SUVs make great family cars thanks to their practical interiors and chunky image. You normally pay a little extra compared to an equivalent hatchback for the added space and high driving position, but going for a used SUV can seriously reduce the price you have to pay.
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[2018 update: The ever-popular Nissan Qashqai still makes a great used-SUV buy, but it slips down to third place in 2018 behind the excellent Suzuki Vitara and luxurious Volvo XC90. If you’re looking for something smaller, the posh Range Rover Evoque offers a slice of upmarket style for an affordable second-hand price.]
Here are the 10 best used SUVs on sale:
- Suzuki Vitara
- Volvo XC90
- Nissan Qashqai
- Toyota RAV4
- Audi Q3
- Range Rover Evoque
- Honda CR-V
- Land Rover Discovery
- Kia Sportage
- BMW X3
1. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is an SUV with a more rugged feel than some rivals and plenty of room inside. The interior feels well built from rugged, simple plastics and there’s a usefully square 375-litre boot. It’s a more capable off-roader than many of its rivals but is great fun on road, too, thanks to responsive controls. Used models can be had for £11,000 with the peppy Vitara S costing a little more.
2. Volvo XC90
The Volvo XC90 is one of the best luxury SUVs in its class, with a stylish exterior and a minimalist, plush interior. Loads of interior room means there’s still 451 litres of boot space, even with all seven seats up. It’s refined on the road and all models come with four-wheel drive for off-road adventures. There’s a range of frugal engines and even a powerful petrol-electric hybrid. Used models can go for around £37,000.
3. Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai proved to be a huge success when it hit the small-SUV market. Its spacious cabin, high driving position and composed handling make it a great all-rounder. The most stand-out feature, however, is its immense comfort – Nissan’s a fitted comparatively sophisticated suspension setup that helps the Qashqai absorb bumps like few others. Older models can be snapped up on the used market for around £7,000.
4. Toyota RAV4
The smart Toyota RAV4 is a safe and reliable choice if you’re on the lookout for a mid-sized SUV. It has a solid interior and loads of interior space for growing families. The RAV4’s handling won’t set the world alight but the ride is comfy and it has decent off-road ability. The older model can be snapped up for less than £11,000 and Toyota’s legendary reputation for reliability provides extra peace of mind.
5. Audi Q3
If you’re on the hunt for a premium compact SUV, the Audi Q3 makes a good case for itself. The high-quality cabin comes with lots of standard kit including Audi’s MMI infotainment system and lots of space. All engines are turbocharged so feel spritely, especially when mated to the recommended DSG automatic gearbox. It’s been around a little while so used models can be found for less than £14,000.
6. Range Rover Evoque
With its stylish looks, plush interior and sporty vibe, it’s easy to see why so many are tempted by the Range Rover Evoque. It’s not the roomiest SUV, especially for taller passengers in the back seats, but the handsome body makes up for it. On the road, it drives a little like a hot hatchback, with punchy performance and a grippy front end. Used models can be had for £23,000.
7. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V’s comparatively big body makes it massively practical with a 589-litre boot and the firm’s Magic Seat system – letting you flip the rear seat bases up to carry tall items. There’s a well-built interior using touch and pleasant materials. It’s not the most exciting SUV to drive but a stable, easy driving experience makes up for this. Older models can be bought for less than £13,000.
8. Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery is, quite simply, huge. The previous generation we’re looking at here isn’t quite as stylish as the new one, but used examples can be bought for less than £28,000. It’s still one of the roomiest SUVs around with a 1,124-litre boot and a third row of seats easily spacious enough for adults. The cabin’s full of gadgets and tech, while the interior matches the exterior with a plush-yet-rugged look.
9. Kia Sportage
The previous generation Kia Sportage isn’t quite as striking to look at as the new one, but it remains a practical SUV with plenty of space and decent standard kit. Good body control and accurate steering make it fun and intuitive to drive. Used and nearly new cars will still benefit from Kia’s industry-leading transferrable seven-year warranty and cost around £11,000.
10. BMW X3
Surprisingly sporty handling makes the BMW X3 stand out from rival SUVs. It’s on-road prowess is helped by powerful engines, masterful body control and accurate steering. Inside, there’s plenty of space for five passengers and it features BMW’s great iDrive infotainment system. Lots of interior space and a 550-litre boot make it a practical car, with used models on the market for around £18,000.
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