Value is first and foremost in the minds of many family vehicle shoppers, but that doesn't mean that each buyer is searching for the same feature set when they set out to purchase a new ride. Given the breadth of the sport-utility vehicle marketplace it seems only natural that certain models would excel in a particular area while others shine at the opposite side of the spectrum. Value is also not a synonym for 'cheap,' and buyers are more than willing to spend what they have to spend to get the perfect automobile for their needs.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best value SUVs for 2013.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 01 - 2012 Hyundai Veracruz
It might seem a bit weird that the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz is occupying the first spot on a list of the best value SUVs for 2013, but there's a method to our madness. With no 2013 model on the horizon, Hyundai dealers are clearing out the Veracruz at very affordable prices, which makes the mid-size, three-row SUV an appealing option for bargain hunters. It also doesn't hurt that the Veracruz comes with a 260 horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 as standard equipment and can also be ordered with optional all-wheel drive to help get all seven passengers through whatever rough weather might be thrown its way.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 02 - 2013 Kia Sportage
The 2013 Kia Sportage is a great-looking compact SUV that starts at under $20,000. That price undoubtedly grabs the attention of anyone seeking more space than they can find in the compact hatchback segment, and the 54.6 cubic feet of total cargo carrying capacity offered by the Kia Sportage is definitely generous. A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine offers 176 horsepower, while paying a bit more for the sporty SX trim introduces a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill good for 260 horses. All-wheel drive is available with either engine, and while a six-speed manual transmission is offered with the base model a six-speed auto handles the shifting duties for all other editions of the SUV.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 03 - 2013 Toyota Highlander
The 2013 Toyota Highlander isn't exactly cheap, especially considering that the base four-cylinder model is priced at just below $30,000. What the Toyota Highlander brings to the table from a value perspective, however, is standard three-row seating, handling that is more reminiscent of a sedan than a truck, and a spacious interior that has been designed for easy access even to the very rear of the vehicle. The Highlander's 187 horsepower base motor also delivers 25-mpg during highway cruising thanks in part to its standard six-speed automatic transmission, although buyers will have to step up to the more expensive V-6 in order to benefit from all-wheel drive.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 04 - 2013 Mazda CX-5
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is another affordable compact SUV, but this one makes a special play for enthusiasts by way of a chassis that has far more performance to offer than the typical family conveyance. The Mazda CX-5 is legitimately fun to drive in a way that few other compact sport-utility vehicles are, and it manages to achieve this spring in its step without asking buyers to shell out large sums of cash. Sticking with the affordable base trim and front-wheel drive is the most wallet-friendly way to enjoy the CX-5, and while all versions of the crossover come with the same 2.0-liter, 155 horsepower four-cylinder engine, only those that don't come with all-wheel drive can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 05 - 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox has quietly developed a strong following amongst entry-level SUV buyers thanks to the almost-mid-size dimensions of its cabin. This includes a sliding rear seat that helps the Chevrolet Equinox accommodate either longer-limbed passengers or a larger cargo load. Fold that back seat down and 63.7 cubic feet of total room for hauling gear opens up. The 2013 model also comes with a new 3.6-liter, 301 horsepower V-6 in higher trim levels that significantly upgrades its performance, although the fuel economy of the SUV's 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter unit (22-mpg city and 32-mpg highway) is also quite impressive.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 06 - 2013 Dodge Journey
The 2013 Dodge Journey tops most other SUVs in the mid-size class due to its six-passenger seating. The Dodge Journey is definitely the most affordable way to enjoy three rows of accommodations without having to step up to a larger vehicle, and its macho styling is best enjoyed when ordered with its own 3.6-liter, 283 horsepower engine and standard six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle's 173 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder mill might be cheaper, but its ancient four-speed autobox and rough-around-the-edges feel don't do the SUV justice. All-wheel drive is also restricted to the V-6 edition of the Journey.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 07 - 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan lets drivers sample German engineering at a price point that is well within the reach of most families. The Volkswagen Tiguan is also a notable value due to the smooth, car-like ride that it has to offer - a driving experience not unlike that of the smaller VW Golf hatchback on which the SUV is based. That impression is reinforced by the vehicle's standard 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that grinds out 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, numbers that give the Tiguan appreciable acceleration. All-wheel drive can be had with the VW SUV, and buyers can also choose between either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 08 - 2013 Subaru Forester
The 2013 Subaru Forester is the only SUV on this list that comes with all-wheel drive as one of its free-of-charge features. All-wheel drive has long been a Subaru trademark, and the Forester puts it to good use in providing snowbound northern residents with a reliable traction advantage in inclement weather. The Subaru Forester is about to be replaced by a redesigned model for 2013, so the deals are out there as inventory gets moved to make space across the country. The SUV's base 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine is good for 170 horsepower, while the turbocharged XT pumps up output to 224 ponies and 226 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 09 - 2013 Toyota RAV4
The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a compact SUV that, well, stretches the definition of its size descriptor. The Toyota RAV4 is notable for having been refreshed for the current model year, and while it loses its optional third row of seating and its V-6 engine, it gains more trunk space (38.4 cubic feet) and it still stands tall as perhaps the most cargo-capable small SUV on the market (with a total capacity of 73.3 cubic feet). A six-speed automatic joins the party as the Toyota's sole gearbox option, and the vehicle's 2.5-liter, four-cylinder mill also turns in 31-mpg during highway driving.
Best Value SUVs for 2013 - 10 - 2013 Jeep Wrangler
The 2013 Jeep Wrangler is by far the most inexpensive gateway to serious off-roading on the market. The Jeep Wrangler delivers a small SUV footprint backed by maximum ruggedness, and it features a full-frame design, solid axles front and rear, and even a roof that can be lifted off for convertible fun. Four-wheel drive is standard - as is low-range gearing - and the Rubicon model adds an even more capable four-wheel drive system for those looking to go rock crawling. Power is derived from a 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 285 horses, and transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic.