Affordable SUVs are the default family vehicles of choice these days, as it's hard to beat their combination of price, practicality, and comfort. You can find an affordable SUV in almost any size that you might need, but most of the least expensive editions tend to fall into the compact and mid-size segments. This means you can even get three rows of seating and a heaping helping of cargo space without have to spend a lot of cash, if that's what will best satisfy your daily driving needs.
Let's take a quick look at 10 affordable SUVs and see what they have to offer for the money.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 01 - 2014 Ford Escape
Coming off of a complete redesign for 2013, the 2014 Ford Escape continues to offer respectable fuel mileage and substantial practicality in a compact package. The Ford Escape might only feature two rows of seating, but the trade-off is 34.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear bench - a figure that doubles to a healthy 68.1 cubic feet with the back seat folded forward. The Escape is available with optional all-wheel as well as three four-cylinder engines, including a base 2.5-liter (168 horsepower) and two turbocharged EcoBoost units displacing 1.6-liters (178 horsepower) and 2.0-liters (240 horsepower) respectively. In real world driving, the base engine's 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway are matched by the pricier 1.6-liter, which makes it the better buy for those who don't need the 2.0-liter unit's power.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 02 - 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan is an intriguing affordable SUV option for anyone who can restrain themselves from delving too deep into the options list. All versions of the Volkswagen Tiguan avail themselves of the same engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. 4MOTION all-wheel drive is an extra, and so are the R-Line trim's slick body kit, wheels, and stiffer suspension. The base model, however, delivers seating for five along with a relatively peppy ride and 26-mpg on the highway. There's 56.1 cubic feet of cargo space in total to be found inside the Tiguan.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 03 - 2014 Honda CR-V
The 2014 Honda CR-V is a mainstay of the compact SUV market, and you only have to spend a short time behind the wheel of this people mover to understand why. Reliable and roomy, the Honda CR-V might not be the most dynamically interesting vehicle to drive but it's certainly comfortable. The CR-V is also relatively efficient thanks to the decision to stick with the brand's trusted and true 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for the SUV checks in at 23-mpg city and 31-mpg on the highway. An available all-wheel drive system (that shifts torque to the rear wheels exclusively when a loss of traction up front is detected) can be installed on the Honda, which seats five and can house an enormous 70.9 cubic feet with the rear row out of the picture.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 04 - 2014 Mazda CX-5
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 stands in stark contrast to the Honda CR-V from a driving dynamics perspective. Whereas the Honda is staid, the Mazda CX-5 can legitimately be said to have a fun personality once the road turns twisty. Helping to keep a smile on your face is the Mazda's array of Skyactiv four-cylinder engines, each of which as been tuned to return maximum fuel mileage. The 155 horsepower, 2.0-liter entry-level unit provides plenty of grunt for budget-conscious buyers, and its 26-mpg city and 35-mpg highway puts it ahead of its 184 horsepower, 2.5-liter sibling - but just barely. Five passenger seating and 65 cubic feet of total space for storing luggage are standard with the Mazda, while all-wheel drive is optional.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 05 - 2014 Jeep Cherokee
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is an all-new effort from the brand more known for off-road exploits than comfortable urban cruising. The Jeep Cherokee changes all of that by replacing last year's lackluster Liberty with a dramatically-styled, and fully modernized compact SUV that features the industry's first nine-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox helps the Cherokee post fuel mileage figures of 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway when ordered with its 184 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. For those looking to spend a bit more money, there's also a 271 horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 available, along with a pair of four-wheel drive systems, and the rugged Trailhawk model.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 06 - 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid
The 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid is a battery-assisted SUV that manages to balance engaging handling with above-average fuel economy, which is a rarity in its class. Each Ford C-Max Hybrid is motivated by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with a single electric motor in order to produce 188 horsepower. Around town the C-Max returns 45-mpg, and on the highway it offers a still-impressive 40-mpg. Even better: the Ford's plus-size interior gives it room for five passengers for 52.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which is generous for a compact hybrid vehicle.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 07 - 2014 Hyundai Tucson
The 2014 Hyundai Tucson provides affordable SUV shoppers with an urban runabout that's small on the outside but surprisingly useful once you open the driver's door. More of a tall hatchback than a true SUV - at least when it comes to its driving experience - the Hyundai Tucson still provides 55.8 cubic feet of cargo space when you need to haul oversized items. 23-mpg in city driving and 29-mpg on the highway are on tap from the Tucson's 164 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and there's the option of upgrading to a 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder mill. All-wheel drive is available with either motor.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 08 - 2014 Nissan Rogue
The 2014 Nissan Rogue is another clean slate design on our list of affordable SUVs, as the vehicle gains much improved styling as well as an optional third row of seating for the current model year. The Nissan Rogue also picks up a few more miles per gallon, too, although not because of any engine changes: last year's 2.5-liter, 170 horsepower four-cylinder engine is still the only lump offered with the vehicle. Instead, the Rogue's continuously-variable automatic transmission has been re-tuned for better efficiency, leading to a final rating of 26-mpg city and 33-mpg highway when found in front-wheel drive form (all-wheel drive is optional). In addition to its up-to-seven passenger seating, the Nissan also boasts 70 cubic feet of interior storage space.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 09 - 2014 Mazda CX-9
The 2014 Mazda CX-9 bottles up as much of the compact CX-5's handling prowess as it can and unleashes it across a seven-passenger mid-size effort. The Mazda CX-9 is quite successful at out-performing several of its similarly-priced rivals, and not only does it have a pleasing chassis but it's also got the power needed to back it up. The CX-9's standard 3.7-liter V-6 pushes out 273 horsepower, sent to either the front or all four wheels if optional all-wheel drive is ordered. 101 cubic feet of total cargo space make the Mazda truly massive from a hauling perspective, and fuel economy for the SUV is listed at 17-mpg city and 24-mpg highway.
10 Affordable SUVs for 2014 - 10 - 2014 Ford Edge
The 2014 Ford Edge sneaks onto our list for its high tech quotient (available MyFord Touch system, SYNC, forward collision warning), along with its sleek looks and 69 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear row folded forward. We're not going to discuss the Ford Edge Sport trim, as that performance model is a bit out of the price scope of this article, but the base Edge's 3.5-liter V-6 packs a 285 horsepower punch. There's even an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that can be had with the SUV, which delivers 240 horsepower along with 21-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. All-wheel drive isn't offered with the EcoBoost model, but you can get it with the V-6.