Fast SUVs for less than £10,000

Fancy a reasonably nippy SUV for less than £10,000? There are several relatively quick-feeling options available

James Wilson
Nov 30, 2021

Fast SUVs are typically some of the most expensive cars on the road, with SUVs normally costing more than less tall alternatives and high-performance models carrying a further premium. However, there are affordable, practical and relatively nippy second-hand SUVs available for less than £10,000. It is a tough balancing act, though, as the faster the car, the higher the price and the bigger the running costs.

For this reason, we have taken a steadier approach to finding the best fast SUVs for less than £10,000. We have focused on SUVs which are fairly common - so they should be cheap enough to buy or finance and relatively affordable to run - that are up to seven years old and offer a decent sense of performance from behind the wheel.

So, on paper, some of the models below aren't too speedy but all eight are nippy enough, whether that's because they provide strong acceleration, can can corner faster than rivals, or simply feel satisfyingly quick from behind the wheel.

The fastest SUVs below will sprint from 0 to 62mph in around eight seconds, which means that they should feel quick when pulling away from a standstill or overtaking other cars. If you want something with more punch and have more to spend, meawhile, check out the best high-performance SUVs available for £30,000, a budget which unlocks much more rapid machines.

Fast SUVs for less than £10,000

1. Nissan Juke

Used deals from £8,995
Monthly finance from £0*

If you can get on board with its styling, the Nissan Juke is one of the fastest SUVs available for less than £10,000. The quickest Jukes are the Nismo RS versions, although these are hard to find for less than £10,000 - but they typically cost only slightly more.

Nismo models come with a punchy turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine which produces a strong 218hp power output. This puts the Juke Nismo RS firmly in the realms of high-performance hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta ST. Unlike cars such as the Fiesta ST, however, the Nissan can come with either front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.

While the Juke can’t match the Fiesta ST for sporty handling around corners, it does win the ‘attention-grabbing looks’ competition. The Juke is also available with a 190hp version of the 1.6-litre engine, which is easier to find for less than £10,000, and still feels pretty quick for this type of car.

This doesn’t come with the same sporty styling as the Nismo models and is available in ordinary specifications like N-Connecta and Tekna. Other engines are available with these trims, though, so be sure to double-check that any Juke you're considering has the specific engine you're after.


2. Mini Paceman

Used deals from £8,991
Monthly finance from £0*

Mini ended production of the Paceman in 2016, so there aren't a huge amount of models to choose from, but it is still worth tracking one down. All versions of the Paceman are enjoyable to drive, with Cooper S and John Cooper Works (often shortened to 'JCW') being the fastest. JCW models are very rare and often cost more than £10,000, so we’d suggest hunting down a Cooper S. Handily, Cooper S is also a better everyday car, offering strong acceleration but doing without the harder edge of the high-performance JCW.

One of the defining features of the Paceman is its sloping rear roofline. As a result of the shape - and lack of rear doors - the Paceman is best suited to those who don’t often carry rear passengers. The Mini Countryman is a better option for those that do regularly transport passengers.

The boot is roomy, though, and the lip to lift luggage into the boot is relatively low, so the Paceman is still practical enough for many drivers. The final cherry on the cake is that Mini offered the Paceman with a long list of personalisation options when new, so there are all kinds of colour combinations to choose from second-hand.

3. Mazda CX-3

Used deals from £10,239
Monthly finance from £0*

The Mazda CX-3 isn't available with an especially powerful engine, though it feels impressively sporty from behind the wheel. Thanks to direct steering and brakes that provide ample stopping power, the CX-3 gives drivers confidence to take twisty bits of road at a higher speed than they would in most similarly priced SUVs. So while this Mazda might not out-accelerate many cars, few everyday SUVs can corner as quickly and easily.

Other plus points include styling that is smart without being boring, an interior that feels high quality and there isn’t a bad apple in the range of engines. Mazda has semi-regularly updated the CX-3, tweaking standard equipment levels here and the odd material there, so our advice would be to go for the newest model you can afford.

If you live somewhere that gets lots of tough winter weather and want a four-wheel-drive car, there are CX-3s with such setups, although they aren’t as common as two-wheel-drive models and most drivers would be better off sticking with a more affordable two-wheel-drive version and fitting winter tyres for dealing with slippery roads in the colder months.


4. Dacia Duster

Used deals from £6,980
Monthly finance from £219*

The Dacia Duster is not a fast car by traditional standards, but go for one of the versions with a turbocharged petrol engine and it's decently punchy, picking up speed easily enough. Pick one of the previous generation 125hp '1.2TCe' models and the Duster can accelerate to 62mph in around 10 seconds - more than nippy enough for most drivers. Two-wheel-drive versions are lighter and therefore quicker, so if you want the speediest Duster, avoid four-wheel-drive models.

The Dacia Duster is reasonably small on the outside, but fairly large inside, so it could be your main family car. There's enough space for three rear passengers, provided they're not overly broad and a boot up to the task of hauling a holiday’s worth of luggage. As with all cars, though, the less you carry, the faster it will be.



5. Kia Sportage

Used deals from £7,194
Monthly finance from £220*

Unusually, the best relatively quick Kia Sportage isn't the quickest on paper. The 1.7-litre diesel version feels surprisingly nippy, picking up speed much more easily than 1.6-litre petrol version, even though it's the petrol that has the faster official 0-62mph time. Another selling point is that - like all Kias - the Sportage comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, so even models which are creeping past the five-year-old mark have plenty of manufacturer warranty left.

In terms of speed, the 1.6-litre petrol model accelerates from 0 to 62mph in around 11 seconds, however the engine needs to be worked very hard to make good progress. The diesel, meanwhile, pulls much better from low engine speeds, making it feel quicker most of the time. This is quite leisurely but for a relatively large family-size SUV at this price point, the diesel feels fairly sprightly.


6. Ford Kuga

Used deals from £8,495
Monthly finance from £198*

Like the Mazda CX-3 above, the Ford Kuga handles in a way that makes it possible to drive faster than you would in most other SUVs - it feels sporty, regardless of which engine is fitted. From a performance point of view, the best options are the 2.0-litre diesel engines and the 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engines. Both engines are available in different power outputs - with 150hp or 180hp. If you can get a 180hp model on budget, this is worth snapping up, otherwise, the 150hp versions should feel quick enough most of the time.

Ford updated the Kuga in 2017 but the biggest differences were revisions to the styling. As such, opting for an older model can be the financially savvy choice if you want to get the fastest version for your budget. All Kugas rate relatively highly for practicality. There is plenty of space for four adults - the middle seat in the rear will take a fifth person but if they are an adult, there won’t be a whole lot of space.


7. BMW X1

Used deals from £9,490
Monthly finance from £324*

It's a little tricky to find a relatively new BMW X1 for less than £10,000, but it you can - or if you're happy to spend a little more - it's a great choice. The X1 is an appealing upmarket and relatively speedy crossover. BMW has built a name for itself as a manufacturer of drivers' cars, and even the less powerful X1 models are reasonably quick and enjoyable to drive.

We’d look for a 20d diesel or a 20i petrol model. Of the trims available M Sport is best for those wanting a sporty X1 as this was available with firmer suspension, which is great for helping to reduce body roll, which enables drivers to take corners faster. The firmer suspension was not standard with the X1, though, so be sure to double-check that the cars you're considering have this fitted, if agility around corners is high on your wish list.


8. Fiat Panda 4X4

Used deals from £6,795
Monthly finance from £0*

Is the Fiat Panda 4x4 particularly fast in a straight line? No. Does it have an impressively high top speed? No. What then, makes it a fast SUV? That would be its four-wheel-drive system, tiny size and light weight. Fit it with decent winter tyres and you can whizz around on slippery icy or snowy roads with impressive levels of control, while others are struggling to get moving or to stop safely.

Part of this is because the Panda is very compact and it has big windows so you can relatively easily judge if it will fit through narrow gaps. Plus, being so light the Panda doesn’t need a powerful engine to get it moving. When back on tarmac, the Panda is quite a comfy car to drive thanks to its soft suspension, meaning that you should be able to maintain a good speed even on rough rural roads that might cause drivers in firmer and more sporty cars to slow down.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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