The 4 cheapest American SUVs for 2023
American automakers are moving away from inexpensive SUVs. Both Ford and Chevy have discontinued their smallest and cheapest crossovers. We lost the Chevy Trax and Spark for 2023, as well as the tiny Ford EcoSport. Dodge and Chrysler don’t make a small SUV, but Jeep keeps the small Renegade. But, overall, it looks like US automakers are ceding the economy SUV market to Hyundai, Nissan and Kia for 2023.
Chevy makes two of America’s cheapest SUVs
Chevy dropped the tiny Spark for 2023 and the Trax subcompact as well. That leaves the Trailblazer as the cheapest Chevy SUV you can buy in 2022 at $21,800. It was getting harder and harder to justify the Trax, which was a nice SUV but was only $400 cheaper than the Trailblazer and much smaller. The Trailblazer looks like a mini-Blazer in many ways. The Trailblazer, however, is designed to be inexpensive, fashionable, and technically advanced. It has forward collision warning, pedestrian braking, teen driver mode and options like rear cross traffic alerts, lane change alerts and rear park assist.
The Trailblazer is more soft-roader than off-road
But Chevrolet is pretty clear that this isn’t an all-terrain SUV, despite appearances. You can order the ACTUV option, which gives the Trailblazer some trail capability thanks to 17-inch sport terrain tires and a front end designed for better clearance “when traveling gravel roads,” Chevy said. .
The Trailblazer comes with two engine options, there’s a fuel-efficient 1.2-liter turbo or the 1.4-liter turbo with 155 horsepower from the Trax. We’d go with the 1.3 because it has a nine-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT.
Gas-powered Equinox lasts another year
The Chevy Equinox is the best-selling SUV in the Chevy lineup and it’s great value starting at around $27,000 for 2023. The big news will be the 2024 Chevy Equinox, which will be a sleek electric vehicle. Until then, the Equinox will continue with a handful of changes for 2023. The new Equinox received a slight update in 2022 with a new face and new trim levels. We like the RS trim, which gives the Equinox a bit more street cred with 19-inch wheels and blackout trim. It can be ordered in soft luxury LS, LT, RS and Premier packages. All Equinox SUVs can haul around 30 cubic feet of stuff in the back.
RELATED: What’s Up With the 2022 Chevy Equinox?
The Ford Escape remains a good seller and a good value, especially as a hybrid
Ford is the stop of EcoSport, which was competent if uninspiring little crossover. That leaves the Escape as Ford’s lowest-priced SUV, which starts at $26,760. The Escape seats five and gets impressive mpg numbers, at 28 in the city and 34 on the highway with its 2-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. You can also order a hybrid version, which gets up to 41 mpg combined. It starts around the same price as the Equinox, but the Escape packs 15 cubic feet more stuff in the back. It may not be the sales success it once was, but the Escape remains a value and one of the least expensive American SUVs.
The Renegade harnesses Jeep’s off-road heritage.
The Renegade is forgotten as the smallest Jeep. It shouldn’t be. We like the idea of the TrailHawk package in the Renegade that gives it some off-road capability. But the base two-wheel-drive Sport version has many of the same features at $24,195, making it one of the least expensive American SUVs. The base Renegade is a front-wheel-drive SUV, much like a car. But there are plenty of options to make it more capable off-road. The Renegade Latitude 4×4 can be equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive Low system. This system makes the Jeep Renegade all-wheel-drive, but it certainly has an eye on on-road capability. But the Jeep can also hold stuff, up to 50.8 cubic feet, and five passengers in comfort.