Best cheap SUVs for sale

Tall, spacious and rugged at prices you won't believe: our pick of cheap used SUVs

John Evans
May 23, 2018

An imposing driving position. Interior space. Ground clearance. These are just some of the reasons why more and more people are switching to SUVs.

Modern SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) might trade on ruggedness, but they’re built with the road in mind, meaning they mostly drive like regular hatchbacks.

Of course, the trade off is that SUVs generally cost more than a standard fit family car like a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.

The continued trend towards them does mean that there’s more choice than ever, and that there are plenty of bargains out there.

We've highlighted ten great value cheap SUVs below; it's also worth reading the quick need-to-know guide to protect yourself against future diesel charges. 

Buying a cheap diesel SUV: need-to-know

  • Most SUVs are diesel cars and older models could put you at risk of inner-city clean air zone charges in the future. That's because most cars first sold before September 2015 don't comply with the latest emissions regulations, known as Euro 6.
    All cars sold after this date had to comply and only Euro 6 cars are expected to be exempt from car charging zones in the future (including London's ultra-low emissions zone, or ULEZ, next year). Every car's specification should include the emissions Euro rating (running from 1 to 6).
  • A second-hand diesel SUV could save you money, though: cars registered before April 2017 fall under the old road tax system which favours diesels. You'll pay less tax than you would with a newer car if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are under 130g/km.
  • Despite their design, most smaller and cheaper SUVs are not designed to go off road, and many don't even have four-wheel drive, which can help avoid getting stuck on slippery surfaces, but adds weight and cost. If you do want it, then it was available - at least as an option - on most of the cars below.

Best cheap SUVs

Suzuki Vitara

Best cheap SUV for value for money

Our pick Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ5 Allgrip (2015, 35,000 miles)
Typical price £13,985  Representative finance £221 per month

This latest version of the Suzuki Vitara is good value new because it leaves out expensive luxuries, such as soft-touch plastics and high-tech options, in favour of a hard-wearing and spacious interior.

It's not been made on the cheap though, and that's clear when you feel the car's stability over bumps and through corners, which keeps bouncing and leaning in check.

You can have it in cheaper two-wheel-drive form but the four-wheel drive version badged Allgrip isn't overly It’s only available in high-specification SZ5 trim, but at least this brings more comfort and equipment including a panoramic sunroof.
Suzuki Vitara buying guide


Mazda CX-5

Best cheap SUV for all-round competence

Our pick Mazda CX-5 2.2d Sport (2013, 27,000 miles)
Typical price £13,690  Representative finance £210 per month

This is the first-generation CX-5 (the current, second-generation model was launched in 2017), which is still an exceptionally good choice of family car, with plenty of space for adults in the front and back, plus a big boot.

But the CX-5 really impresses in the way that it drives. You can almost forget the height and bulk; its sharp cornering and grip put you in mind of a small and nimble hatchback, while it also remains steady on rough roads.

It's a fairly safe choice for diesel buyers too, as all CX-5s should meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations (it's worth double-checking). You can expect real-world fuel economy of almost 45mpg from the 2.2-litre diesel engine.
Mazda CX-5 buying guide


Toyota RAV4

Best cheap SUV for space

Our pick Toyota RAV4 2.0D D4-D Icon (2015, 37,000 miles)
Typical price £13,980  Representative finance £216 per month

The Toyota RAV4 offers an enormous amount of space for a very reasonable price. Interior space is excellent, especially in the back, thanks to the car’s flat floor. The 547-litre boot will swallow five occupants’ luggage with comparative ease, too.

The 2-litre diesel engine is economical too, and should return around 50mpg in normal driving with very little effort.
Toyota RAV4 buying guide


Renault Kadjar

Best cheap SUV for economy

Our pick Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique (2016, 15,000 miles)
Typical price £13,000  Representative finance £193 per month

The Renault Kadjar ishares its mechanical parts with the Nissan Qashqai, as the companies are linked. The Kadjar is slightly newer than the Nissan and - more importantly - it's got a bigger boot too.

Prices for 2016 car are excellent value: representative monthly finance payments, with a ten per cent deposit, are less than £200. Kadjars powered by the 1.2-litre petrol engine are nippy at lower speeds and more cost-effective for lower-mileage drivers. The diesel car is better on longer journeys, where you can expect around 55mpg.
Renault Kadjar buying guide


Nissan Qashqai

Best cheap SUV for large choice

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.5 DCI Acenta (2014, 34,000 miles)
Typical price £9,990  Representative finance £159 per month

The Nissan Qashqai is the default choice for a lot of SUV buyers on a budget because it's an impressive all-round package, offering comfort, good fuel economy and a keen price.

The boot might be a little on the small side, but it remains the choice of hundreds of thousands of families. The current-generation car now costs less than £10,000 on the used market, with representative monthly finance payments approaching £150.

This does buy you one of the earliest cars with a diesel engine that doesn't meet the latest emissions standards. Petrol options are available too, though, as are more recent models for a little more.
Nissan Qashqai buying guide


Jeep Renegade

Best cheap SUV for rough terrain

Our pick Jeep Renegade 1.6 Multijet II Longitude (2016, 38,000 miles)
Typical price £11,995  Representative finance £186 per month

The rugged and utilitarian design of the smallest Jeep isn't just for show. Opt for one of the higher-specification cars with four-wheel drive and it will shrug off muddy tracks and steep, slippery hills with ease.

You'll need to pay a higher price, though - starting from around £14,500. Most buyers will find the cheaper two-wheel drive Renegade perfectly adequate. The interior is as characterful as the outside. Some of the materials don't feel particularly plush but the boxy shape does create a good amount of interior space.
Jeep Renegade buying guide


Peugeot 3008

Best cheap SUV for practicality

Our pick Peugeot 3008 1.6 HDi 115 Allure (2013, 43,000 miles)
Typical price £7,489  Representative finance £127 per month

The latest 3008 is the best family SUV you can buy, with stylish design, futuristic interior and excellent all-round drive quality.

This earlier-generation car isn't quite as loved but, at less than half the price of a nearly new later model, it's excellent value for money.

Plenty of space, high equipment levels and practical touches - such as an adjustable boot floor - make this 3008 ideal for family use. Engineered for comfort, it has soft suspension that soaks up the impacts over bumps, but causes the car to lean in fast corners - so it's best enjoyed by smooth drivers.

Earlier 2013 cars have diesel engines, which don't meet the latest emissions standards. The last of this generation were produced in 2016 with cleaner engines and now cost from around £13,000.
Peugeot 3008 buying guide



Best cheap SUV for a sporty drive

Our pick BMW X1 18d SE xDrive (2015, 33,000 miles)
Typical price £12,999  Representative finance £190 per month

A high-riding SUV it may be but the compact X1 still feels sporty like a BMW, with plenty of grip and very little leaning in corners. The ride is smooth, too, unless you find a car with optional M-Sport suspension.

This model was replaced by a new X1 in 2015 and you can pick up one of the last of the line with four-wheel drive (badged xDrive) for less than £13,000 or under £200 a month with representative finance.

Its mid-power 2.0-litre diesel engine is a good compromise between power, economy and price. You can expect around 45mpg in real-world driving, but you'll be charged to drive into the centre of London from next year as it doesn't meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.
BMW X1 buying guide


Honda CR-V

Best cheap SUV for easy ownership

Our pick Honda CR-V 2.0i-VTEC SE (2013, 37,000 miles)
Typical price £10,995  Representative finance £178 per month

Soon to be replaced with a new model, the Honda CR-V is still a good option if you need a big five-seat SUV. It's fairly comfortable, even to the extent that the rear seat backs recline a little, but not as smooth over rough roads as the best in class.

Unusually for this size of SUV, there's a reasonable choice of petrol versions, as well as diesel. Petrol fuel economy is around 30mpg in real-world driving, compared with 40mpg for the diesel, but you'll pay less in the first place.
Honda CR-V buying guide


VW Tiguan

Best cheap SUV for lasting quality

Our pick VW Tiguan 2.0 TDi Bluemotion Tech Match (2014, 27,000 miles)
Typical price £12,000  Representative finance £177 per month

The Tiguan is essentially a Volkswagen Golf that's been raised and made to look more rugged, so it's a cut above the Nissan Qashqai, even if this model has been replaced by an all-new version.

This older car is spacious, with a sliding rear seat that can be moved backwards to increase legroom, or forward for more boot space. Rear parking sensors are standard on cars built after 2011 and the diesel engine is fairly efficient too - you can expect around 44mpg in normal driving.


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