Best used SUV 2024
If there's one thing better than buying a new SUV, it's opting for a used one. Somebody else has taken the depreciation hit, so you can spend the thousands of pounds you save on doing lifestyle things at weekends.
At least, that's what the SUV brochures tell us. In reality, you're likely to be doing less exciting things, like battling the other family SUVs on the school run, squeezing bags of groceries into the large boot, dealing with the congestion on the inner ring road, or queuing up for a milkshake at the drive-thru.
Almost every manufacturer offers an SUV of some description, from compact SUVs based on small hatchbacks to large SUVs with space for seven. Most come with the latest safety and connectivity tech, while some even come with four-wheel-drive for some reassurance in rough weather.
Here, we've selected our favourite used SUV, including a couple of electric versions.
Best used SUVs
MG ZS EV
Electric SUVs are all the rage with new car buyers right now, but they’ve been around for long enough that there are some great used electric SUVs available to buy. And the MG ZS EV is one of the best. It’s a small SUV that represented great value when it was new, and even better value now. It’s spacious inside for its size, both for passengers and luggage, and with a range of up to 273 miles if you choose the Long Range version, it should cover everyday journeys for most people with no issues. You can now pick one up for less than £13,000.
Like the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 is another long-running SUV. We like the angular looks of the 2013-2019 generation, which is gradually becoming temptingly affordable. It’s not the most interesting of vehicles inside, but it compensates with plenty of space and a good level of standard equipment. You can also get it in hybrid guise, both with front-wheel-drive and grippy all-wheel-drive, which shuts down the engine wherever possible to save fuel and reduce emissions. Brilliantly reliable, the RAV4 came with a five-year warranty from new, so later cars still have some manufacturer cover remaining for further peace of mind.
The Nissan Qashqai is the car that began the crossover SUV boom. Good as the original is – and it’s a bit of a used SUV bargain these days – we prefer the second-generation model, sold between 2014 and 2021. It has a more sophisticated appearance and a higher-quality interior with clever features to make everyday life easier. Many secondhand models come with Nissan’s comprehensive infotainment system, too. Plenty of early Qashqais were sold with diesel engines, but we’d keep an eye out for the later 1.3-litre TCe petrol. In 160PS guise, it’s also available with a DCT automatic transmission.
The Volkswagen T-Roc is a compact SUV positioned between the diminutive T-Cross and larger Tiguan. Derived from the previous-generation Volkswagen Golf, its sporty styling is matched by how it drives, with a nimble and eager feel from behind the wheel. Punchy turbocharged engines provide a decent amount of oomph, and it easily handles fully-laden family trips to the seaside. While some of the interior plastics are a bit scratchy, it’s generally very well built, and is proving reliable. Relatively sensible new prices mean it offers good value on the secondhand market as well. It’s certainly a used SUV to look out for.
After a premium electric SUV that’s cracking good fun to drive? The Jaguar I-Pace is fast, luxurious and sleek, and being a Jaguar it’s designed for those that really want engagement and enjoyment behind the wheel. A single battery charge will get you up to 292 miles and the twin electric motors develop 400PS for scintillating acceleration. The interior is beautifully appointed and there’s space for a family inside, with a 505-litre boot. With used prices now touching £20,000, it’s a lot of modern car for the money.
The second-generation Ford Kuga, sold between 2013 and 2020, is a car that became increasingly popular with every passing year. Building on the sporty attitude of the short-lived original, it continued to offer an engaging driving experience, but backed this up with a spacious interior, roomy boot and better long-distance comfort for when you’re not snaking speedily up mountain passes. EcoBoost petrol engines are a smooth and powerful alternative to diesel, and all-wheel-drive versions back up the Kuga’s rugged looks with good slippery-road grip in all weathers. The Ford Sync infotainment system is surprisingly comprehensive and easy to use, too.
The Kia Sportage doesn’t only earn its place here thanks to its brilliant seven-year warranty, but it undoubtedly helps. It means most examples of the 2016-2021 model for sale on the used market still benefit from a full manufacturer warranty. However, the Sportage has plenty of other talents. It looks good, the sophisticated interior is robust and roomy, and Kia equipment levels are generous across the board. As the basic petrol engine is a bit slow, and the turbo alternative is a bit thirsty, we’d look at the diesel versions, particularly the 1.6-litre CRDi. Facelifted cars from 2018 onwards get particularly eye-catching LED running lights and improved infotainment.
The Hyundai Tucson is the compact SUV sister car to the Kia Sportage. It has a five-year warranty instead of the Kia’s seven – but rather than being capped at 100,000 miles, it’s actually unlimited in distance. Just the ticket for high-mileage motorists (and proof of how much faith Hyundai has in its strong-selling SUV). The engine line-up is the same as the Kia, while equipment levels are generally comparable. Testers suggest the Hyundai has a slightly comfier ride, to contrast with the sportier Sportage, but it’s still only degrees of difference. Either makes for a very sound and dependable used SUV.
The large seven-seat Kodiaq was the first proper SUV from Skoda. Sophisticated in appearance, with a commanding and upmarket feel from behind the wheel, it was a hit from the off. Volkswagen engineering provides an excellent range of engines, plus a chassis that’s stable through bends and comfortable over bumps. The Kodiaq also has a good haul of standard safety features. Solid Skoda build quality means it’s made to last, and it’s a good choice both for large families and, thanks to the clever fold-flat third-row seats, smaller families who want the flexibility of a truly enormous boot.
The current SsangYong Rexton was introduced in 2017 and quickly gained plaudits as the Korean firm’s most grown-up and luxurious car to date. It’s a large SUV that caravanners will immediately be drawn to, courtesy of a massive 3.5-tonne towing capacity. The rugged chassis means it’s great off-road as well, with loads of traction and plenty of ground clearance. The huge interior is very well equipped, and the quality of fit and finish impresses, particularly given the Rexton’s very affordable used prices. The 2.2-litre diesel engine’s 181PS sounds a bit weedy on paper, but it compensates with loads of mid-range pulling power. Best of all, this used SUV comes with a tremendous seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty for ultimate peace of mind.
What is the most reliable used SUV?
The used SUVs featured in our guide are generally very reliable, particularly Japanese models such as the Toyota RAV4. The Korean duo, the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson, are also cars you can rely upon, backed up by lengthy warranties from new. SsangYong offers a Kia-rivalling seven-year warranty on the Rexton, too. The newer the SUV you buy, the more original manufacturer warranty will remain.
Are used SUVs safe?
SUVs are generally a little safer than regular cars. That’s because they are bigger, taller and heavier, and car manufacturers use this to aid occupant protection. All the SUVs we have featured here also come with comprehensive safety assist systems, which include technology such as autonomous emergency braking and all-round parking sensors (and cameras) to make low-speed manoeuvring that bit safer. Check the safety ratings on the official Euro NCAP website if you’re unsure.
How much do used SUVs cost to run?
By and large, SUVs do cost a bit more to run. They consume a little more fuel than a regular car, and insurance can be more expensive. However, the differences aren’t enormous, and the best used SUVs should broadly be comparable with regular cars in terms of running costs. Models such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can actually have a positive impact on your fuel bills, thanks to their efficiency. Electric cars like the MG ZS EV and Jaguar I-Pace can be even more cost-effective, as there are fewer moving parts to go wrong, and fuel costs are considerably lower. Equally, choosing a Kia Sportage or SsangYong Rexton means you won’t have to consider an extended warranty until the vehicle is seven years old.