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6 Great Used Compact SUVs for Under $10,000

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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD Limited
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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD XLS
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Used 2012 Ford Escape FWD XLS
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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD Limited
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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2015

Compact SUVs have become highly popular in recent years thanks to their above-the-road driving positions, good fuel economy and city-friendly dimensions. And as the earliest, small SUV models have started to age, more and more choices are available to drivers on a tight budget. To show you what we mean, we've rounded up six of our favorite used small SUVs that you can now buy for around $10,000 or less.

2005-2009 Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox straddles the line between a compact crossover and a midsize vehicle, managing to offer the best of both worlds. Gas mileage is a compact SUVlike 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, which is surprisingly strong when you consider that the Equinox comes standard with a V6 and an automatic transmission. But interior volume is more like that of a midsize SUV, with an especially large back seat and cargo area. We especially recommend the midlevel 2LT model, which adds some convenient features such as a power driver's seat, steering-wheel audio controls and a remote starter. But just about any 2005-2009 Equinox is a good buy, especially considering the average asking price of around $9,000 on Autotrader.

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2008-2012 Ford Escape

The 2008-2012 Ford Escape represents the ultimate iteration of the model's first-generation version, which touted blocky styling, a no-nonsense interior, excellent durability and strong gas mileage numbers that reached as high as 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with the standard 4-cylinder engine. While you'll have to choose an early model to fit into our budget (the average 2008 Escape is listed for exactly $10,000 on Autotrader), even base-level Escape models came standard with side-curtain airbags, traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes. But we recommend a midlevel XLT, as it offers several additional convenience features -- including automatic headlights, a power driver's seat and Ford's parent-friendly MyKey technology -- for little extra money.

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2002-2006 Honda CR-V

Although even the newest versions of the second-generation Honda CR-V are now 10 years old, the crossover still has a lot to offer for shoppers interested in compact SUVs on a tight budget. We say that because the average asking price for a 2002-2006 CR-V on Autotrader is just $8,100, which places it well below the top of our budget -- but the SUV includes a lot of impressive benefits, such as an efficient 4-cylinder engine that returns 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy, nimble handling and Honda reliability. Side-curtain airbags became standard in 2005, so we especially recommend a 2005 or a 2006 model.

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2008-2009 Saturn VUE

While your initial reaction may be to shy away from the now-discontinued Saturn brand due to uncertain parts supply, we think you should change your mind about the 2008-2009 VUE. The reason being: The VUE was later renamed the Chevrolet Captiva Sport, and it's still in production -- and that means parts should be easy to come by. The 2008-2009 VUE is also well-priced, with an average asking price on Autotrader of just $9,400 -- and it boasts a lot of major benefits, including an optional 257-horsepower V6, fuel economy ratings of up to 19 mpg city/22 mpg hwy and available features such as heated leather upholstery, a navigation system and automatic wipers.

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2005-2009 Subaru Outback

Although you might not think of the Subaru Outback as an SUV, we think you should reconsider -- especially since it offers standard all-wheel drive, SUVlike cargo capacity and raised ground clearance compared to a traditional Legacy wagon. The 2005-2009 Outback also offers a few other benefits that should earn it a spot on your shopping list, including fuel economy ratings of up to 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy and surprisingly plush available features, including dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and a dual-panel sunroof in Limited and L.L. Bean Edition models. If you're interested, a 2005-2009 Outback is available on Autotrader for an average price of around $10,300.

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2001-2005 Toyota RAV4

The second-generation Toyota RAV4 offered smaller dimensions than today's model. It also offered front- or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions and fuel economy figures that reach as high as 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy. Of course, any RAV4 also has the benefit of Toyota's legendary reliability. Icing on the cake is the fact that a 2001-2005 RAV4 is available on Autotrader for an average price of just $7,500, which is far below our budgetary constraint.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD Limited
Used 2012 Ford Escape
$10,683
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD XLS
Used 2012 Ford Escape
$10,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2012 Ford Escape FWD XLS
Used 2012 Ford Escape
$9,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2012 Ford Escape 4WD Limited
Used 2012 Ford Escape
$12,998
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
6 Great Used Compact SUVs for Under $10,000 - Autotrader