2023 best SUVs for the money, life span - SUV VEHICLE

2023 best SUVs for the money, life span

Average consumers keep their vehicles for an average of 8 years. This means people want to make sure they’re getting a good deal, and the vehicle is going to last. Well, the folks at iSeeCars.com recently did a study combining purchase price and lifespan to come up with the best SUVs for the money.

Best SUVs for the money: About the study

The study first analyzed the prices of 8.3 million new vehicles sold from September 2023 through December 2023. Then, it compares this information with a prior longest-lasting vehicles study of 181 million used vehicle odometer readings.

This information was used to calculate the average price per 10,000 miles.

“New car prices keep climbing, which makes finding the highest value models more important than ever for buyers,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “By identifying cars that combine the lowest purchase price with the longest lifespan, we’re helping consumers who want to maximize their car-buying budget.”

Best small SUVs

As the chart from iSeeCars points out, the average small SUV costs $2,1000 per 10,000 miles, and the six vehicles on this list cost less than that.

While we agree with all the vehicles that are on the list – they are all among the best-selling small SUVs out there – we were surprised on the order. The popular Honda CR-V tops the list, by a lot, yet it’s nose-to-nose competitor, the Toyota RAV4 is No. 4. While we’ve compared these vehicles ourselves, this might be the feather that tips the scales to CR-V ownership – especially if the buyer plans to keep their vehicle.

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Screen grab from iSeeCars.com showing the best small SUVs for the money.

Best midsize SUVs

The midsize SUV category covers a lot of ground from smaller two-row SUVs to bigger three-row crossovers. Asian automakers dominate this list with the Toyota/Lexus crew cleaning up with five out of 14 models making the better-than-average list. That’s no surprise.

However, what we find interesting is that the discontinued Mazda CX-9 (being replaced by the CX-90) takes the top spot. Then again, since this is an outgoing model, it was likely priced to sell, and Mazda’s in general are highly reliable vehicles. So, it makes more sense than you’d think.

The only surprise with the 14-year-old Toyota 4Runner taking the No. 2 spot is that it isn’t first. This is a stalwart and iconic vehicle that is both reliable and relatively affordable with a base price of $41k.

What’s even more interesting: Only three American automakers’ vehicles make the list: Ford Edge, Ford Explorer and GMC Acadia.

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Screen grab from iSeeCars.com showing the best midsize SUVs for the money.

Best large SUVS

In the study both large and full-size SUVs comprise this list, so I’m only moderately surprised that a unibody SUV tops the list. I’m completely flummoxed that it’s a Buick. Then, in bizzarro world, you have Nissan taking a No. 2 spot – which is a complete contrast to the best trucks for the money, where Nissan is at the bottom of the barrel in both the midsize and full-size segments.

Toyota takes No. 3 with the recently redesigned Sequoia, largely because of its initial high cost, then Ford and Chevy bring up the rear with their full-size, body-on-frame SUVs.

iseecars best large suvsiseecars best large suvs

Screen grab from iSeeCars.com showing the best large SUVs for the money.

The bottom line

There’s a lot of interesting data here, and it’s just one of the research points you should consult before buying a new SUV. Reliability and certainly resale value are other considerations, so look at websites like Consumer Reports and CarComplaints.com to round out your research. Another good tool we just discovered on last night’s livestream: Edmunds.com’s cost of ownership calculator.

As I like to say, the heart wants what the heart wants, just make sure you have all the data and go into the “relationship” with your eyes wide open – warts and all.

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