It seems like every time you look there are more and more SUVs on the market, and the luxury SUV segment is no different. That means if you’re looking for a vehicle on a budget, you have lots of choice. Our list of 10 luxury SUVs under $30,000 includes five new vehicles (including some that might not traditionally be considered luxury SUVs) and five used vehicles (including some that are only a year old). Whether you’re looking for something sporty or comfortable, we’ve got you covered, so why not let us help you narrow down the field? Read on to discover some of our favorite SUVs that cost less than $30,000.
10 Top Luxury SUVs Under $30,000
Photo Credit: Buick
2017 Buick Encore
The 2017 Buick Encore is a subcompact near-luxury crossover suv with a starting MSRP of $22,990. Base models aren’t all that luxurious, but the Essence trim level starts at $29,990 (or $31,490 with all-wheel drive) and includes leather-appointed seats, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. You also get a Buick’s QuietTuning, which makes use of an acoustic-laminated windshield and front side glass, triple door seals and active noise control to keep noise out of the interior. Its small size means that the Encore is a bit snug inside, especially in the cargo area, but it is easy to park, and while performance is a bit sluggish, fuel economy is reasonable.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
2017 Infiniti QX30
The compact 2017 Infiniti QX30 just barely squeaks onto our list of 10 luxury suvs under $30,000 thanks to its starting MSRP of $29,950. Unfortunately, with our budget, that means you won’t be able to afford any extras, such as all-wheel drive, navigation, leather trim, or a fancy stereo system. What you do get are an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and driver’s side outside mirror, a dual-zone automatic temperature control system, Graphite Fibretec-appointed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 6-speaker audio system. You also get the same engine as more expensive models, making the QX30 quick and quite fun to drive, though the cabin can be a bit noisy on the highway.
Photo Credit: Mazda
2017 Mazda CX-5
The compact 2017 Mazda CX-5 isn’t a luxury suv per se, but with a starting MSRP of $24,045 for the base model, you can afford to add a few options. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring trim starts at $29,395 in front-wheel drive ($1,300 more for all-wheel drive) and includes leather-trimmed seating with heated front seats, a glass moonroof, a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, a dual-zone climate control system with pollen filter, and a Bose 10-speaker audio system. The CX-5 could use a more powerful engine, as the current unit is neither quick nor all that economical, but what makes it really stand out is its combination of a well-controlled ride and handling that could make some sedans jealous.
Photo Credit: Ford
2017 Ford Escape
The compact 2017 Ford Escape probably isn’t the first SUV you think of when you think luxury, and the base model, with its MSRP of $23,750, reflects that. The $29,250 Titanium trim, on the other hand, earns a spot on our list of 10 luxury suvs under $30,000 with its leather-trimmed heated front seats, 10-speaker Sony audio system, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, foot-activated power liftgate, and windshield wiper de-icer. With incentives, you can afford to add all-wheel drive (a $1,750 option) and the 301A equipment group (which includes rain-sensing wipers and a lane-keeping system). The Escape is one of the better handling compact SUVs, and also one of the quickest when equipped with the optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.
Photo Credit: Jeep
2017 Jeep Cherokee
Starting at $23,695, the base model of the mid-size 2017 Jeep Cherokee isn’t all that luxurious, but if you step up to the Limited trim for $29,495 ($2,000 more for a 4x4 model) you have a model that earns a spot on our list of 10 luxury suvs under $30,000. Don’t be fooled by the Jeep name, most Cherokees (other than a few specific trims) aren’t especially capable off-road, but the ride is quite good and all-wheel drive models should handle any weather condition with ease. The Limited trim includes a fair number of standard features, and with incentives you can also afford to add the Luxury Group or the Technology Group, but probably not both.
Photo Credit: BMW
2016 BMW X1
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find a new BMW X1 for under $30,000, but you should be able to find a nice 2016 model (and maybe even a used 2017 model) within our budget. Unlike most other BMWs, the X1 uses a front-wheel drive based transverse engine layout, yet it still has the brisk acceleration and sporty handling associated with the brand, though with a ride that is quite firm and some understeer at the limit. Despite being classified as a compact SUV, the X1 has a surprisingly commodious interior, with plenty of cargo and storage room even when fully loaded. If you’re looking for a luxury suv under $30,000 and are willing to buy used, the X1 is worth your consideration.
Photo Credit: Acura
2016 Acura RDX
While a new Acura RDX is too expensive for our list of 10 luxury suvs under $30,000, a slightly-used 2016 version of the compact crossover can be had within our budget. Handling isn’t particularly sporty and the ride is a bit stiff, but the engine is powerful and provides decent fuel economy. Inside, the materials are nice, the seats are comfortable, and there’s plenty of passenger space and cargo room (especially with the rear seats folded), though the controls are somewhat convoluted and hard to get used to. Overall, the RDX is well put together, and thanks to its long list of standard features, it provides good value for the money, whether purchased new or used.
Photo Credit: Lexus
2016 Lexus RX
Though an updated version of the mid-size Lexus RX was introduced in 2016 with an aggressively attractive exterior, unfortunately, only previous-generation models with their somewhat bland styling are available within our $30,000 budget. Like most Lexus models, the mid-size RX’s suspension is tuned more for a good ride than sporty handling, and the engine is very smooth (and also fairly quick). Inside, materials are nice, the seats are comfortable, and there is more than enough room for both passengers and cargo alike. If you’re looking for a luxury suv under $30,000 and care more about comfort than performance, brash styling, or brand prestige, then the Lexus RX should serve you well for years to come.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLK
Though the compact Mercedes-Benz GLK was replaced by the GLC for the 2016 model year, in many ways the older version is just as good, and you should be able to pick up a 2015 model within our $30,000 budget. The GLK has a very nice interior with high quality materials, though cargo and passenger space are at a premium and the rear seats can be hard to access. Performance is good with the gasoline engine (and the diesel is economical), and the GLK features an excellent compromise between ride and handling. Many of the most desirable features were optional on the GLK, so when searching for a used model, be sure that it is equipped the way you want.
Photo Credit: Porsche
2012-2013 Porsche Cayenne
If you’re looking for one of the sportiest SUVs out there for less than $30,000, then the midsize 2012 to 2013 Porsche Cayenne should be on your shortlist. At this price, you won’t be able to find one of the Turbo models, but you may be able to find a V8-powered Cayenne S. No matter which model you choose, you will get an excellent handling SUV with a comfortable and composed ride, an interior that uses nice materials and has adequate space and plenty of storage, and all the prestige that comes with the Porsche badge. The only real downside to this choice is that owning a 5-year-old Porsche has the potential to be an expensive proposition.