Best SUVs for Urban Living Under $30,000

Ok, I’m going to own my truth. I love finding a great bargain. With prices steadily creeping beyond $35,000 as the average cost of a new vehicle, I’m offering three set of wheels that fit the bill as economically attractive rides for under 30 grand.

Let the bargain shopping begin!

Ford EcoSport


Ford’s first foray into the subcompact crossover SUV space for the States is a credible effort. Smaller than pretty much all of its competitors, while it’s new to the U.S. for 2018, the Ford EcoSport has been sold pretty much around the rest of the world since 2012. Fitted with its 2.0-liter normally aspirated inline four-cylinder engine option, the diminutive Ford enjoys 166 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy could be better at 27 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway—when you consider its size. But the EcoSport rides well, is enjoyable to drive and demonstrates remarkable cargo capacity—again, considering its size. You can also equip the EcoSport quite nicely even while Ford’s required remuneration remains within the realm of reason.

​Ford EcoSport pricing starts at $20,990

Kia Niro EX

Most of us spend a lot of time in our car; much of it driving to and from work. That’s why I prefer to be poised behind the wheel of a car that gets good fuel economy, ample safety features and exudes comfort. The Kia Niro fits the bill and is an ideal daily commuter, five-seater SUV. The big bonus being that it’s EPA-rated at 51/46 mpg; 50 mpg combined. The Niro feels more like a hatchback. It’s roomy for hauling passengers, as a friend who drives for Uber pointed out.There’s also 19.4 cubic feet of space in the cargo area to add luggage or other items. All five Niro trims come with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine that’s teamed with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front wheel drive. What’s also nifty about the Niro is the 7.0-inch touchscreen with the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that comes standard. The EX version we tested and prefer, adds a sunroof, a bigger touchscreen and an advanced tech package.

Pricing for the Kia Niro starts at $22,890.

Mazda CX-5


For 2018, every Mazda CX-5 is generously outfitted with a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are now standard too, along with a rear view camera, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and 40/20/40-split rear seats that fold and recline.The Touring trim gets 19-inch wheels and a slew of leading-edge driver assists. The Grand Touring gets all of the above plus memory settings for the driver’s seat and a power-adjustable passenger seat. Power comes from a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. Cylinder-deactivation technology has been added to improve fuel economy, which is rated at 28 mpg city, 31 highway and 29 overall. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is available as an option.

Pricing for the easy to handle and fun to drive 2018 Mazda CX-5 starts at $24,150.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.JPG

Budget friendly, fuel efficient, a generous standard warranty, and a long list of standard features earns the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross a coveted spot on our list. The two row compact SUV seats five with plenty of support and comfort. Even better, the back row slides and reclines, The lengthy standard features list includes an infotainment system with a seven-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, HD Radio, a USB port, and four speakers. Meanwhile, available features include a touchpad controller, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Powering the Eclipse Cross is a 152-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, coupled with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), All-wheel drive is standard on all but the base ES trim, which is front-wheel-drive. Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Pricing starts at $22,845.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

If you’re in the market for an affordably-priced crossover SUV, that’s great for urban living—which often includes trying to squeeze into tight parallel parking spots, then you may want to consider the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. With an entry price of $20,395, this five-passenger compact crossover possesses some attractive qualities. We suggest springing for the SEL trim, which comes with leather upholstery, rain-sensing windshield wipers and power-folding side mirrors. The SEL trim also receives a more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivering 168 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, but you have the option of getting all-wheel drive, which is available on all trims. With the SEL trim, you’ll also get safety features such as lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlights.

​Pricing starts at $20,935.

Toyota C-HR

The 2018 Toyota C-HR xle, which stands for “Coupe High Rider” gets high marks for daring to be different. This swashbuckling SUV exhibits a youthful, quirky design. The C-HR will surely produce quizzical glances, but that’s what adds to this mini crossover’s millennial mystique. The fun to drive C-HR xle comes packed with a slew of safety tech, which include automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Power comes from a 144-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It’s paired with a CVT automatic transmission. Also sweetening the C-HR deal are the 18 inch wheels, heated front seats and 7 inch touchscreen display.

Starting price for the C-HR xle is $22,500.

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