SUV’s offer plenty of room for passengers and cargo with a more stylish, sporty design than a minivan. There are so many parents who simply never want a minivan and an SUV can be the perfect choice for them. The many all-wheel and four-wheel drive SUV’s available offer better traction on wet or slippery roads, and make moderate off-road terrains manageable. If you are interested in a used SUV under $5,000, there are several mini- to full-sized SUV’s to consider. Here are five of the best options, everyone better than a minivan in the looks department-hands down.
Ford Explorer 2000-2001
One of the best choices for an affordable used SUV is the 2000 or 2001 Ford Explorer. The Explorer has been at the top of the SUV charts since Ford rolled the first one out in 1990, and the 2000 and 2001 continue that trend. Almost identical in appearance and performance, these two Explorers offer comfort, style, and plenty of space for passengers and cargo. If you can find an Explorer with an Eddie Bauer or Limited trim, these also feature several luxurious options that add to the comfort and style, such as leather seats and automatic climate control.
The rich interior features a large dashboard with radio controls big enough to read easily and comfortable seating. These SUV’s offer more cargo space than other vehicles in the same class. The 2001 Explorer comes with either the standard 4.0-liter SOHC V6 engine 5-speed automatic or the 5.0-liter V8 engine for heavy duty towing, and the 2000 Explorer is also available in a 4.0-liter OHV-6 engine with a manual transmission. Explorers average around 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The 2000 and 2001 Ford Explorer are solidly built, tough, and offer a truck-like ride with the convenience of comfortable seating for five passengers.
Dodge Durango 2000-2001
The 2000 and 2001 Dodge Durango are two more great choices for used SUV’s priced under $5,000. The stylishly designed Durango features seating for up to eight passengers thanks to its third row seating, with the option to fold the seats down to use some of that room for cargo space. A roof rack is standard as well, and the Durango can tow up to 7,600 pounds. The raised roof line also makes the interior comfortable as it offers plenty of headroom, and the instrument panels are simple to use and easily reachable. The 2001 Durango also offers a convenient center console with cup holders and an upgraded stereo system.
The 2000 and 2001 Dodge Durango come in several trims with a 4.7-liter V8 engine, 4 WD, and an automatic transmission, or a 5.2-liter Magnum V8, and get an average of 12 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. The high performance R/T features a 5.9-liter V8, 4WD, and automatic transmission, getting an average of 11 mpg city and 15 mpg highway.
Nissan Xterra 2000
Another of the best affordable used SUV’s is the Nissan Xterra, one of the largest offerings in the mini-SUV class of vehicles. The rugged and sporty Xterra offers seating for five passengers, or plenty of cargo space and easy to access and use instrument panels. The automatic transmission models can tow up to 5,000 pounds, and all have anti-lock brakes. The large tires make the Xterra great for off-roading adventures.
The design of the Xterra is based on Nissan’s compact truck model, the Frontier, and the Xterra shares the Frontier’s windshield, doors, and hood, along with some other features. The Nissan Xterra comes in both 2-and 4-WD, with either an automatic or a standard transmission. The 4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine XE trim gets 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. The Xterra is also available in a 3-liter V6 that gets 15 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.
Ford Expedition 2000
The Ford Expedition is a full sized SUV, sized in the middle between Ford’s smaller Explorer and larger Excursion. This affordable used SUV boasts many excellent features, including a sonar system for reverse sensing, and pedals that are power adjustable so that the driver can move the pedals closer rather than moving the seats. The Expedition comes with third row seating offered as a standard bench or, as an option, two individual seats, offering total seating capacity for up to nine passengers. The second row bench seats can be folded down for additional cargo space, as can the optional individual third row seats.
This comfortable and stylish SUV can tow up to 8,000 pounds, and it offers several safety features that are standard, including anti-lock brakes and dual airbags. The standard model offers a 4.6-liter V8 engine with a four speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. This model gets an average of 13 mpg city/18 highway. The boosted power of the 5.4-liter V8 engine gets 11 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. The Ford Expedition is available as a two-wheel drive also.
Chevrolet Tahoe 1998-1999
Chevrolet’s 1998-1999 Tahoe are nearly identical in design, with the deletion of the standard cargo net in the 1999 model and the addition of two new choices of color being the only differences. This full sized SUV is available in both two and four door designs, and boasts a stylish design. The Tahoe can tow up 7,000 pounds, and four door models can seat up to six passengers. The autotrac system, which shifts automatically between 2- wheel and 4- wheel drive as needed, is a popular option, along with several luxury and performance options. All models come with a theft deterrent system as well.
The Tahoe has a Vortec 5.7-liter V8, 255 horsepower engine, which gets 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway. Two-door LS or LT trims also come in a powerful 6.5-liter turbo diesel V8 engine that gets 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. These SUV’s offer a nice highway ride, with a truck-like feel in off-road conditions. Although large, it is a maneuverable size, and it has a lower ride height than some other SUV’s in its class. You can fit the whole family in this SUV and still have plenty of cargo space.