3. Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep is the original SUV, and the Wrangler continues that off-road heritage. While the base model might only seat five, that doesn’t mean you won’t love this extremely capable vehicle. And if you can’t decide if you can’t decide between a truck vs SUV, this straddles both categories.


It delivers almost 300 HP from its 3.6-liter V6. If you need a bit more space, upgrade to the 4-door model. Both share the same off-road DNA and are extremely capable wherever you might decide to roam. With a price tag of under $25,000, you really can’t afford not to consider this option as the best bang for your buck SUV under 30,000.

4. Jeep Cherokee

The Cherokee was removed from Jeep’s lineup a couple of years back, but now it’s been completely redesigned for 2015. Replacing the ill-fated Liberty, the new Cherokee combines European good looks with some of the best of today’s automotive technology (think automated parking, lane assist and adaptive cruise control).

The best part? It starts at just $24,000, so you can easily add all the extras you want without going over $30,000. It’s one of the best affordable SUVs out today.

5. Ford Flex

Want something a bit sleeker than the Wrangler, but without the limited space of the Encore? Then the Ford Flex might be the SUV for you. Priced at $29,100, it just slides in under that $30,000 price tag, and you’ll find that it delivers quite a few benefits.


The V6 engine puts out almost 300 horsepower, and you’ll see 25 MPG on the highway (18 MPG in town). If you feel like spending a little more (well, a lot more, actually), you can buy the EcoBoost model and green up your ride. However, the base model is more than competent, with most of the tech and features you want.

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