Midsize SUVs hit a sweet spot in the market, with just the right amount of space for the people in your life and their gear without being cumbersome to drive and park, grossly inefficient, or exceedingly expensive. Whether you’re looking for a hybrid family SUV, a more premium option, or even something with burly V8 power, there’s a vehicle for you on this list.
1. 2017 Toyota Highlander
Whether you’re looking for a standard 2017 Toyota
Highlander or its Hybrid variant, you’ll have a great selection to choose from on a $25,000 budget, including the higher-end XLE and SE trims on non-hybrid models and the LE and XLE trims on hybrids. The family-oriented Highlander is efficient in its base 4-cylinder form, but if you live in a snowy weather state, look for non-hybrid models equipped with the 295-horsepower V6 engine and all-wheel drive; hybrids get 306 horsepower and standard AWD.
2. 2018 Honda Pilot
The 2018 Honda
Pilot offers seating for up to eight, a sleek exterior, and friendly car-like driving manners. The only engine offered is a 280-horsepower V6, with AWD definitely available on our budget at a cost of only one mpg city/highway compared to front-wheel drive. The very nicely equipped, leather-upholstered Pilot EX-L should be within reach of our budget, with the upper-spec Touring trim potentially available in some areas.
3. 2019 Mazda CX-9
Stylish, upscale, and fun-to-drive, the 2019 Mazda
CX-9 is a midsize 3-row SUV with seating for seven and a punchy 227-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Our budget affords your choice of FWD or AWD in the base Sport or midlevel Touring trims. The Touring trim is the best choice for our money, provided you can find a good example, with a power liftgate, leather trim, heated/powered front seats, smartphone integration, and more. You should also be able to find the Grand Touring and stay within your budget.
4. 2019 Subaru Outback
If you’re shopping for a used midsize SUV under $25,000, we highly recommend you look at the 2019 Subaru
Outback. With wagon heritage and drivability plus SUV capability, the Outback easily serves the same purpose as a 2-row midsize SUV. This vehicle is known for its excellent reliability, high resale value, and top-notch safety scores and standard safety features. In this price range, you should be able to find an upscale Limited or Touring.
5. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
Still nearly new, the 2020 Hyundai
Santa Fe’s quiet cabin, robust standard feature set, excellent warranty, and solid gas mileage make it a great all-around value pick on a $25,000 budget. The base SE is nice, but the SEL and Limited trims are also available with your choice of the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder base engine or the 2.0-liter turbocharged upgraded engine.
6. 2018 Buick Enclave
If comfort is your game, the 2018 Buick Enclave is the name of your next SUV. Large, with an adult-friendly third-row seat, the Enclave’s main focus is helping you take things nice and easy. Based on the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price on this year of the Enclave, you should be able to find every trim level for less than $25,000. While all trim levels are well-equipped, the Enclave Premium has heated and cooled front seats, Bose audio, and forward collision warning. The top-of-the-line Avenir adds even more, including a surround-view camera and heated second-row seats.
7. 2020 Nissan Murano
The 2020 Nissan
Murano is one of the most refined choices on this list, with sedan-like ride quality, a premium cabin, and very comfortable seats. The Murano also gets a standard 260-horsepower V6 engine, smartphone integration, and, in the SV trim that best suits our budget, rear parking sensors, a power driver’s seat, advanced safety features, and roof rails.
8. 2019 Chevrolet Blazer
Camaro-inspired styling and a spacious 5-passenger interior make the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer attractive on multiple levels, especially once you option it up to 2LT or 3LT trim levels, with features like a 308-horsepower V6 engine, leather upholstery, heated front seats, parking sensors, and upgraded safety systems available.
9. 2016 Dodge Durango
The 2016 Dodge Durango is an outlier on this list because it’s available with a V8 engine on a $25,000 budget. The base 290-horsepower V6 is nothing to sniff at if you don’t need the 7,400-pound towing capacity of the 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 in the Durango R/T, especially since it gets considerably better gas mileage than the V8. Either way, you should be able to get top-spec features like Nappa leather seats, a power liftgate, a sunroof, and more on our budget.
10. 2018 Ford Explorer
At a minimum of 280 horsepower and a maximum of 365 horsepower, the 2018 Ford Explorer is one of the most powerful midsize SUVs around, especially under $25,000. All-wheel drive is optional on base V6 and turbocharged 4-cylinder models and standard on turbocharged V6 models. Our budget should afford a fully loaded Platinum model, but you may find nicer, lower-mileage examples if you look for well-configured Limited or Sport models.
KBB’s car review methodology.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.