Safest SUVs

The 10 Safest Used SUVs Under $10,000

When selecting a used SUV, safety should be one of the main factors you take into consideration. In this article, we will discuss the 10 safest used SUVs under $10,000 that you could consider for your next purchase. These affordable midsize and compact SUV options provide excellent safety features without breaking the bank.

We will explore the safety ratings of these used SUVs and highlight their advantages in terms of protection on the road. From all-wheel drive capabilities to spacious cargo areas, these vehicles offer both practicality and peace of mind for drivers.

Our list includes popular models such as Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Cadillac SRX, SAAB 94X, Honda CRV, Kia Sportage, Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5 – all known for their reliability and impressive safety records. So continue reading to discover which of these 10 safest used SUVs under $10,000 is perfect for you!

Exploring Safety Ratings of Used SUVs

When shopping for a used SUV under $10,000, safety is ranked in the top three considerations for drivers across the country. No one wants to drive a car that could be more vulnerable than protective in the event of an accident. But how do you determine which used SUVs are truly safe? Enter: safety ratings.

In this section, we’ll dive into the world of safety ratings and explain how they can help you make an informed decision when buying a car.

A Brief Overview on IIHS and NHTSA Ratings

When researching used SUVs, it’s essential to rely on trustworthy sources for safety ratings. The two primary organizations responsible for evaluating vehicle safety in the United States are the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Both groups conduct rigorous crash tests on vehicles and assign them scores based on their performance.

  • IIHS: The IIHS rates vehicles as Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor based on their performance in various crash tests such as frontal offset crashes, side impacts, roof strength tests and head restraints & seats evaluations.
  • NHTSA: The NHTSA uses a star rating system with five stars being the highest possible score. Vehicles undergo front-impact collisions (driver-side & passenger-side), side-impact collisions (front-seat & rear-seat) and rollover resistance testing to evaluate their overall safety.

In addition to these organizations’ websites, you can also find valuable safety information from reputable automotive publications like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Consumer Reports. These sites often include expert reviews that discuss a vehicle’s safety features in detail.

What Else Should You Consider?

Beyond crash test scores, there are other factors you should consider when evaluating the safety of a used SUV:

  1. Airbags: Check how many airbags come standard with the vehicle – more is generally better.
  2. Safety Features: Look for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning or automatic emergency braking. While not all older models will have these features available, some may offer them as optional extras.
  3. VIN History Report: Obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) history report from services like CARFAX or AutoCheck. This report will reveal any past accidents or damage that could impact your chosen SUV’s overall safety integrity.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of understanding and finding reliable sources for used SUV safety ratings, let’s dive into our top picks for the safest options under $10,000.

Examining the safety ratings of pre-owned SUVs is a crucial element to consider when buying an automobile, as it can ensure everyone’s security. Taking into account the importance of safety ratings for used SUVs, let us now look at the benefits associated with having a secure vehicle.

Advantages of Safety in SUVs

When making a car purchase, prioritizing safety should be of utmost importance – particularly when looking at SUVs. When considering an SUV, safety should be a top priority due to the size and height of these larger vehicles. Let’s dive into the key benefits that make this list of safe SUVs worth every penny.

Better Visibility and Control

SUVs typically sit higher off the ground than sedans or hatchbacks, providing drivers with a better vantage point on the road. This increased visibility can help you spot potential hazards more easily and react accordingly. Additionally, many modern SUVs come equipped with advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings, which further enhance your ability to maintain control over your vehicle.

Improved Crash Protection

The size and weight of an SUV often work in its favor during collisions. In general, larger vehicles tend to fare better in crashes due to their greater mass absorbing impact forces more effectively than smaller cars. Moreover, many used SUV models under $10k boast impressive NHTSA ratings for frontal crash protection – a testament to their robust construction.

Airbags Galore.

  • Dual Front Airbags: These are standard on most vehicles nowadays but remain crucial for protecting both driver and front passenger from head-on impacts.
  • Side Curtain Airbags: Providing additional protection during side-impact collisions by deploying along windowsills; they shield occupants’ heads from injury caused by flying debris or intruding objects.
  • Knee Airbags: Found in select SUV models, these airbags deploy beneath the dashboard to protect your lower extremities during a crash.

Enhanced Traction and Stability

SUVs often come equipped with all-wheel or four-wheel drive systems that provide superior traction on slippery surfaces like snow, ice, or mud. Living in areas with inclement weather can be a challenge, but having an SUV that offers enhanced traction and stability may make the difference. Furthermore, many used SUVs under $10k feature electronic stability control (ESC) – an advanced safety system designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicle during skids or sudden maneuvers.

Room for Family and Friends

Last but not least, safe SUVs offer ample space for passengers and cargo alike. With roomy interiors and flexible seating configurations, you’ll have no trouble fitting everyone (and everything) comfortably inside your ride.

In short: investing in one of the safest used SUVs under $10k is not only smart from a financial standpoint but also crucial when it comes to ensuring peace of mind on the road.

1. Acura MDX

Safest SUVs - Acura MDX

If you’re looking for a luxurious and safe SUV without taking on a second job, look no further than the Acura MDX. This sophisticated ride offers top-notch safety features while still providing an upscale driving experience. Let’s dive into its IIHS and NHTSA vehicle ratings and airbag count to see why it deserves a spot on our list of 10 safest used SUVs under $10,000.

IIHS Safety Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Acura MDX with impressive ratings in various categories. In fact, this stylish SUV received a “Good” rating – which is the highest possible score – in all major crashworthiness tests such as moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, head restraints & seats tests. Additionally, it earned an “Advanced” rating for front crash prevention when equipped with optional equipment like collision mitigation braking system (CMBS). You can check out more details about these ratings on the IIHS website.

NHTSA Vehicle Ratings

Moving over to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluations – another reputable source for assessing vehicle safety – we find that the Acura MDX also shines here. The model years between 2007-2010 have been awarded an overall 5-star rating by NHTSA which speaks volumes about its exceptional performance during crash tests (source: NHTSA website). This SUV’s outstanding safety ratings make it a perfect choice for first-time drivers and families alike.

Airbags Galore

The Acura MDX is equipped with airbags for all three rows of seating including dual front, front side-impact, and full-length side curtain airbags. Additionally, this luxury SUV boasts an optional frontal-collision prevention system with automatic braking, ensuring maximum protection in case of sudden obstacles on the road. Rest assured that this vehicle has your back (and your sides) in case of an accident. Plus, some models even come with optional knee airbags for added security.

For those seeking a reliable pre-owned SUV, the Acura MDX offers a smooth ride and comprehensive safety features. Moving on to the Buick Enclave, this model is known for its spacious interior and powerful engine performance.

2. Buick Enclave

Safest SUVs - Buick Enclave

If you’re looking for a spacious, comfortable, and safe SUV under $10,000, the Buick Enclave should be on your radar. This lavish SUV offers an extraordinary blend of style and security features that make it a standout among other vehicles in this price range.

IIHS and NHTSA Vehicle Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2011-2017 Buick Enclaves with the highly coveted rating of “Good” in all major crash test categories. In addition to its excellent IIHS scores, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2016 model year a perfect five-star overall rating. For more information about these ratings and how they are determined, check out NHTSA’s website or visit IIHS’s official site.

Airbags Galore

Safety is not just about crash test ratings; airbags play a crucial role in protecting passengers during collisions as well. The Buick Enclave comes equipped with numerous airbags designed to keep you and your loved ones secure:

  • Dual-stage front airbags: These advanced airbags deploy at different speeds depending on the severity of the collision.
  • Side-impact airbags: Mounted in both front seats’ sides to protect occupants from side impacts.
  • Rollover-capable head curtain side airbags: Designed to provide additional protection during rollover accidents by covering all three rows of seating.
  • Driver’s knee airbag: Helps protect the driver’s lower extremities in frontal collisions.

Additional Safety Features

The Buick Enclave doesn’t stop at excellent crash test ratings and a plethora of airbags. It also offers various additional safety features to give you peace of mind while on the road, such as:

  • Rearview camera: Provides a clear view behind your vehicle when reversing, making parking and maneuvering easier.
  • Traction control system (TCS): Ensures optimal grip on slippery surfaces by applying brake pressure or reducing engine power if necessary.
  • LATCH child seat anchors: Allows for easy installation of compatible child seats without using seat belts.

Given its impressive safety ratings, extensive airbag system, and features such as TCS and LATCH child seat anchors, the Buick Enclave is an excellent choice for those seeking a safe used SUV under $10,000. Its outstanding IIHS and NHTSA ratings combined with its numerous airbags and other safety features make it one of our top recommendations in this category. So why not take one for a spin? You’ll be glad you did.

The Buick Enclave is an excellent selection for those in the market for a reasonably priced, secure pre-owned SUV. The Cadillac SRX offers similar features in terms of safety, but with added luxury touches.

3. Cadillac SRX

Safest SUVs - Cadillac SRX

If you’re looking for a luxury SUV that won’t break the bank, the Cadillac SRX is an excellent choice among the safest used SUVs under $10,000. This stylish and comfortable vehicle boasts impressive safety ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA, ensuring your peace of mind on every drive.

Safety Ratings: IIHS & NHTSA

The Cadillac SRX has received top scores in various categories from both organizations. The IIHS awarded it with a “Good” rating – their highest honor – in moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Additionally, they named it a Top Safety Pick in 2011-2016 models.

Meanwhile, NHTSA gave this luxurious ride five stars overall (out of five) for its performance in frontal crash tests as well as side crash tests involving both front-seat passengers and rear-seat occupants during model years 2010-2016.

Airbags Galore

No one wishes to contemplate a collision while behind the wheel; yet, having awareness that your vehicle is outfitted with plenty of airbags can offer some solace if something goes awry on the roadway. The Cadillac SRX doesn’t disappoint when it comes to airbag protection:

  • Dual-stage driver & front passenger airbags
  • Driver’s knee airbag (in select models)
  • Pelvic/thorax side-impact airbags for driver & front passenger
  • Head-curtain side-impact airbags for all outboard seating positions

With these comprehensive safety features, the Cadillac SRX has safety well in hand in case of an accident.

Additional Safety Features Worth Mentioning

Beyond its stellar ratings and numerous airbags, the Cadillac SRX also offers other notable safety features to help keep you secure on the road. Some of these include:

  • Traction control system & electronic stability control – helps maintain vehicle stability during challenging driving conditions
  • Rearview camera – provides a clear view behind your vehicle when reversing or parking
  • Park assist sensors – alerts drivers to obstacles near their car while parking or maneuvering in tight spaces
  • Forward collision alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control

In summary, if you’re seeking luxury without compromising on safety within a budget-friendly price range, look no further than the Cadillac SRX as one of the safest used SUVs under $10,000.

For those seeking additional options, the SAAB 94X may be worth considering as it offers similar safety features at a slightly lower price point.

4. SAAB 9-4X

Safest SUVs - SAAB 9-4 Aero

If you’re looking for a unique and safe SUV, the SAAB 9-4X is an excellent choice. The SAAB 9-4X may not be a household name, yet it offers the same safety and performance as its competitors. Let’s dive into the IIHS and NHTSA vehicle ratings and number of airbags that make this one of the safest used SUVs under $10,000.

NHTSA Ratings:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the SAAB 9-4X impressive scores in frontal crash tests, side crash tests, and rollover resistance – making it a top contender when considering safety.

IIHS Ratings:

  • Moderate Overlap Front Test Results: Good
  • Rear Impact Protection Head Restraints & Seats Test Results: Good
  • Safety Features:
  • 6 airbags, including dual front, side-impact and head curtain
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)

With six airbags strategically placed throughout the vehicle, you can trust that this SUV has your entire body covered.

The SAAB 94X is a reliable and safe used SUV that offers great value for its price. Honda CRV is another great option in the same category, offering excellent performance and comfort features.

5. Honda CR-V

Safest SUVs - Honda CR-V

If you’re looking for a reliable and safe SUV under $10,000, the renowned Honda CR-V should be on your list. This popular compact SUV has earned top safety ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA, making it an excellent choice for first-time drivers or anyone who prioritizes safety in their vehicle.

IIHS Safety Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2011-2014 Honda CR-V with its prestigious Top Safety Pick designation. The CR-V received “Good” ratings in all major crash tests, including moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints & seats evaluations.

NHTSA Vehicle Ratings

In addition to impressive IIHS scores, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2011-2014 Honda CR-V a perfect 5-star overall rating, with five stars in frontal crash protection and four stars in rollover resistance. These outstanding results highlight how well-equipped this used SUV is when it comes to protecting passengers during collisions.

Airbags Galore

  • Dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags: These advanced airbags are designed to deploy at different rates depending on collision severity while also taking into account seat belt usage.
  • Front side airbags: Offering additional protection during side impacts by inflating between occupants’ upper bodies and door panels.
  • Side curtain airbags with rollover sensor: Extending from the front to rear rows, these airbags provide head protection during side impacts and can deploy in the event of a rollover.

The Honda CR-V’s impressive safety ratings and numerous airbag systems make it an ideal choice for those seeking a safe used SUV under $10,000. Its reputation for reliability and low cost of ownership only add to its appeal as one of the best options on our list. If you’re interested in learning more about this popular compact SUV, check out Car and Driver’s review or visit your local Honda dealership for a test drive.

The Honda CRV is a reliable and safe option for those looking to purchase an affordable used SUV. Kia Sportage offers similar features at a slightly lower price point, making it another viable choice for budget-conscious buyers.

6. Kia Sportage

Safest SUVs - Kia Sportage

If you’re looking for a compact SUV that offers top-notch safety features, then consider the Kia Sportage. This stylish and affordable option is one of our 10 safest used SUVs under $10,000.

IIHS and NHTSA Vehicle Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2011-2016 Kia Sportage with its highest rating of “Good” in all major crash tests, including moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints & seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also gave it an overall rating of four out of five stars.

Notable Features:

  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC): Prevents your vehicle from rolling backward when starting on steep hills or slippery surfaces.
  • Traction Control System (TCS): Helps maintain control by reducing wheel spin during acceleration on slippery roads.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC): Automatically applies brakes to individual wheels if it senses a loss of traction or stability while cornering at high speeds.

Airbags Galore

Safety-conscious drivers will be pleased to know that the Kia Sportage comes equipped with six airbags as standard equipment. These include dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags protecting both rows of passengers. In addition to these essential safety features, the Kia Sportage also has an active front headrest system that moves forward and upward during a rear-end collision to help reduce the risk of whiplash injuries.

The Kia Sportage is a great choice for those seeking an inexpensive, yet safe SUV; boasting impressive safety ratings and equipped with dual front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, and full-length curtain airbags. So go ahead – drive confidently knowing you’re protected by one of the best in its class.

With its low price tag, the Volvo XC60 comes in next, offering plenty of safety features that make it another great choice in this budget range.

7. Volvo XC60

Safest SUVs - Volvo XC60

If you’re looking for a used SUV that screams safety, the Volvo XC60 is your knight in shining armor (or rather, shiny Swedish steel). With its outstanding IIHS ratings and impressive NHTSA scores, this Scandinavian beauty proves that it’s not just about looks.

Achievements in Safety Ratings:

  • Top Safety Pick+: The IIHS awarded the Volvo XC60 with their highest honor – Top Safety Pick+.
  • NHTSA Five-Star Overall Rating: The NHTSA gave this SUV a perfect five-star overall rating, making it one of the safest vehicles on our list.

Airbags Galore

The XC60 is armed with a multitude of airbags, safeguarding everyone inside from all directions. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Dual front impact airbags: These deploy during frontal collisions to cushion occupants from injury.
  2. Dual front side-impact airbags: In case of side impacts, these provide additional protection for both driver and passenger torso areas.
  3. Curtain first and second-row overhead airbag: To shield heads during rollovers or side crashes, these curtain-style bags extend along the roofline above all windows.

The Volvo XC60 provides advanced safety technologies, such as City Safety and its impressive airbag features, to ensure a safe driving experience. Some highlights include:

  • City Safety: This system helps prevent low-speed collisions by automatically applying brakes if it detects an imminent crash.
  • Lane Departure Warning: If your vehicle starts to drift out of its lane without signaling, this feature alerts you with audible and visual warnings.
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS): BLIS uses radar sensors to monitor your blind spots and warn you when another vehicle is detected nearby.

The Volvo XC60 is a reliable and safe used SUV, with top-notch safety ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA, multiple airbags for extra protection in case of an accident, as well as advanced technologies such as BLIS to help avoid any untoward incidents. It’s no wonder why so many drivers trust their lives behind the wheel of this Swedish gem.

However, Audi Q5 offers similar features in a more fashionable package at the same price point.

8. Audi Q5

Safest SUVs - Audi Q5

If you’re looking for a luxurious and safe used SUV under $10,000, the Audi Q5 is an excellent choice. This stylish vehicle boasts impressive safety ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA, ensuring that you can ride in style without compromising on safety.

IIHS and NHTSA Vehicle Ratings

The IIHS gave the Audi Q5 its top “Good” rating in all major crash tests on 2009-2017 models. The IIHS bestowed the Audi Q5 with its highest rating of “Good” in all major crash tests for 2009-2017 models, and NHTSA gave it a flawless five stars overall during that same period. You can find more information about these ratings on their respective websites: IIHS Audi Q5 Ratings and NHTSA Audi Q5 Ratings.

Airbags Galore

Safety features are abundant in the Audi Q5, starting with its generous number of airbags designed to protect occupants during collisions. The standard model comes equipped with:

  • Dual front impact airbags
  • Front side-impact airbags
  • Side curtain airbags for both rows of seats
  • Knee protection airbag for driver’s seat

This comprehensive system ensures maximum protection should any unfortunate accidents occur while driving your stylish yet affordable luxury SUV.

Additional Safety Features

The Audi Q5 not only boasts excellent safety ratings and an array of airbags, but also provides further security measures to provide extra assurance while driving. Some noteworthy options include:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction control system
  • Rearview camera for easier parking and maneuvering
  • Lane departure warning system (available on select models)

The Audi Q5 is widely considered one of the safest used SUVs available under $10,000 due to its high IIHS and NHTSA ratings, multiple airbags, as well as ESC and lane departure warnings. Moving right along to the Toyota Highlander.

9. Toyota Highlander

Safest SUVs - Toyota Highlander

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable midsize SUV, the Toyota Highlander should definitely be on your watch list. With its spacious interior, fuel-efficient engine, and excellent safety ratings, this vehicle has everything that first-time drivers or families need in an SUV.

Safety Ratings

The IIHS gave the 2010-2013 models of the Toyota Highlander their highest rating of “Good” in all crash tests conducted. The NHTSA also awarded it with an overall five-star rating for its exceptional performance in frontal and side crash tests.


The 2010-2013 models come equipped with seven airbags as standard: front impact airbags, driver knee airbag, side impact airbags (front & rear), and overhead curtain airbags (all three rows). This makes it one of the safest used SUVs under $10k on our list!

Fuel Economy

The 4-cylinder model gets up to 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway while V6 engines get up to 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway, making it perfect for long drives without having to worry about refueling frequently.

Cargo Space

The cargo space behind the third-row seats measures at around ten cubic feet, which can be expanded by folding down either or both rows behind them, providing more than enough room for your luggage needs!

Overall, if you are looking for a safe car with great fuel economy, then look no further than this midsize SUV from Toyota.

10. GMC Terrain

Safest SUVs - GMC Terrain

If you’re looking for a compact SUV that offers both comfort and safety, the GMC Terrain is worth checking out. It has received high ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA, making it one of the safest used SUVs under $10,000.

Safety Ratings

  • The IIHS gave the 2010-2017 models their highest rating of “Good” in all crash tests except for small overlap front passenger-side where it received an “Acceptable” rating.
  • The NHTSA awarded the 2011-2017 models with an overall five-star safety rating.

In addition to its impressive safety ratings, this midsize SUV comes equipped with six airbags including side-curtain airbags which provide extra protection during rollover accidents.


The GMC Terrain also boasts some great features such as:

  • Cargo Space: With up to 63.9 cubic feet of cargo space when rear seats are folded down, you’ll have plenty of room to haul your gear on road trips or move furniture across town.
  • Fuel Economy: The four-cylinder engine gets an EPA estimated combined fuel economy of up to 26 mpg while still providing enough power for daily driving needs.
  • All-Wheel Drive: Available on most trim levels allowing better handling in poor weather conditions or off-road adventures.

If you’re interested in saving money but don’t want to compromise on quality and reliability, then check out our list of affordable midsize SUV listings today! You might find other options like the Toyota Highlander or Honda CR-V, which are also great choices for those looking for a used SUV with heated front seats and leather upholstery.

Looking to tow? Consider the Chevrolet Tahoe or Honda Pilot with their impressive towing capacity.

Don’t forget about compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Murano that offer great fuel economy and cargo space while still being easy to maneuver in tight spaces. And if you’re looking for something more rugged, check out the Subaru Forester with its standard all-wheel drive system.

No matter what your needs may be, there’s a used SUV out there that can meet them without breaking the bank!

FAQs in Relation to The 10 Safest Used SUVs Under $10,000

What is the most reliable and safest used SUV?

The Honda CR-V is considered one of the most reliable and safest used SUVs on the market. It has consistently received high safety ratings from organizations like IIHS and NHTSA, along with a reputation for low maintenance costs and long-lasting performance.

What is the least reliable SUV on the market?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been reported as one of the least reliable SUVs, according to consumer surveys conducted by Consumer Reports. Issues such as transmission problems, electrical system malfunctions, and poor build quality have contributed to its lower reliability rating.

What is the best SUV with a lower price?

The Kia Sportage offers an excellent balance between affordability, safety features, and reliability. With competitive pricing in comparison to other models in its class, it also boasts good fuel efficiency rates while maintaining strong safety scores from both IIHS and NHTSA.

Which SUV is best for accidents?

In terms of crash protection during accidents, the Volvo XC60 stands out among others due to its advanced safety features and solid construction. The vehicle has consistently received top ratings from IIHS and NHTSA, with its City Safety technology designed to prevent collisions at low speeds.


When it comes to buying a used SUV, safety should be one of your top priorities. In this article, we explored the safety ratings and advantages of owning a safe SUV, while also highlighting 10 of the safest used SUVs under $10,000 including the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Cadillac SRX, SAAB 94X, Honda CRV, Kia Sportage, Volvo XC60, Audi Q5.

Choosing one of these models from “The 10 Safest Used SUVs under $10,000” list for your next vehicle purchase will give you peace of mind on the road while keeping your budget in check.

If you’re interested in learning more about car safety or want to read reviews on other cars before making a purchase decision, read more articles at Rear View Review, where we provide expert advice on all things automotive.

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