1. Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevrolet Tahoe and its rebadged counterpart GMC Yukon take the first spot on our list, for a number of reasons.
The starting price of a new 2021 model is $50,295, but just a 1-year old Tahoe can cost just 76% of its original price. Two-year-old models are also appealing at 70%, and beyond that, the 2014 model is an excellent choice on a tighter budget, as it costs $21,000 and depreciates very slowly beyond that point.
The fourth-generation Chevrolet Tahoe was produced from 2014 until the end of 2019, and it’s the best generation in terms of value and luxury features. Tahoe had two V8 engines and two automatic transmission options, available in LS, LT, and LTZ trim, while the Yukon was offered in SLE, SLT, and Denali trims.
2. Toyota Sequoia
Toyota built its reputation on reliability and luxury that matches, and even outperforms most of the full-size SUV competition. Toyota Sequoia brings those benefits, at a fairly reasonable price.
Brand new models are priced competitively, between $50,000 and $66,000 depending on the trim level and feature list. Toyota generally holds its value better, which makes the initial purchase more difficult, but also means the SUV can be resold with a lower loss.
Like other vehicles, Toyota Sequoia loses most of its value within the first two years, retaining 72% of its value for a cost of $44,000. Models from 2016 are also desirable as they’re now worth just over half their original value at $34,000. The value gradually declines beyond that point, until it settles around 40% for models between 2010 and 2013.
Sequoia’s primary engine option is a 5.7L V8 with a 5-speed or 6-speed automatic transmission. You may also find a 4.6L V8 if you look for model years between 2010 and 2012. Model years 2018 onwards received a major facelift, with standard LED headlights, specific grille designs, and a number of feature updates inside the cabin.
3. Chevrolet Suburban
This list would not be complete without the most iconic full-size SUV - Chevy Suburban. It shares the position with Yukon XL and Yukon Denali XL, its badge counterparts from GMC.
Suburban is longer and heavier than Tahoe, with more headroom and legroom in the back. It has a greater cargo capacity, but surprisingly, lower towing and payload capacity than its smaller cousin.
The power comes from a 5.3L V8 engine matched with either 6-speed or 8-speed automatic transmission. The high-end 2019 RST Suburban is powered by a 6.2L V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission for impressive performance both on and off-road. Standard trims include the base LS, LT, and LTZ trim, while the Yukon XL has the SLE, SLT, and Denali trims.
Brand new models can cost as much as $75,300, but the steep decline of 22% in the first and an additional 10% in the second year make the 2019 model a best-buy purchase. If the price tag of $43,000 goes well beyond your budget, 7-year-old models will cost you only $20,000, roughly the same as the Tahoe.
4. Ford Expedition
Derived from the indestructible F-150, Expedition is Ford’s long-standing full-size SUV brand that’s been a favorite of American families for over two decades.
The starting price of the three-row model is $52,800, one of the higher in its class. However, this doesn’t reflect on the used prices, which are more than favorable. 2019 Ford Expedition will set you back around $45,500, losing 30% of its value.
However, Expedition has a steep price depreciation curve past the third year, giving you plenty of good options for a five to eight-year-old model. With the price of $20,000-25,000, you can get a 2016 Expedition instead of a 2014 Chevy or GMC, which is something worth considering.
Even though the production started in 2007, the third-generation Expedition received a mid-cycle facelift in 2014, making the relevant models up to date with modern features and technology. The 5.4L V8 was dropped in favor of a more economical 3.5L V6 with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Despite significant differences in displacement, the V6 produces more power and torque than its V8 predecessor.
5. Toyota Land Cruiser
The other four models have been chosen for this top 5 used SUVs list because they balance the comfort, features, and capabilities with a sensible price. However, we have to include what is the best full-size SUV by many standards - the Toyota Land Cruiser.
In production for exactly 70 years, Land Cruisers were made as a direct competitor to the British Land Rover. Cheaper than G-Wagon and Land Rover, it’s still significantly more expensive than the other options on this list. However, it also provides greater luxury, off-road capabilities, and durability.
Chevrolet Suburban holds the third position among longest-lasting vehicles to reach 200,000 miles at 5.1%, with Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe close in numbers. Toyota Sequoia more than doubles the margin at 11.2%, but Land Cruiser is the undeniable winner at 16.3%. To put this in perspective, a Toyota Prius, an extremely reliable car, has a 2.6% rating.
The only problem with Land Cruiser is the price - starting at $86,000 for brand new models. Things are made more difficult by the fact that it has one of the lowest depreciation rates among all vehicles, and nearly flatlines past 50% of its original value.
For $27,000, any other option on the list will be between 5 and 7 years old, but that amount can only get you a 2009 Land Cruiser. The high costs are completely justified, as you’re getting the very best the full-size SUV market has to offer.