Need Suggestions for a Small Non-Luxury SUV with a Strong Engine

Correct, and it’s still the best power for the price (new).

def not going to be a “cheap” lease

I should have been more specific when I said small. I like the mid-size SUV/Crossover. However, length varies greatly in that class. The Explorer, Pilot, and Pathfinder are on the longer end of the class, some near 200 inches. Too big for me. But then you have the Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorrento in the same class are under 190 inches, more palatable.

I prefer larger SUVs in the “compact” class such as the Equinox/Terrain a Nissan Rogue…something above 179-180 inches. I might go for something smaller if its the right thing, but I don’t want to go too small.

Here are some that I’ve identified, with the Edmunds price minus any incentives, in the $28,000-$33,000 range.

Ford Escape Titanium 250hp
Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0 turbo 235 hp
Nissan Murano 260hp
Ford Edge SEL 260hp
Chevy Equinox LT 250hp
Grand Cherokee Upland 295hp
Cherokee Limited 270hp

I agree that the Grand Cherokee is a good option to check out. I would also take a look at the Cherokee.

I’d say the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the way to go. Base model has V6 and it’s nice ride that leases well. I test drove the CX5 and specifically chose the GC due to the superior engine.

The X2/X4/X6 BMW doesn’t consider to be SUVs, but they really are.

I’d add in the Infiniti QX50, there are very good discounts.

@stinger and left foot–

yes. I realize that most non-luxury compact SUV to the smaller mid-size SUV buyers aren’t looking for more fun and power in their engine! :frowning:

I drove a Mazda CX-5 GT and I liked it a lot, but wanted more power. Good features and safety features.

I drove a 2018 Acura RDX and liked it, but I thought it was boring for the money (might be a pretty good deal now). I will drive the new 2019 version at some point.

I drove a 2019 Infinit QX50 and I thought the new 270hp 4 banger was just okay. When I pressed the pedal to the floor I was a little disappointed.

So those three test drives led me to go on a larger search for a compact SUV or smaller mid-size SUV that actually has a little fun in it. My caveat about getting a “non-luxury” car is just saying that I don’t need fancy bells and whistles. Just something with a little fun. Or maybe I’ll scrap the utility, and just pick up a Mustang GT in the mid-$30s.

@fred haha. Yes, I guess I really want like a Macan S!

I thought about this. Incentives and price look decent. Reliability?


I’m not a huge car shopper. No bueno???

Not really against luxury brands. I just realized the 2018 Acura RDX I drove for a weekend bored me. So wondered if a non-luxury brand at a lower price point would have an engine that satiated me.

The thing I don’t like about the QX50 is that the newer safety features are only available at higher trim levels (unlike the RDX which puts them at all trim levels) and you can’t even get Apple car play.

What is your budget?

Thanks for this input. What is lowest available MF on GC and Cherokee right now?

Black Friday special shows $4,000 cash allowance on GC.

I’m glad you asked!

When I walk into a dealer I usually just tell them what monthly payment I can afford and they always manage to find me a car at that exact number. Its not always the car I initially wanted, but they do a good job of showing me that the car they picked for me suits my needs best. I very much appreciate their help. I like the honesty and straightforward approach in their dealings.

My serious answer…I don’t really have a budget. I just like the most bang for my buck based on what I want. The GC seems like a good option. Maybe a Cherokee. Or if Acura dealers get really desperate maybe I’ll decide the boring 2018 RDX is worth the money!

And I will give the CX-5 a hard look with the newer engine. I don’t know that anything will match its list of safety features and engine for the price.

It depends on your region. Then Edmunds Jeep forums have all that info.

What state are you in? You can get a base GC for low $300s and a limited for upper 300s to 400

You can’t look at the msrp to make that decision, the base rdx, leases the same as the fully loaded QX50. So just looking at the msrp isn’t a good barometer to decide whether something leases well or not. Also there aren’t any 2018 rdxs left (or very very few)

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The GT is $35,565, incl destination and AWD. I would expect that once initial demand wears off, they could be had for the $33,000 range. That might be the best car out there for comfort features, safety features, engine, and drivability. IMHO. I would love to hear others’ candidates at that price.

Good advice. I’m new to leasing so my instincts point me to MSRP. Very interesting that base RDX leases same as loaded QX50!

As @nyclife said, you can’t just look at the MSRP. Top trims usually have worse residuals and inventory on them is lower, so dealers don’t discount them as much. With it being brand new, don’t expect any hackr deal on it.

These days HP doesn’t correlate very well with acceleration.

It’s all about gearing and how the ECU reacts to throttle inputs.

You can have two similar vehicles with similar HP and they will drive very differently