Top 10 best used SUVs 2021
Want to find an affordable SUV? Check out our list of the top 10 best used SUVs available.
Buying and owning a brand-new SUV can be exciting but buying a used example can still give you that new-car feeling. What’s more, you’ll have more money in your pocket, thanks to a lower initial price and much less value lost in depreciation over the course of your time with the car.
One of the biggest concerns when buying any car brand new is the substantial loss in value over time – normally referred to as depreciation. This can vary massively between manufacturer and model, and it can also vary between equipment levels. Depreciation of a car tends to slow down after it hits its third birthday, which means used buyers can purchase a three-year-old car and save a huge amount of money – as long as they’re happy to sacrifice that latest number plate or the ‘new-car smell’.
The SUV market continues to grow at a rapid pace, with more and more new models making their way out of showrooms. Manufacturers are even beginning to offer them with fully electric powertrains as we draw nearer to the year 2030, when the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars will be banned. You can read our guide on the Best electric SUVs. British drivers love the extra practicality of an SUV as well as the raised ride height, which makes city driving less of a hassle. And with so many options, used buyers are spoiled for choice today.
Here are our picks for the best used SUVs you can buy today.
For more used car buying advice, why not read our picks for the best used cars to buy.
The Skoda Karoq is a fantastic choice for used buyers, as a well-built and tough interior means it’ll continue to look good and work for many years. The interior is airy and spacious and the large 479-litre boot can be boosted to 588 litres thanks to the ‘Varioflex’ seating system, available on all but SE trims. This allows you to slide the rear seats to give more legroom or boot space – or remove them altogether. The engine choices begin with a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol that offers decent performance, while a punchier 1.5-litre petrol engine is also available.
Diesel options include 1.6 and 2.0-litre units, which are predictably more economical. There are numerous available trim levels, with the entry-level SE featuring two-zone air-con, DAB radio and alloy wheels. Mid-range SE L adds many extras, including LED headlights, a reversing camera, an Amundsen infotainment system, sat nav and smartphone mirroring. There are also Scout, Sportline and Edition trim levels, which focus on ruggedness, sportiness and luxury respectively. The Karoq replaced the Skoda Yeti, which has distinctive styling and a reputation for reliability. It’s a great used car purchase if your budget doesn’t stretch to the Karoq.
The Dacia Duster has just been facelifted but we’re focusing on the pre-facelift model here, which has been on sale since 2018. The facelift only introduced minor cosmetic changes, so you won’t be missing out on any desirable features. If anything, the release of the updated model only serves to make a used Dacia Duster even better value.
The Duster has always been a well-priced SUV that prides itself on function over form but the current-generation Duster added welcome features to make it more comfortable and appealing. Renault underpinnings mean you’re not missing out on modern parts and the engines are reasonably powerful and economical, if not class-leading in any respect.
The Access trim will be too sparsely equipped for most people but all other models get air conditioning, digital radio, Bluetooth and cruise control. Comfort is a popular spec, with a touchscreen infotainment system that features the latest smartphone connectivity, sat nav and a reversing camera.
If you’re looking for a large SUV with a striking design and affordable running costs, the Renault Kadjar is a great choice. The Kadjar makes good use of its available space, with a 472-litre boot, which is more than enough for most families. Fold down the rear seats, and storage space increases to 1,472 litres.
From the driver’s seat, the Kadjar feels like a quality product, with plush materials and plenty of equipment, including dual-zone climate control, keyless start and sat nav. Our pick of the engine range is the 1.5-litre dCi diesel, which is able to return just over 60mpg. Paired with the Iconic trim, it’s our pick of the range.
The Kuga is Ford’s entry to the growing SUV market. Reliability is something that concerns used car buyers a lot, you’re in safe hands, as the Kuga is generally praised in this area. While the exterior design is conservative, the interior is plush and feels well screwed-together. The Kuga is moderately practical, with sliding rear seats that can facilitate a 526-litre boot and plenty of space in the rear, including lots of legroom.
Ford is well known for producing cars that feel brilliant to drive and the Kuga is engaging behind the wheel. Most of the available used models are 1.5 and 2.0-litre ‘EcoBlue’ diesels and they are good engines if you’re planning to travel long distances or tow regularly, with quiet cruising ability and enough punch for overtaking. The Zetec trim level is surprisingly well-equipped but look for a Titanium car and you’ll get upgrades like keyless entry, bright LED headlights, digital dials and dual-zone climate control.
One of the most compact cars on our list, the Peugeot 2008 provides decent value for money with low running costs, a spacious interior and a comforting drive. It’s much improved over the last version, having grown in size and gained a much more up-to-date look. The design of the 2008 features an aggressive exterior and innovative interior.
Practicality is good but not class-leading, although the 434-litre boot is larger than the one in the SEAT Arona. The 2008 doesn’t feature many different engines, but there are plenty of power outputs. Our picks are the mid-range 1.2-litre PureTech petrol that’s capable of around 52mpg or the 100bhp 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel, which can return up to 67mpg. Our pick of the trims is Allure Premium,, which features reversing sensors, rear privacy glass and digital dials. If you’re after a sporty look, the top-of-the-range GT should fit the bill.
Not only is the Toyota RAV4 known worldwide for being reliable, but it’s also very practical, with a cavernous boot (especially with the seats folded down) and plenty of passenger space. You don’t need to delve too deep into the trim levels, as the entry-level model has plenty of equipment as standard, featuring a reversing camera, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
The 2.5-litre hybrid is the pick of the engine range, with plenty of punch, but the RAV4 won’t excite drivers like a Mazda CX-5. That engine can deliver around 50mpg, which is plenty economical for a large SUV. The party piece with the RAV4 is the 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, the balance of which is transferable to new owners, giving you extra peace of mind in the unlikely event of a hiccup with this very reliable model.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket, the Volvo XC60 could be the choice for you. With its classy design, wide array of safety kit and impressive reliability, it has many fans. The XC60 boasts excellent practicality, with plenty of room for three adults to fit comfortably in the rear, as well as a 468-litre boot. While smaller than the Kia Sportage, it’s easily enough for most family needs and the completely flat boot floor makes it easy to store flat-pack furniture.
The XC60 isn’t and wasn’t meant to be driven like a sports car; instead it’s practical and comfortable. Engine choice is simple and we recommend the 2.0-litre D4 diesel, which performs well and can achieve around 53mpg. There are three main trim levels with the XC60 – Momentum, Inscription and R-Design, plus a ‘Pro’ version of each that adds extra features. All are well equipped and R-Design is the sportier looking of the trio.
The badge on the nose may lead you to think the X1 will be expensive, but that isn’t the case: you can easily find a 2.0-litre 18d SE sDrive around three years old with reasonable mileage for under £15,000. You shouldn’t be worried about standard equipment, either, with all versions of the X1 offering a great list of kit. The 2.0-litre diesel engine, whichever you choose, is quiet and economical.
Boot space in the X1 reaches 505 litres with the rear seats in place and the car also features three-way folding rear seats, which isn’t as common as you might think. BMW is known for being the ‘ultimate driving machine’ and the X1 has agile steering and little body lean from the suspension. If you're looking for a posh SUV that’s fun to drive, you needn’t look much further - especially as the new X1 is much more stylish than the previous model.
Suzuki is well known for building dependable and long-lasting SUVs. This compact SUV handles the hassle of family life with ease thanks to its 375-litre boot, which, although smaller than the Peugeot 2008’s, lets you drop down the rear seats to reveal a continuous flat floor.
The interior design is logical and well laid-out. The entry-level SZ4 model features DAB radio, cruise control and air-conditioning. Mid-range SZ-T trim adds sat nav, rear privacy glass and larger alloys. The entry level 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol is our engine of choice, with sufficient punch for city driving, but it can be loud when worked hard and only returns a modest 45.9mpg.
The Sportage is Kia’s family SUV and the used market is bursting with well-priced examples. Like all Kias, the Sportage comes with a seven-year warranty, so anything younger than this will still be covered. Every Sportage gets 60:40 split-folding rear seats, which boosts practicality, but even with the seats up, it holds 491 litres. Interior quality can be questioned, with some cheap-feeling interior plastics, but don’t let that deter you as it does feel well screwed together.
All models are loaded with plenty of equipment; and our pick is the ‘2’ trim, which features a reversing camera, DAB radio, sat-nav and two-zone air conditioning. Realistically, there are only two engines to mention: the 1.6-litre petrols and diesels, which provides the best combination of performance and affordable running, although the petrol is better suited to low mileage drivers.