Best used SUVs and crossovers

Tall and practical with a rugged design - and great value too. These are the best used SUVs and crossovers

James Mills
Sep 21, 2020

You might know them as SUVs, off-roaders, crossovers or even 4x4s, but these cars all have one thing in common: they are good at dealing with family life, designed entirely around making life easier for parents dealing with children.

With a much higher driving position than hatchbacks and estate cars, SUVs or crossovers afford a commanding view of the world, giving owners a heightened sense of safety. Some seat five; others throw in a third row of seats to carry seven, but all of them offer enough space for gadgets and gizmos, books and bottles, and considerate touches such as USB charging points and ventilation controls for those in the back to keep passengers of all ages occupied and tantrum-free.

They may not be as economical as some other family cars, or feel as precise to drive, but the best SUVs will smooth out Britain’s crumbling roads as if by magic. They’re usefully taller than the average family hatchback too - making it easier to load and unload kids in most cases.

The choice of used models is plentiful and prices can be surprisingly affordable. All you need to be aware of are potentially higher running costs: fuel bills, the cost of tyres and routine servicing can be higher than, say, an estate car. Click below for all available deals or scroll down for our pick of the best.

The best used SUVs and crossovers 

So what's the difference between an SUV and a crossover? Well, from the outside you probably wouldn't notice the difference, they're both high riding practicality mobiles, the difference comes when you look beneath that bulky bodywork. In basic terms, a crossover will tend to be based upon a small hatchback, so all of the mechanical parts such as the engine and the suspension will be virtually identical - an example would be the Renault Captur, which is mechanically identical in many ways to a Renault Clio. This means that, despite a more rugged appearance, it's unlikely to be much better suited to off-roading.

An SUV on the other hand is more mechanically similar to a van, making it larger first off, but also stronger and more suited to harsh terrain and agricultural uses.

1. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Best used SUV for seven seats in a compact package

Our pick Discovery Sport HSE 7-seat SD4 190
Used deals from £16,995
Monthly finance from £257

Forget about the ‘Sport’ label on the Discovery Sport; it’s Land Rover’s way of playing tricks on your mind. This is not a sporty car in any sense. Nevertheless, it is a terrific family car.

The ace up its sleeve is that it is compact enough to be relatively easy to manoeuvre in a multi-storey car park, but inside all but the cheapest Pure models come with seven seats. Just don’t expect adults to thank you for spending hours in the rearmost row; children are a much better fit.

Some models are available with two-wheel drive only, which reduces the weight of the car and improves fuel economy, but the majority come with four-wheel drive for when you need the extra grip, such as for towing or tackling muddy farm tracks. It isn’t the cheapest car of its type, but holds its value well, making finance more affordable than you might think.


2. Skoda Yeti

Best used SUV for standing out of the crowd

Our pick Skoda Yeti SE 1.2 TSI
Used deals from £7,800
Monthly finance from £137

With a name like Yeti, you know that Skoda’s SUV is going to be one of the more quirky options before you’ve even set eyes on it. And sure enough, it looks like nothing else on the road, with a bluff nose and boxy passenger compartment that isn’t exactly cut out for the catwalk. However, it really is striking and depending upon the specification and colour chosen can be both striking and even sophisticated.

But look beyond the obvious and you’ll find a practical car that’s surprisingly sprightly to drive. The rear seats, for example, slide on rails; the backrests tilt to help passengers get comfortable; they also fold down in 40/20/40 configuration – perfect for loading some woodwork or plumbing materials through the space in the middle; and can even be removed, giving space to make a van driver envious.

The tried and trusted 2.0-litre diesel engine is the by far the most popular engine, and some models feature four-wheel drive, but if you don’t do many miles in a year, try a cheaper 1.2 TSI petrol instead, as this will cost you less overall. And if you want something sporty-feeling with added performance and all-wheel drive grip, try the turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol option.


3. Nissan Qashqai

Best used SUV for a value for money all-rounder

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta
Used deals from £6,750
Monthly finance from £132

The current version of the Nissan Qashqai went on sale in 2014 and some of the early models now cost around £9,000, with monthly finance payments close to £150.

It's not the best car in its class, but to many motorists it’s the equivalent of a comfort blanket, taking care of all their needs at a price they can afford with a name they recognise. The interior is well made, some versions come packed with technology - including electronic driving aids - back seat legroom is impressive but the boot is on the small side for a family SUV.

It’s smooth and stable to drive, with pretty good fuel economy, but the lower-powered, 1.5-litre diesel engine can feel a bit feeble at times, such as when the Qashqai is loaded up for a family holiday.


4. Volvo XC90

Best used SUV for safety and space

Our pick Volvo XC90 Momentum D5
Used deals from £14,995
Monthly finance from £276

There are no prizes for guessing that the caring Swedes build some of the safest cars. But did you know that since records of vehicle fatalities began, nobody inside a Volvo XC90 has ever been killed in Britain? (At the time of publication, at least).

So if you want your loved ones to be as safe as possible – and who doesn’t – then the Volvo XC90 is for you. A quick exploration of the interior suggests it was designed by someone who has children - lots of children. The space on offer is huge and comfort levels are very high - perfect for keeping parents relaxed and reducing how often shouts of 'are we neally there yet?' are heard, too.

It’s not as expensive as some may imagine, and used versions of the latest model, sold since 2015 is coming down in price.


5. Range Rover Evoque

Best used SUV for getting envious looks from the neighbours

Our pick Range Rover Evoque Dynamic 3-door SD4 190
Used deals from £17,799
Monthly finance from £276

Buy an SUV and the neighbours can’t help but notice that your life is going swimmingly. And when it comes to getting envious looks from those next door, few cars will have people peering past the curtains quite like the Range Rover Evoque.

There is a trade-off, however. The low roof that gives the Evoque its striking stance means the rear seats feel a little cramped – more like a coupe than a tall SUV. But in other ways this helps, by keeping the car’s weight low and making it feel surprisingly sporty on a nice stretch of road.

Unusually, there’s a choice of three- and five-door models. It means this is one used SUV that could actually end up being more of a stylish fashion statement for many owners than the most practical family holdall. A new Range Rover Evoque has just hit the streets, so expect prices of this older model to fall sharply.


6. Dacia Duster

Best used SUV for budget motoring

Our pick Dacia Duster Ambiance dCi 110 4x4
Used deals from £5,650
Monthly finance from £105

Dacia is effectively where Skoda was 15 years ago, offering outstanding value for money to budget-conscious drivers. However, its cars, notably the Duster, are far from dated. Even when new, the Duster was calculated to be Britain’s most affordable car to buy and run over three years. Think of the bargain it becomes after a few years, especially as it has been replaced by a newer model, which tends to push the price down further.

The Duster uses Renault engines, and the diesel is a hard-worker that returns more than 50mpg in real-world driving. There’s a choice of two- and four-wheel drive versions, and with the latter you get a car that’s ideal for tackling winter weather, wet grass fields of slippery slipways.

The fit and finish of the interior means it's not the last word in style or quality but the Duster is hard-wearing and there’s enough space for a family of five, while the big 475-litre boot will happily carry the pet pooch and plenty more besides.


7. Kia Sportage

Best used SUV for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi
Used deals from £9,790
Monthly finance from £149

Buy a three-year old Sportage and you’ll still have four years remaining on its warranty. Bearing in mind a car is probably the most expensive thing any of us will pay for, other than our home, having that peace of mind (thanks to every new Kia’s seven year warranty, that transfers to the next owner) is a serious selling point.

The Sportage is a good-looking car but proves to be more than just a pretty face. Its interior is spacious, the dashboard is sensibly laid out and the boot is large. The tricky bit will come deciding which model to go for. The 1.7 diesel engine has sufficient performance for daily driving duties and is surprisingly pleasant to drive, but those who need four-wheel drive will have to pick the larger, 2.0-litre version.

Also, brush up on what comes with the different trim levels before you buy, as the entry-level ‘1’ is a little miserly, whereas the ‘2’ comes with parking sensors at the back, a glass sunroof and part-leather seats. As with most Kias, you get more kit than you expect - bar with that basic model - so when buying used paying a small premium to get the next trim up could get you tonnes more kit.


8. Peugeot 3008

Best used SUV for fuel economy

Our pick Peugeot 3008 1.6 Blue HDI Allure
Used deals from £11,499
Monthly finance from £194

The current 3008 has helped make Peugeots more desirable, replacing the last model that – let’s be honest - looked like a porpoise.

Stylish looks inside and out, comfortable and predictable performance, and the option of a clever system called Grip Control, which can improve traction in slippery conditions are among its key attractions. Some versions return impressive fuel economy too. For example, the 1.6-litre diesel with engine stop and start can return more than 50mpg in real-world driving.

The 3008 is not all about frugal living, though. The digital dashboard (a screen behind the steering wheel and one in the middle of the dashboard) looks high-tech and the information display can be customised. The interior is roomy, too, with plenty of rear head and legroom. In short, it marks a return to form for the French car maker.


9. Lexus RX

Best used SUV for reliability

Our pick Lexus RX450h Advance
Used deals from £26,750
Monthly finance from £401

As a hybrid SUV, with a petrol engine that’s helped along by an electric motor, the Lexus RX is economical in town, but that's not its strongest selling point. The big SUV is one of the most dependable cars that you can buy, and was named the most reliable new car in 2016's Auto Express Driver Power survey.

That award was based on one-year-old cars (pictured) and came just after the launch of a replacement model in mid-2015.

It's easy to tell which model you're looking at, thanks to the enormous grille that covers the front of the new car, stretching from the bonnet to the bottom of the car. The earlier models just have a small grille above the number plate. Overall, the RX impresses with impressive comfort, quietness and build quality. And Lexus dealers are regularly praised by owners.

10. Porsche Macan

Best used SUV for a sporty drive

Our pick Porsche Macan S diesel
Used deals from £29,900
Monthly finance from £411

Even when it's more than three years old, the Porsche Macan still costs more than some brand new rivals, which says everything about demand for the car and its quality. It means owners don’t lose lots of money through the dreaded D-word – depreciation. And yes, that might mean you might have to pay a high cash price for a used model but since it maintains its value so well, used car PCP finance costs are surprisingly affordable.

It's the SUV that feels most like a car to drive, responding sharply when you turn the steering wheel, while remaining flat. It's also surprisingly comfortable over bumps. And the range of engines means those feeling flush can travel seriously fast, with the Turbo version proving near-as-damn-it as swift as its sports car sibling, the 911.

The quality of the interior is what you would expect from Porsche and it doesn't skimp on equipment, having features such as a digital radio, parking sensors, two colour displays and trailer stability control for safe towing.



Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars for business people

  2. Luxury car finance deals

  3. Seven-seater plug-in cars

What our customers say