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The 10 Best SUVs Under $35K, Ranked

The 10 Best SUVs Under $35K, Ranked

It’s not easy to choose the best SUV. It’s been around since before World War II, and the SUV’s popularity has only increased with each year.

And every year, this vehicle genre seems to gain new and exciting features that make it better than previous models.

So, join us as we learn more about them and discuss the ten best SUVs under $35K.

Let’s go!

What Is an SUV?

The term SUV means sports utility vehicle. Car and Driver defines an SUV as “a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive that can be taken off-road and have the feel of a lighter truck.”

They further explain that an SUV can also be a smaller vehicle without these capabilities.

Ultimately, some of the best SUVs are slightly larger vehicles than your typical sedans with better off-road capabilities.

SUV driving along scenic highway.
SUVs can make for excellent adventure vehicles.

What Features Make SUVs the Best?

The best SUVs have a few key features. One of the defining features is increased storage and hauling space, similar to a pickup, but improved and more leisure cab space, enhancing an owner’s flexibility in carrying both people and cargo.

Other critical benefits include a higher center of gravity, a more robust engine, and improved towing capacity.

What Type of SUV Can You Get for Under $35K?

Manufacturers divide SUVs into three separate categories: small, midsize, and full-size. A small SUV is easier to maneuver, and many are crossovers. The midsize ones can be crossovers, similar to mid-sized cars, or larger and more akin to midsize or compact trucks. 

Finally, full-sized SUVs are the largest type and can even have extended bodies to increase passenger and cargo space. Full-sized SUVs are also frequently marketed for their luxury interiors and off-road capabilities. 

Ultimately, most if not all full-sized SUVs will cost more than $35K. But most small and mid-sized have starting MSRPs under $35K. Each will be different, and you must research to find the best one for your lifestyle.

Pro Tip: Convert your SUV into the ultimate camping vehicle with our SUV Camper Conversion Guide.

Trunk of an SUV packed up.
SUVS can offer increase passenger and cargo space.

The 10 Best SUVs Under $35K, Ranked

Each SUV has a unique set of features. And there are so many from which to choose. Join us as we look at the 10 best under $35K and, hopefully, find one that’s perfect for all your adventures.

#10. 2021 Nissan Kicks 

Starting MSRP: $19,600

The 2021 Nissan Kicks is one of the best SUVs for an urban commuter. It has good fuel efficiency for one of these vehicles, with 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. But it has reduced off-road capacity.

It only has 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t have AWD.

#9. 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid

Starting MSRP: $28,030

The 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid has a few features that set it apart as one of the best SUVs. First, Escape’s hybrid engine features an 88-kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery. Second, the Escape has a back row that can slide back and forth to add more foot or cargo space.

Finally, the 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid has Co-Pilot360 technology.

This technology helps you feel safer and more confident on today’s busy roads.

We answer: Can the Ford Escape tow an RV Trailer?

#8. 2022 Subaru Forester

Starting MSRP: $25,195

The 2022 Subaru Forester is one of the best SUVs for safety. It’s received high front crash prevention ratings. The 2021 version received the 2021 IIHS top safety award. It also has symmetrical AWD with upgraded EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

Another key feature of the Forester is its 3,000-pound towing capacity.

We answer: Can the Subaru Forester tow a camper?

#7. 2022 Hyundai Palisade

Starting MSRP: $33,150

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is impressive, but the upgraded Palisade Calligraphy makes this one of the best SUVs. The Palisade Calligraphy not only has upgraded interior finishes but also comes with all-wheel capability.

All-wheel capability is a crucial feature for any outdoor adventure.

We answer: Can the Hyundai Palisade tow a trailer?

#6. 2021 Toyota RAV4

Starting MSRP: $26,350

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 truly is one of the best SUVs. It has an electric hybrid motor with a lithium-ion battery. It also has a 10-year or 150,000-mile hybrid battery warranty.

Enjoy the TRD Off-Road capability, which allows you to conquer rugged mountain roads with ease.

Pro Tip: Unsure what is the best option for towing your camper trailer? Join the debate on what is better, SUV vs. Truck edition.

#5. 2021 Nissan Rogue

Starting MSRP: $26,050

The 2021 Nissan Rogue features three high-tech displays, which you can configure to display what you need when you need it. It also has the Nissan Safety Shield 360, which makes urban driving a breeze.

Finally, it’s the best SUV for off-road adventures because of its all-wheel drive and generous cargo space for all your equipment.

#4. 2022 Kia Telluride

Starting MSRP: $32,790

The 2022 Kia Telluride is one of the best SUVs under $35K for towing capacity. Its 291 horsepower V6 engine has 5,000 pounds of towing capacity, which means you can pull a small trailer.

It also has an entertaining infotainment system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Audio.

We answer: Can the Kia Telluride tow a camper?

#3. 2021 Hyundai Kona

Starting MSRP: $20,500

The 2021 Hyundai Kona is one of the best SUVs for both its sleek design and safety features. Specifically, the Hyundai Kona has Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection and smart cruise control, which will adjust the speed if the Kona senses you’re getting too close to the car in front of you.

It also has a 175 horsepower 1.6L Turbo GDI engine and a combined 30 mpg fuel efficiency.

The optional AWD also makes the Kona an excellent option for campers and RVers.

#2. 2021 Mazda CX-5

Starting MSRP: $31,585

The 2021 Mazda CX-5’s Skyactiv-G 2.5L Turbo engine gives it 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. It also features many safety features, including Advanced Smart City Brake Support and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, and front collision mitigation technology.

These safety features make the CX-5 one of the best SUVs on the market.

#1. 2022 Honda CR-V – Best-Selling SUV

Starting MSRP: $25,750

The 2022 Honda CR-V is the best-selling crossover SUV in the last decade. Because the CR-V is a hybrid, this car quite literally provides an electrifying drive with a lithium-ion battery.

Additionally, this battery comes with an eight-year extended warranty.

The CR-V is also available with an advanced hybrid powertrain and offers all-wheel-drive capabilities.

We answer: Can the Honda CR-V Tow a Trailer?

Did We Help You decide?

If you’re looking for something that can haul like a pickup but has ample passenger space, SUVs can be the perfect solution. But each one is different and comes with different features. Ultimately, some are better than others.

Looking at these top ten SUVs can help you find the best one for your life.

Which one would you choose?

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