Looking for a good SUV for under $5,000 can be a bit tricky, although far from impossible. It's necessary to buy a model that's at least seven years old. You'll also probably need to choose a used SUV that's a basic model without upgraded options. Still, there are plenty of good SUV's out there for under $5,000 that offer fuel economy, style and good performance without breaking the bank.
The Mazda Tribute (2002-2003) is a compact model similar to the Ford Escape that offers a smooth ride, good handling, a V6 engine and an excellent value. The roomy Tribute is both stylish and practical and a popular compact SUV. This is a good all-around vehicle that gives you the power and room you look for in a SUV paired with a low, affordable price.
The Nissan Xterra (2002) is not the best on-road vehicle, although it's off-road experience is one of the best. The Xtera is well build and reliable, making it one of the best off-roading SUVs in this price range. It's also an excellent used vehicle because of the reliability, meaning you'll still get many years of use out of the Xterra.
The Hyundai Santa Fe (2002-2003) is a midsize crossover that remains a good choice for anyone that needs a vehicle with SUV functionality and a sporty ride combined with great handling and good fuel economy. The Santa Fe is one of the most fuel economic SUVs in this price range and offers a comfortable and car-like sporty ride. This model is also very affordable, starting as low as $4,600.
The Chevrolet Tahoe (1999-2001) is consistently in the top picks for Edmunds Most Wanted awards for full-size SUVs. This full-size SUV is comfortable and stylish, although the large size may be too much to handle for some people. Still, Chevrolet is the number one maker of large, full-size SUVs and this model fits between Ford's Expedition and the Excursion. The Tahoe is capable and reliable, giving you the space you need for almost any job. The ride is also very sporty and comfortable, making the Tahoe the best choice in this price range if you want a large SUV.