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Best SUV Under $20000 for 2023

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2017-2018 Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4’s last full generation ran from model years 2013 to 2018, inclusive, and if you’re looking for a car around $20,000, you’ll discover vehicles from this generation. Toyota had been developing this generation of RAV4 for some years by model year 2018, which frequently correlates to greater reliability.

The RAV4 is a best-selling Canadian-built vehicle noted for its long-term value, outstanding safety ratings, fuel efficiency, and the assurance of greater ground clearance, an elevated driving position, and an automated all-wheel drive (AWD) system available on most variants.

Toyotas from model years 2017 and 2018, including the RAV4, helped the brand maintain its position in the top five of all brands examined by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which analyzes faults identified by owners of 3-year-old vehicles.

In other words, owners of the 2017 and 2018 Toyota models (including the RAV4) were likely to have the fewest difficulties with their vehicles after three years of ownership, according to the survey.

Though the Toyota RAV4 has a good reputation, buyers should keep in mind that well-maintained automobiles are more trustworthy. Maintenance, not miles, is the most important determinant in vehicle reliability as it ages. As a result, before purchasing a used SUV, customers should have it inspected by a skilled mechanic, preferably in a dealership setting.

The RAV4 owner’s community reports a generally positive and trouble-free experience with their vehicles, though some have reported issues with laggy or frozen stereo system head units, poor audio quality from the optional JBL audio system, and a ride that may be too rough on backroads and trail surfaces.

A software update frequently resolves issues with the RAV4’s head unit and stereo (if necessary), while replacement hardware is sometimes required, which is substantially more expensive if out of warranty. Pay special attention to the operation of both systems during your test drive.

Keep an ear out for tires that are unusually loud. While driving at highway speeds, keep in mind that excessive noise and vibrations from the tires/wheels indicate that an alignment and tire pressure adjustment may be necessary.

2016 Chevrolet Equinox

The second-generation Chevrolet Equinox was produced for eight model years, ending in 2017. Having been in production for nearly a decade, GM has plenty of time to make improvements and iron out faults from previous models.

This is just another illustration of the advantages of purchasing a late-production used SUV at the end of its generation’s production cycle. The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox was a segment leader in dependability, according to J.D. Power and Associates. According to VDS statistics from the same year, Chevrolet scored fourth out of all brands in the study’s primary metric of Problems per 100 vehicles.

To conclude, the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox received top dependability ratings from experts at a period when Chevrolet, Porsche, Toyota, Lexus, and Buick were neck and neck as the top five most reliable brands on the road.

Examine the battery and charging system health of the used model you’re considering, keeping in mind that the Equinox’s electronics can become significantly unpleasant if the battery powering them isn’t healthy and fresh.

Examine the climate control system thoroughly, ensuring that you can call air at all temperatures from all dash vents. If you are unable to direct both hot and cold air from all upper and lower vents, have the car professionally evaluated before purchasing, since some owners have experienced climate control issues that may necessitate costly disassembly of Equinox’s dashboard.

Check the touchscreen and all neighbouring knobs and buttons for correct operation, including those for the climate control system. Some owners have reported dead-centre stack controllers and touch screens, but the majority have not. If a problem is found, it could be a corroded electrical connector or a damaged vehicle battery.

Some 2016 and 2017 Equinox models will have reasonably high mileage around the $20,000 mark. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, make careful to find out whether (if any) forthcoming maintenance is required and how much it will cost.

2014-2015 Mercedes GLK

Here’s one of my personal favourites. The GLK’s characteristic blocky design not only helps it stand out on the road, but it’s also one of the most dependable current Mercedes vehicles, according to many owners.

The GLK had been in production for a few years for model-year 2014 or 2015, using no shortage of well-proven driveline and electronic components common with many other Mercedes cars for a complete model generation.

While a used GLK requires premium fuel and may not match all shopper standards for ample rear legroom, owners report that it has caused them few problems. The most frequently discussed issues are minor in nature, such as squeaky brakes, check engine lights, backup camera failure, and short taillight bulb life.

Squeaks and rattles are among the most common complaints, while engine coil pack and gearbox issues have been reported by a limited number of owners.

If you want to spoil yourself, this opulent Mercedes SUV might be exactly the thing. A properly cared for and frequently serviced unit will put you behind the wheel of one of the most highly-rated luxury crossovers on the market.

Just keep in mind that GLK drivers appear to enjoy driving their vehicles, so finding a low-mileage unit may be difficult. Before purchasing a higher-mileage SUV, have a specialist inspect the vehicle for symptoms of probable trouble and planned repairs.

2013-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

A healthy used Chevrolet Tahoe might make a fantastic choice for $20,000 or less for larger families and bigger excursions with robust towing capability.

You’re presumably looking at a 2013 or 2014 model-year unit from the vehicle’s third generation, which spanned model years 2007 to 2014. The Tahoe’s spacious interior, smooth ride, cavernous cargo area, and 8,500-lb towing capability gear it up nicely for the heavier-duty customer six or seven years into production using highly proven GM pickup components and powertrains.

Though thirsty, cars with the 6.2-litre VORTEC V8 engine are the most powerful of this generation Tahoe, and can assist owners to avoid the oil consumption issues experienced by some owners of units with the smaller 5.3-litre V8.

You’re likely looking at higher-mileage equipment at this price bracket, so knowing the machine’s maintenance history and impending maintenance needs (including tires and brakes) is critical.

Confirm that the cruise control system is working properly, keeping in mind that a faulty brake pedal switch is a common cause of system failures but is a simple fix. Before purchasing, ensure that the Bluetooth phone system works properly and that all internal carpeting is free of dampness, which could indicate a water leak.

The Tahoe provides a robust, safe, and sturdy feel on the road — but its all-V8 engine lineup comes with a hefty gasoline cost to match.

2016-2017 Subaru Forester

The tall and roomy Subaru Forester is a go-to SUV for many Canadians — especially those seeking maximum flexibility and winter driving confidence — thanks to its distinctive boxer engine and standard AWD supplied to all variants

The Subaru Forester is a logical choice for a family-friendly SUV, with high ratings for safety and long-term resale value. The Forester is also the most popular Subaru SUV for sale on, so the options are many.

The third-generation Forester went on sale in 2014, although buyers should stick to a 2016 or newer model from this generation to avoid the well-documented oil-consumption issues with earlier 2.5-litre engines.

For the greatest results, opt for a 2016 or 2017 model (with the less troublesome 2-litre turbo engine).

Other minor issues reported by owners include slow-starting engines, non-functional forward dash and instrument cluster illumination, and sluggish air conditioner functioning. A slow-starting Forester engine may require a new battery and/or software update, burned-out dash lighting is frequently repaired with a replacement fuse, and replacing the cabin air filter can often improve air conditioner operation.

When purchasing a used Subaru Forester, it’s also critical to understand and adhere to the vehicle’s transmission maintenance and servicing requirements. Timely maintenance and inspections can assist extend the transmission’s lifespan and reliability.

Avoid a few potential issues with previous models, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying one of the most family-friendly, winter-ready, and adventure-ready SUVs on the market.

2014-2015 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is one of the most popular SUV models on the market today, thanks to its great reputation for dependability and resale value. If you spend around $20,000, you’re probably looking at a higher-mileage unit from the Pilot’s second generation, which spanned model years 2009 to 2015.

Consider a 2014 or 2015 Pilot to get the most out of the changes and updates made to this generation, and you’ll find better feature content, connection, and safety equipment compared to earlier versions. The Pilot’s driveline is also advantageous for used car buyers, as the 3.5-litre VTEC V6 engine, automatic transmission, and AWD system have all been extensively tested in the Pilot and other Honda vehicles. Notably, the 5-speed automatic transmission attached to this generation of Pilot is a competent performer that will assist buyers in avoiding potential issues with transmissions coming with the all-new, third-generation Pilot for model-year 2016.

High mileage inspections are required: have a technician evaluate the vehicle thoroughly for suspension wear, rust, braking system health, electronics health, and any other faults during a Pre-Purchase Inspection, which is your single best defence against purchasing a headache.

Because the engine in this generation Pilot has a timing belt, buyers should be informed of when the next timing belt change is necessary, as the service can be costly. A used model with new spark plugs, a new battery, new fluids, and a new timing belt is an excellent location to start your ownership adventure.

It’s worth noting that a model that has been routinely oil-sprayed will be rust-free, which will help retain greater resale prices.


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