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8 Great CPO SUVs Under $20,000

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

If you're finding that new SUVs are just a little out of your budget, don't worry: Our latest list is perfect for you. We've rounded up eight of our favorite certified pre-owned SUVs that you can buy today for a budget-friendly $20,000. Best of all, each vehicle on our list is backed by an excellent manufacturer CPO warranty, which means that they offer several years of warranty coverage in addition to their low prices.

Chevrolet Equinox

Although we aren't especially fond of the first-generation Chevrolet Equinox, which was offered through 2009, the second-generation model, which came out in 2010 and is still around today, is an excellent used-car bargain. For one thing, it's easy to find, with nearly 2,000 certified pre-owned models currently available on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less. The Equinox also boasts a long list of other features that we like, ranging from modern styling to two excellent powertrain choices: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that returns an impressive 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway or a powerful 3.6-liter V6 that boasts 264 horsepower and 222 lb-ft of torque. We especially suggest the 2LT or LTZ models, each of which offers luxury-car levels of standard equipment in a compact-SUV wrapper.

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GMC Acadia

Although you may find it hard to believe given the Acadia's pricey starting MSRP, used versions of GMC's popular midsize SUV are available for around $20,000 with a certified pre-owned warranty. This is good news for shoppers interested in a 3-row family hauler, since the Acadia boasts a surprisingly comfortable third-row seat and room for the whole family. The Acadia also offers a lot more than that, with benefits ranging from a powerful 288-hp V6 engine and a wide range of standard safety features to the upscale image associated with the premium GMC brand name. If you can, go for an SLE model to get a power lift gate, remote engine starting, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and a backup camera.

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Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is an easy choice for any list of highly competent, budget-friendly SUVs. No, there's no third row, and the 2007-2011 CR-V didn't offer a muscular V6 engine like its Toyota RAV4 rival did, but the CR-V boasts a no-nonsense approach to the compact crossover with a simple interior, legendary durability and some of the best reliability in the industry. It also offers good fuel economy of up to 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy and a wide range of standard features, especially if you go with an EX model, which includes alloy wheels, a power sunroof, audio controls on the steering wheel and a CD player. Best of all, the CR-V is easy to find, with more than 1,900 examples with a CPO warranty currently listed on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less.

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Nissan Xterra

If you're interested in a budget-friendly SUV with serious off-road capabilities, you might want to consider a certified pre-owned Nissan Xterra. We'll warn you right now: The Xterra is neither comfortable nor luxurious, and it's not particularly fuel efficient either, but it does offer bold styling, go-anywhere capabilities and room for five passengers. It also boasts a muscular V6 that makes an impressive 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. If you do go for an Xterra, we suggest the off-road-oriented PRO-4X model, which boasts a wide range of heavy-duty trail-tackling equipment. For shoppers who don't need all of that, a more pavement-friendly, car-based SUV might be a better decision.

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Subaru Outback

One of our favorite certified pre-owned SUVs available for under $20,000 is hardly an SUV at all. The Subaru Outback combines SUV characteristics such as standard all-wheel drive, raised ground clearance and a high seating position with a carlike ride and excellent gas mileage. With more than 250 certified pre-owned Outback models on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less, the popular wagon shouldn't be hard to find, though we suggest narrowing your search to a 4-cylinder Premium model. With the 4-cylinder engine, you'll get adequate power without compromising fuel economy, and if you choose a Premium trim level, you'll get a wide range of desirable features such as alloy wheels, Bluetooth, a power driver's seat and keyless entry.

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Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is an excellent compact crossover that offers just about anything you could need -- or want -- from a well-priced modern SUV. If you're looking for fuel economy, the 2006-2012 RAV4 certainly offers that, with its base-level 4-cylinder returning up to 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy. If it's power you want, the RAV4 has that, too. Its V6 versions made a brawny 270 hp and could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 7 seconds. For practicality, the RAV4 offered an available third-row seat, though it can be tough to find on the used market. And as for availability, don't worry: There are currently more than 2,000 certified pre-owned RAV4 models on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less.

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Toyota Venza

There are currently almost 500 different Toyota Venza models available on AutoTrader.com with a certified pre-owned warranty for around $20,000 or less. This is great news for shoppers interested in reliable, comfortable family transport, as the Venza boasts 5-passenger seating and available 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6 engines. The Venza also offers more style than you'll find in a traditional Toyota SUV, along with a sportier demeanor -- not to mention a wide range of standard features that includes a power tailgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights and a power driver's seat. Our advice: Go for the V6, which offers a lot more power than the standard 4-cylinder and a very slight difference in fuel economy.

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Volkswagen Tiguan

Although the Volkswagen Tiguan can be pricey when bought new, certified pre-owned models offer a great deal to shoppers interested in combining a German-made driving experience with a comprehensive warranty. With nearly 500 Tiguan models available on AutoTrader.com for around $22,000 or less, it shouldn't be hard to find a certified pre-owned Tiguan. If you opt for an upscale SEL model, you'll get luxury amenities such as rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control and adaptive bi-xenon headlights. The Tiguan also boasts an excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which offers a surprisingly peppy 200 hp and fuel economy that reaches as high as 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

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RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT
Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
$18,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LS
Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
$13,650
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT
Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
$16,650
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT
Used 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
$16,350
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.
8 Great CPO SUVs Under $20,000 - Autotrader