Best used SUVs
Want to find an affordable SUV? Check out our list of the top 10 best used SUVs available.
Buying and owning a brand-new car can be exciting, however buying used leaves you with more money in your pocket, with a cheaper initial price and much less value lost as soon as you drive the car out of the showroom.
The biggest concern for new-car buyers 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 numberplate or the ‘new-car smell’.
The SUV market is growing at a rapid pace, with more and more new models making their way out of showrooms. 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.
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 with 113bhp, 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.
Based on the Mazda2, the CX-3 is the SUV most reminiscent of a sports car, with its sharp styling and characterful driving experience. The CX-3 is moderately practical for a compact SUV, but isn’t class-leading. It features a 350-litre boot (although the Bose sound system cuts into the boot space of top models) and a flat floor when the seats are folded down, which makes it easy to push items to the front. Mazda has a reputation for building reliable cars and the CX-3 is no different.
Engine choices are simple, with the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel returning best fuel economy, at an impressive 54.3mpg. If you’re looking for a petrol, there’s a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G, which is cheaper and quicker than the diesel, but also thirstier, returning 42.8mpg. Equipment is generous, with the SE-L trim receiving rear parking sensors, climate control and a seven-inch infotainment system as standard. Safety equipment is plentiful across the range, with stability control and lane-departure warning both included.
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.
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 an impressive 60.1mpg. 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 a 456-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 2.0-litre TDCi diesels and it’s the engine of choice, with quiet cruising ability and enough punch for overtaking. This engine is normally paired with the Zetec trim level, but look for a Titanium car and you’ll get upgrades like keyless start, rear parking sensors and dual zone climate control.
One of the most compact cars on our list, the Peugeot 2008 provides excellent value for money with low running costs, a spacious interior and a comforting drive. The 2008 isn’t all perfect, with much of the used range featuring the breathless 1.2-litre 82bhp PureTech petrol engine twinned with Active trim, which is rather spartan. The design of the 2008 features an aggressive exterior and innovative interior.
Practicality is good but not class-leading, although the 410-litre boot is larger than the Mazda CX-3’s. The 2008 doesn’t feature many different engines, but there are plenty of power outputs. Our picks are the 44.8mpg mid-range 1.2-litre PureTech petrol or the 100bhp 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel, which can return up to 67mpg. Our pick of the trims is Allure, which features reversing sensors, rear privacy glass and dual-zone climate control. If you’re after a sporty look, the top-of-the-range GT Line 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 Icon model has plenty of equipment as standard, featuring a reversing camera, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
The 2.0-litre D-4D diesel 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 will return just over 60mpg, which is plenty economical for a large SUV. The party piece with the RAV4 is the five-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 an excellent comfortable. Engine choice is simple and we recommend the 2.0-litre D4 diesel, which performs well and returns 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.