Best small SUV under 15k?

Our 2006 Pontiac Vibe has too much going on to be our main car. We’d like a compact SUV, something like CRV/Rav4/Escape/ Equinox. We don’t need it to be AWD. Anyone have experience with these are others in the same class?

Does it need to be new? 15k is rather low for what you want.

Nope, should have specified. Under 100K miles is fine.

Checking two dealerships near me, I see a 2012 Rav4 with 67k miles for $14999 and a 2009 with 95k miles for $11575.

My sister liked hers, although she’s the type who leases a different car every year.

Forbes had it here as one of the 10 vehicles that would last 250,000 miles.

Consumer reports put the CRV in this recent article about cars proven to last 200,000 miles.

I would suggest that either one of those is going to be light years more reliable than a used Ford or Chevy.

A good friend of mine had a Rav4 - she said it was the best car she’d ever had.

A used Highlander would be my top pick, hybrid if available.

That would be wildly out of his price range.

I’ve heard good things about Rav4 but didn’t like the one I test drove. I have a 2013 Escape and love it, not a single problem. There are a LOT of them on the road, I don’t go a day without seeing 5-8 other ones on any given trip.

I personally don’t like the Rav4 because my knees keep bumping into the center console. But to each his own, other people may not have this issue.

Do SUVs have clear distinctions between sizes? My impression is many car companies offer 1-3 sizes of SUV. Small, medium and full size. With sedans there are clear cut sizes (subcompact, compact, midsize, full size). Do those disctinctions exist within SUVs so you can search for an entire class size of SUV? Are the Rav4 and the Nissan Rogue or Mitsubishi outlander all in the same class of SUV, or are they unrelated vehicles? Having a universal class would make searching them easier.

Generally speaking, a small SUV is around ~25k new, with depreciation being what it is you should be able to get a 2012-2015 model for <15k and the vast majority of those will have under 100k miles. But probably not a Toyota or Honda, as those hold their resale value better.

The smallest ones are called crossovers, or CUVs.

2008 hybrid 77k miles advertised at 15k. Walk in with 14k cash I bet it he drives away with it. Good for at minimum 130,000 more miles if not more.

My cite is coworker 1 with 09 Highlander @ 180,000, coworker 2 whose wife has 06 Highlander with 220,000 and my good friend who has been a Toyota dealer mechanic for going on 15 years now; he says highlanders come in with over 200k miles on such a regular basis as to be unremarkable.

Those distinctions definitely exist in the SUV world. For example, look at Honda’s line of SUVs (because it’s the one I’m most familiar with). The smallest is the HR-V, based on the subcompact Fit. The CR-V is the model in the middle and it’s based on the compact Civic. The Pilot is the big one and it’s based on the mid-size Accord.

In the auto industry, “crossovers” are based on unibody (car-like) construction, and they do indeed tend to be smaller. True SUVs are based on a body-on-frame (truck-like) construction. Of course, salespeople and consumers tend to scramble the terminology a lot.

I own a 2009 RAV 4 that I’m pretty happy with.

  • New models came out in 06, and 13 and is coming for 19 with a minor refresh in 09 and 16. Major changes for 13 for were better audio options, fake leather on the dash, loosing the option for 3rd row seats (they really want you to buy a Highlander for that), the full sized spare on back becomes a donut inside, standard allow wheels, less nice gauges and taillights, a lot of different exterior colors, better auto climate control layout (the 12 and earlier is a mess) and removal of some features like hill hold assist (which was added back later). IMHO the 16 refresh looks a lot nicer, they fixed some of the things they broke with the new 13 model like non-ugly tail-lights and putting back a real temperature gauge

  • Up to 12 interior colors were only light grey or tan on the Base and Limited, both of which show dirt horribly. The Sport, with it’s rougher suspension and standard tinted glass, alloy wheels, and fog lights had an option for charcoal.

  • Up to 12 they had an optional V6, which was uncommon in the class and dropping a mid-sized V6 in a smallish vehicle making it an absolute speed rocket.

  • Up to 12 even at the highest trim level (Limited) a lot of things were still options like leather, nav, and the sunroof. Limited only came standard with a different grill, auto climate control, tinted glass, alloy wheels, and the fog lights. The audio systems were not great and you couldn’t get both premium audio and Nav.

  • I actually wish the ride were more like a real SUV, but it feels like the big car that it is. Most people will find this as a feature, rather than a bug.

  • Newer models have more of the electronic safety features like lane departure warning as options or standard.

  • The V6 had a tendancy to have water pump failures which required pulling the engine to replace and could lead to engine failures due to overheating. It was (mostly) fixed as a running production change in 10 although there’s still sporadic reports

  • The I4 up to 08 had a defect in the piston rings where it would tend to drink vast quantities of oil around 75K to 100K miles. Some of them Toyota was nice enough to fix, but I’d avoid any I4 before 09 when they started using a completely different, much better engine.

  • Up to 12 daytime running lights were a $40 option but all the wiring and relays are there, it’s an “enable/ disable” setting in the computer that a Toyota dealer can reprogram if you ask nice.

  • It’s obvious that they reused a lot of random Toyota parts inside. The gauges light up white while everything else lights up amber and the manual climate controls are exactly the same as my sister’s Corolla.

Overall I wish it was my old Jeep Grand Cherokee in look and feel, I’m glad it’s a Toyota in terms of reliability and it fits my needs if it’s not the most flashy. It’s big enough in back to hold my bicycle or me taking a nap. I have the “Black Forest Pearl” which is an uncommon color and is a beautiful dark green that shines in the sun and looks different under different light. I personally also like black and the slate blue on these.

I don’t understand why Toyota doesn’t make a “mini-4Runner.” I know that the RAV4 exists, I’m talking about essentially a miniature version of the 4Runner with 2 doors and a 4-cylinder engine, 4WD, a modestly sized backseat, and a decent cargo area in the back. In my mind’s eye, it would look sort of like the old [link removed]

I’m genuinely afraid to click on that hot mess above.

Holy shit. We’re being invaded or something…

OK yeah I have no idea how that happened. I tried to copy and paste a link to an image of a two-door Isuzu Trooper that was similar to the hypothetical, fictional vehicle that I envisioned, and somehow hit the reply button before I realized what was happening. Shit’s fucked up.

Russians. I just know it’s Russians.

It’s a trap!!!