Best cheap SUVs for sale

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

Simon Ostler John Evans
Jul 30, 2020

There are so many reasons why SUVs and crossovers have become such a popular choice for drivers from all kinds of backgrounds. They offer an imposing high driving position alongside the space and practicality of a hatchback.

While the majority of these high-riding SUVs sacrifice the ruggedness of a typical 4x4 - they’re predominantly built with the road in mind - it's the confidence inspiring size that makes them popular, even though they feel, for the most part, like regular hatchbacks from behind the wheel. That distance from the road does tend to make them more comfortable, but that's by no means a universal trait.

One way these taller cars do differ from hatchbacks is in price. SUVs are generally more expensive than standard family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf - even when they could be very similarly equipped and often built from on idential base.

The fact they have become so popular however means that we are beginning to see SUVs and crossovers become the most common among new releases, and they're selling in huge numbers. But that does mean there’s more choice than ever on the used market, and there are plenty of bargains out there if you spend a bit of time searching.

Best cheap SUVs

1. Suzuki Vitara

Best cheap SUV for value for money

Our pick Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ5 Allgrip
Used deals from £7,999
Monthly finance from £145

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 is only available in high-specification SZ5 trim. At least this brings more comfort and equipment, including a panoramic sunroof.


2. Mazda CX-5

Best cheap SUV for all-round competence

Our pick Mazda CX-5 2.2d Sport
Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £167

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.


3. Toyota RAV4

Best cheap SUV for space

Our pick Toyota RAV4 2.0D D4-D Icon
Used deals from £10,048
Monthly finance from £190

The Toyota RAV4 offers an enormous amount of room 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 and should return around 50mpg in normal driving with very little effort.


4. Renault Kadjar

Best cheap SUV for economy

Our pick Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique
Used deals from £8,699
Monthly finance from £133

The Renault Kadjar shares 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 has a bigger boot too.

2016 cars are excellent value: representative monthly finance payments, with a ten per cent deposit, start at way 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.


5. Nissan Qashqai

Best cheap SUV for large choice

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.5 DCI Acenta
Used deals from £7,500
Monthly finance from £144

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.


6. Jeep Renegade

Best cheap SUV for rough terrain

Our pick Jeep Renegade 1.6 Multijet II Longitude
Used deals from £9,050
Monthly finance from £156

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.

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.


7. Peugeot 3008

Best cheap SUV for practicality

Our pick Peugeot 3008 1.6 HDi 115 Allure
Used deals from £5,849
Monthly finance from £117

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.


8. BMW X1

Best cheap SUV for a sporty drive

Our pick BMW X1 18d SE xDrive
Used deals from £10,499
Monthly finance from £199

A high-riding SUV it may not be, but the compact X1 still feels sporty like a BMW, with plenty of grip and very little lean in the corners. The ride is smooth, too, unless you find a car with optional M-Sport suspension, which makes it much harder and less comfortable.

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.


9. Honda CR-V

Best cheap SUV for easy ownership

Our pick Honda CR-V 2.0i-VTEC SE
Used deals from £8,499
Monthly finance from £162

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.


10. Volkswagen Tiguan

Best cheap SUV for lasting quality

Our pick VW Tiguan 2.0 TDi Bluemotion Tech Match
Used deals from £9,965
Monthly finance from £186

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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