPO pool. With the Chevrolet Equinox that works particularly well, because the model was completely made over for the 2018 model year.
Engine choices include a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and 137-horsepower 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. We suggest the 2.0-liter for its added pep and nine-speed automatic transmission. The 2018 Equinox is available with front-drive or all-wheel-drive. The standard equipment includes alloy wheels, LED running lights, stop-start system, heated/power-operated side mirrors, a parking camera, and a six-speaker audio system. Low speed forward automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors are highlights on the optional safety equipment list.
2018 Honda CR-V
If you are looking to do serious off-roading, don’t choose the Honda CR-V. But since most people don’t do serious off-roading — or really any off-roading at all — the CR-V hits the right notes. Most comfortable on city and suburban roads, the five-passenger compact SUV is a great choice for commuting and family-car duty.
The popular model was completely redesigned for the 2017 model year, and among its many highlights is the comprehensive Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver-assist technologies. Included are adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, a lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and a rear cross-traffic alert. The base LX model is powered by a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter direct-injected i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, while a 190-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder does the job in other trims.
2018 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue compact SUV has been bringing home the bacon as one of the brand’s top sellers for several years now. Under the hood is a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to Nissan’s continuously variable automatic transmission. Both front-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available.
On the road, the Rogue feels peppy, although the CVT prompts some unnerving engine noises until you get used to it. We are fans of the Rogue’s interior and infotainment system. Based on our survey of CPO vehicles across the nation, you should be able to purchase an SL version with all-wheel-drive for significantly less than $25,000. The SL model has leather front seats, NissanConnect with integrated navigation, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, and Bose audio system. Parking is aided by the surround-view camera system.
2018 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson sometimes gets overlooked in the cluster of small SUVs on the market, but it is a solid contender in its class. It is also a solid contender as a CPO vehicle because its quality record is matched by lengthy warranty coverage.
Power comes from a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter engine that is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Exterior styling is a bit bland, but the Tucson has a pleasant enough interior with room for five and their cargo. We like the simple operation of the Hyundai infotainment system. The Tucson is available in multiple trim levels with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. The suspension is tuned for comfy ride versus sharp handling. It is not flashy, but you might own your CPO Tucson for a decade or more.
2018 Toyota RAV4
Excellent build quality, robust engineering, and an eye toward what consumers want all contribute to the popular success of the Toyota RAV4. A compact crossover SUV with ample room for five, the RAV4 is robustly built and has a reputation for longevity.
The 2018 version is powered by a solidly reliable 176-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Both front-drive and all-wheel-drive versions were offered. 2018 was the final model year in its RAV4 generation, and that means it is an even better bargain as a CPO vehicle. The base 2018 RAV4 LE offers an impressive array of standard equipment including roof rails, a parking camera, Bluetooth/USB integration, and a 6-inch touchscreen infotainment. Even more comfort, convenience, and safety features are added in the higher trim levels, and examples of them should still be fall under the $25,000 price ceiling.
2018 Ford Edge
The Ford Edge uses its exterior design as a major point of differentiation from other mid-size crossovers. A five-passenger vehicle, it is clearly intended much more for everyday on-road use than for any off-highway expeditions, so you might think of it as a tall sedan versus an SUV. But of course, it does offer SUV cargo space and versatility.
Power comes from an EcoBoost turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers 245 horsepower, and the engine is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Or you can opt for the 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Whether front-drive or all-wheel-drive, this makes for satisfying acceleration. The interior of the Edge is well-styled and painstakingly assembled. The Sync 3 infotainment system is well-regarded too. If you’re looking for a “personal SUV,” the Ford Edge might just be the ticket.
2018 Mazda CX-5
More than most SUVs, the CX-5 offers handling and responsiveness that give a high level of fun-to-drive. For the 2018 model year, the five-passenger compact SUV is powered by a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder backed up by a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive is the standard configuration and all-wheel-drive is available.
In addition to sharp handling that outclasses its competitors, the CX-5 also gets high marks for its interior, which resembles contemporary European luxury-brand crossovers. The CX-5 has a standard 7-inch infotainment screen, but it isn’t a touchscreen. The system is operated by a console-mounted controller, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported in the 2018 CX-5. For some, that’s a deal-breaker, but the CX-5 is a great CPO buy.
2018 Jeep Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee SUV is the most off-road capable of the SUVs in its class. To emphasize that, Jeep offers not just one four-wheel-drive system in the model but three. For those not intending to soil their Cherokee off the highway, there is also a front-drive version.
Power is supplied by either a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6. The transmission is a nine-speed automatic. The Cherokee was available in a number of trim levels for 2018, and one of the highest-value is the Latitude Plus that features an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite radio, keyless access, and an eight-way power driver's seat. Versatility is aided by the sliding and reclining rear seat. Automatic emergency braking is part of an available safety array.
2018 Kia Sorento
From the outside, you might not suspect the Kia Sorento offers a three-row interior, but that interior is both commodious and well-finished. Beyond that, the Sorento receives high marks in quality, and it is backed by a warranty much longer than average.
The base engine is a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 are also available. Front-wheel-drive is standard configuration, and all-wheel-drive is offered on all but the lowest trim. Sorentos were offered in an extremely wide range of prices when new, and the CPO versions follow suit. That said, you should find a selection of examples for less than $25,000.
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
This is one of the world’s bestselling plug-in hybrid crossovers, there are ample reasons for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s popularity. The five-passenger SUV offers a lot of cargo space, and its controls are easy to understand.
The plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a 117-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors. Total output is 197 horsepower, and the electric motors supply instant torque to each axle making the vehicle seem like it has more horsepower than it does. The 12-KWh battery pack offers 22 miles of electric-only driving range. For added value, Mitsubishi placed Apple CarPlay, blind-spot monitoring, and an advanced forward-collision warning system on the equipment list, making a CPO version a solid buy.