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Best Used SUVs Under $15K: Reviews, Photos, and More


PUBLISHED TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2022

Style and practicality on a budget.

There are many reasons why an SUV could be the right choice for you. Maybe you have a growing family, you want a comfortable commute, or you love weekend road trips. Whatever your preferences, SUVs are consistently popular, and there are plenty of options to choose from. With a wide range of used SUVs available for under $15K, you're sure to find something that fits your needs.

To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the eight best used SUVs under $15,000 for 2022 shoppers, based on CarMax sales data and average pricing from July 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.

Please be aware that certain model years and upper trim configurations may bring the prices of some of these vehicles over $15,000.

  1. Jeep Compass

  2. TIE: Mazda CX-7 i Sport and Mazda CX-7 i SV

  3. Ford Escape XLS

  4. TIE: Chevrolet Captiva Sport LT and Chevrolet Captiva Sport LS

  5. Ford Escape XLT

5. Jeep Compass

For the adventurous road-tripper, the Jeep Compass is a strong choice. Its 4WD off-road capability is excellent across all model years, and the plush interiors ensure comfort even on bumpy terrain. The Compass was fully redesigned for 2017, improving its look and its infotainment system, among other things. 2019 ushered in the addition of adaptive cruise control and the available High Altitude package, which includes 19-inch alloys and full LED lights. More recent models of the Jeep Compass (2020 onward) continue to prioritize comfort and user-friendly features, making it a consistently fun SUV.

Standard features of the 2017-2021 Jeep Compass include:

  • Four-wheel drive

  • Brake assist

  • Six-way adjustable front seats

Continue your Jeep Compass research to learn more.

4. TIE: Mazda CX-7 i Sport and Mazda CX-7 i SV

Smart, stylish, and sporty—the Mazda CX-7 has something for everyone. The i SV and i Sport trims were available from 2010 through 2012, when the CX-7 was discontinued. The strongest features of the CX-7 are its style and comfort. The latter in particular is something the 2010-2012 i Sport has plenty of, with optional heated front seats and a power driver's seat. Both trims have a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and get an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined on all 2010-2011 models.

For a small family or couple, the Mazda CX-7 is ideal.

Other features of the 2010-2012 Mazda CX-7 i Sport and i SV include:

  • Cruise control

  • Optional backup camera

  • Rollover protection system

Find more Mazda CX-7 research to help you decide.

3. Ford Escape XLS

The Ford Escape is a rugged SUV known for its spacious interior and user-friendly tech features. The XLS trim formed the blueprint for this vehicle between 2010 and 2012. This trim is available in FWD or AWD (2010-2011 models) and offers 171 hp from its 2.5L four-cylinder engine. Cargo volume for the 2010-2012 XLS with the rear seats folded is 67.2 cu ft, allowing plenty of space for luggage or shopping bags; there's also a generous 41.6 inches of front legroom. In 2011, Ford's MyKey® became a standard feature on the base XLS trim, allowing the driver to set volume and speed limits—especially handy for teen drivers.

Additional features of the 2010-2012 Ford Escape XLS include:

  • Variable-speed intermittent wipers

  • Four-speaker stereo system

  • Estimated 3,500-lb. towing capacity with the 2.5L engine, when properly equipped

Learn more at our Ford Escape XLS research page.

2. TIE: Chevrolet Captiva Sport LT and Chevrolet Captiva Sport LS

In 2011, the Chevrolet Captiva Sport was introduced strictly for fleet customers, but individual buyers have since been able to acquire used models of this versatile SUV. Before it was discontinued in the US in 2014, the Captiva Sport was available in FWD or AWD (the latter was dropped in 2013). Both the LT and LS trims include the StabiliTrak® stability control system for a smooth and controlled ride, Bluetooth® capability, and keyless entry. The LT model adds to that list rain-sensing windshield wipers and an eight-way power driver's seat, among other perks. A solid SUV with a sharp image, the Chevrolet Captiva Sport is a great choice for any lifestyle.

Additional features of the 2011-2014 Chevrolet Captiva Sport LT and LS include:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission

  • 17-inch alloy wheels

  • Optional rear park assist

Dive into more Chevrolet Captiva research today.

1. Ford Escape XLT

Taking the top spot on our list is the Ford Escape XLT (the next trim up from the XLS), which was produced between 2010 and 2012. The XLT opens up availability for a V6 engine with 240 hp and introduces other luxurious touches, like a power-adjustable driver's seat and leather-wrapped steering wheel. It expands the skill set of the Escape to include long, comfortable journeys with plenty of grunt under the hood, on top of everyday tasks like commuting, shopping, and fun days out. The 2010-2012 XLT also adds audio controls to the steering wheel, creating greater ease and comfort.

Other features of the 2010-2012 Ford Escape XLT include:

  • Auto-off headlights

  • Luggage rack

  • Optional heated mirrors

An SUV can accommodate your whole crew for the daily commute as well as weekend adventures. Whether your priorities lie with comfort, space, or power, there's an SUV for you on this list.

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* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.