The Best Cheap SUVs in Kenya For 2024: A Comparison of Popular Models

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Mar 18, 2024 - 10:50
Mar 18, 2024 - 09:51
The Best Cheap SUVs in Kenya For 2024: A Comparison of Popular Models
The Best Cheap SUVs in Kenya For 2024: A Comparison of Popular Models

Kenya's automotive landscape has witnessed a remarkable shift in recent years, with Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) surging in popularity. This trend, fueled by Kenya's unique road conditions and a growing middle class with an appetite for versatile and robust vehicles, has seen SUVs emerge as a staple on Kenyan roads. However, amidst this ever-increasing demand, a critical factor comes into play - affordability. The Kenyan market, known for its keen eye on value for money, has increasingly leaned towards SUVs that balance functionality, style, and, most importantly, affordability.

As we venture into 2024, this balance is more relevant than ever. With a diverse range of SUVs in the market, choosing the right one that fits the budget without compromising quality and features becomes daunting for many Kenyans. This article aims to demystify this challenge by diving deep into the realm of affordable SUVs in Kenya. We will explore various models that have struck a chord in the Kenyan market, not just for their price tag but for their overall value proposition - from their initial purchase price to fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, and resale value.

Read Also:  Best 12 Cheap Saloon Cars & Prices In Kenya For 2024

The Rise of SUVs in Kenya

The Kenyan automotive market has experienced a significant transformation over the past decade, with Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) becoming increasingly prominent on the roads. This surge in popularity can be attributed to many factors that resonate deeply with the Kenyan lifestyle and terrain.

 Historical Perspective of SUVs in Kenya

The history of SUVs in Kenya dates back to the early 2000s, a period marked by the dominance of saloon cars and light trucks. However, the early 2010s witnessed a gradual shift as Kenyans began to appreciate the versatility of SUVs. Initially perceived as luxury vehicles, introducing more affordable models transformed them into a feasible option for a broader population segment.

 Reasons Behind Growing Popularity

  • The rugged Kenyan landscape is pivotal in the growing preference for SUVs. With a significant portion of the country's roads being unpaved or in varying states of repair, SUVs' durability and higher ground clearance make them ideally suited for Kenyan terrains.
  • Lifestyle trends also contribute significantly. With a growing middle class, there's an increasing desire for vehicles that handle daily commutes and cater to weekend escapades and family outings. SUVs' spaciousness, safety features, and off-road capabilities align perfectly with these needs.
  • The rise of SUVs is also a testament to the evolving consumer preferences in Kenya. With better access to information, Kenyan consumers are making more informed choices, seeking vehicles that offer a blend of comfort, safety, and efficiency.

Top 10 Cheap SUVs in Kenya For 2024

This is crucial while navigating Kenya's shoddy roads, which also include a lot of speed bumps. Let us get started.

1. Mazda CX5 - KES 1.85 million to KES 5.4 million

The Mazda CX-5 is now among the most often driven vehicles in Kenya. The CX-5, an SUV introduced in 2012, is technologically and visually superior. It is the first Mazda car to feature Mazda's Soul of Motion Design and has the same platform as the Mazda Axela.

Three engine options are available for the CX-5: 2000cc, 2200cc, and 2500cc. A six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission can be used with the engine. A significant benefit in the current economic context, marked by skyrocketing fuel prices, is the SUV's low fuel usage. Additionally, it has low emissions, which enables the owners to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Mazda CX-5 exudes dynamism and perfectly balances grace and durability. The SUV is popular worldwide with male and female car owners because it's affordable and fun.

2. Toyota RAV4 - KES 5.48 million

RAV4, often known as a recreational activity vehicle with four-wheel drive, is one of the most well-liked small SUVs on Kenyan roads. The Toyota RAV4 was the fourth best-selling passenger car and the best-selling SUV globally in 2019. In 1994, Toyota introduced the SUV built on the Corolla/Carina chassis. There are three- and five-door options available.

After discontinuing the 3-door model in 2007, Toyota revamped it in 2016. The improvements included a tasteful style, better visibility, and more storage area. It has a better suspension setup that makes it more versatile on any road surface. 

A D4D diesel engine and two 2.0 and 2.4-liter inline-4 petrol engines are options. These go well with a four, five, or six-speed automatic transmission and a five- or six-speed manual. A 7-speed automatic CVT is also available. Spare parts are widely available.

3. Honda CRV - KES 4.96 million to KES 5.30 million

The Honda CR-V has made a name for itself as a dependable and reasonably priced family vehicle. It debuted in 1995 and has been driving on Kenyan roads since then. In 2011, the CR-V underwent a significant redesign. It strongly emphasized aerodynamic performance, new 4WD technology, and contemporary design. The SUV is built on the Civic platform and can seat five people.

The inside of the Honda CR-V is spacious, performs well, and has excellent build quality and off-road aptitude. Its size and suspension make it a practical vehicle that smoothly rides Kenya's unreliable and uneven road surfaces.

The SUV has built a strong reputation as a reliable and practical vehicle. It has a variety of engine choices, from a 2400cc normally aspirated engine to a 1500cc turbocharged engine to a hybrid. The Honda CR-V comes with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

4. Subaru Forester - KES 2.5 million to KES 3.5 million

In 1997, the five-door Subaru Forester first went on sale. It's an SUV with all-wheel drive that uses the Impreza's base. The renowned Subaru Boxer engine is found in the Forester. The center of gravity is lowered, improving stability and performance. The SUV has a brilliant symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system that enhances its performance—the favorite of Kenya's elite security troops and the highway king.

Several engine options include a 2.5L turbo, 2.0L, 2.5L NA, and 2.0L turbo-diesel. The Forester STi, a road monster, is at the top. It has a six-speed manual transmission and a 2.5-liter WRX STi turbo flat-4 engine. 18-inch wheels, a sizable intercooler, and an exhaust system with low back pressure are all included.

The Subaru Forester also comes with a five-speed manual or four or five-speed automatic transmission. The Subaru turbo versions have a cult following. With so many aftermarket performance parts, these variants can cost more than the NA counterparts depending on the modifications installed.

5. Suzuki Escudo - KES 2.35 million to KES 3.90 million

This SUV, first released in 1988, is a well-liked cross-country 4WD for city drivers. In 1997, Suzuki updated the Escudo as a hybrid of a passenger car and an X-country vehicle. It's a great crossover SUV with many features that make it a good family car.

The SUV has a powerful engine and is comfortable with lots of legroom. It makes it ideal for all kinds of journeys, even off-road adventures. An extremely rugged, dependable, and resilient SUV is the Suzuki Escudo. It's popular in remote parts of Kenya where the only Juakali boda mechanics are, and the roads are harsh and seasonal. There are three- and five-door options available. The petrol engine options range from 1.0 liter to 3.2-liter V6, depending on the model year.

The available diesel engines come in 1.6L, 1.9L, and 2.0-Liter sizes. It's available in five or six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with four-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive options. Suzuki dropped the rear-wheel-drive version in 2017. The Escudo is among the safest cars, sporting a five-star rating by EURO NCAP.

6. Nissan XTrail - KES 2.64 million to KES 4.27 million

Since 2000, Nissan, a Japanese automaker, has been manufacturing the Nissan X-Trail, a small crossover SUV. One of Nissan's earliest crossover SUVs was this one. Do look into the X-trail if you're searching for a medium SUV. Although lacking in overall refinement and interior appearance, it is a practical, pleasant ride with active safety features.

Drivers considering alternatives at the larger end of the SUV category will find the X-Trail to have a lot to offer. Although that applies equally to the back seats, they are excellent for the limited use that most families will demand. Though some may consider it an advantage, it is not the largest in the seven-seat SUV class.

The X-Trail is a spacious vehicle with lots of capacity for passengers and their luggage. Inside, the X-Trail and Qashqai are comparable, which is good because the cabins look excellent, feel well-built, and come loaded with features on the costliest models in the lineup.

7. Toyota Vanguard - KES 1 million to KES 2.52 million

Compared to the RAV4, the Toyota Vanguard has a body of 235 mm longer and a wheelbase of 100 mm longer. As a result, all grades received five-seaters and seven-seaters.

The two options for the Toyota Vanguard's power plant are the 2.4-liter in-line 4-cylinder engine (125 kW/224 Nm) and the 3.5-liter 6-cylinder V6 engine. Hyper CVT-i continuously variable gearbox is available for 4-cylinder engine models, while Super ECT 5-speed electronic control transmission is available for 6-cylinder engine models.

All vehicles have steering-assisted stability control (S-VSC) and active torque control (4WD) systems. There was no 2WD version at first. All models have a hill start assist control and a downhill assist control as standard equipment. Safety features are incredible: SRS airbag system, curtain airbags, a 3-point seat belt for the rear center seat, headrest, etc., are equipped.

8. Nissan Juke - KES 1.28 million to KES 3.03 million

Since 2010, a Japanese automaker, Nissan, has produced the Nissan Juke, a small crossover SUV. Although the Nissan Juke is enjoyable to drive, some consumers are turned off by its unconventional body style. Because some repairs are typically impossible and some parts require a complete replacement, it is said to have a bad reliability record. Nevertheless, it is one of the most reasonably priced SUVs on the market (certainly in the top 3).

The JUKE takes pride in its distinctive look with its motorcycle-inspired center console and motorsport-inspired instrumentation. The Kick has replaced the JUKE as a lively, capable multi-activity car with attitude and now offers optional two-tone roof panels.

With 28 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway, the 2017 JUKE's fuel economy was always noteworthy. If fuel efficiency is a priority for you, look into the 2023 Rogue.

9. Toyota Harrier - KES 3.40 million to KES 5.60 million

Toyota has been manufacturing the Harrier, a five-passenger, compact mid-sized crossover SUV, since December 1997. Between March 1998 and December 2008, the Harrier was renamed the Lexus RX in select regions. This SUV is well-built, simple to maintain, and physically appealing, contributing to its popularity. It is regarded as a more upscale, road-oriented substitute for the Toyota RAV4.

The Toyota Harrier of today is offered with a selection of four- and six-cylinder engines mated to either a five- or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model year. The V6 engine in the hybrid Harrier is coupled to a CVT (Continuously variable transmission). Both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) options are available for the drivetrain. Naturally, the four-cylinder engine alternatives are less potent than the six-cylinder ones but more cost-effective.

10. Honda Vezel - KES 2.90 million to KES 4.60 million

Honda began producing and marketing the Honda Vezel, a small crossover SUV, as the Honda HR replacement, Vs. in 2013. Are you searching for a reasonably priced SUV? This car won't let you down, I assure you.

This family SUV is, in our opinion, generally safe, dependable, easy to use, and valuable. Overall, a reliable, safe, and inexpensive vehicle. The Vezel is one of the sportier family cars on the market because of its enormous inside space.

What distinguishes the Honda Vezel from the Honda CRV may be on your mind. The HR-V has an impressive amount of rear-seat legroom for a subcompact SUV, but taller passengers may wish for more headroom in the back seats. In addition, the HR-V has firmer seats in both rows, which may not be as well-suited for long road trips.

Read Also:  Best 16 Family Cars in Kenya 2024: Toyota Sienna, Noah, Honda CR-V, Odyssey


SUVs(Sport Utility Vehicles) are always great choices of cars whether you're looking to upgrade from your current vehicle, need more clearance, or want to increase cargo space for running your daily errands.