Have you ever wondered what to look for in a used SUV?
Buying a used car can be a bit of a minefield if you’re unprepared, but the good news is that it’s not all that difficult to make things a lot easier – just make sure you know what to look for. In this article we’ll focus on used SUVs, but the advice here applies to pretty much any used car.
What to look for in a used SUV
In this short guide to buying a used SUV we’ll look at each step you need to take along the way and what you need to keep in mind at each stage. We’ll also pick out some of our favourite used SUVs to give you an idea of which models are best.
Budgeting and getting a car valuation
The first thing you need to sort out when buying a used car is how much you can afford to spend. The main thing here will be the state of your personal finances, but one thing you can do to help work out your spending money is get a car valuation.
There are plenty of online services to help with this, or you can look at classified ads for similar cars to yours to find out roughly what it’s worth. Be aware that you’ll get a chunk less from trading in at a dealer (or selling to a car buying service) than you would for selling privately, but it’s a lot easier to do the former.
Choosing a model that’s right for you
Once you’ve got a budget in mind you can decide on which cars you might be interested in. Most people choose cars at least partially based on how they look, and that’s fine – but just remember that beauty can be skin-deep. Some of the models you don’t like the look of might have all the practicality, tech and quality you want, so it’s worth reading up on all your choices.
You can use any number of online car review sites to find models you might like. As an example, here we’ve put together a list from Parkers of some of the best family SUVs.
Best family SUVs
Best for families: Ford Kuga
The Ford Kuga is good to drive, practical and affordable, so it makes a great family car.
Best for handling: Mazda CX-3
The sharp-looking Mazda CX-3 is great to drive and has lots of standard equipment, but it’s not the most practical choice.
Best for technology: Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai has a great array of safety kit and in-car tech, plus it has a spacious interior and some economical engines to choose from.
Best for off-road driving: Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is surprisingly good at off-roading but still works well as an everyday car – plus it has some great engines and low running costs.
Best for equipment: Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage is really practical and has loads of standard equipment at an affordable price.
Best for reliability: Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson came with a five-year warranty from new, so some used models are still covered by this. Either way, it shows how confident the maker is about the car’s reliability.
Best for fashion conscious: Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500 is a stylish car, so why not consider the 500X? It’s an SUV version of the popular city car and is a lot more practical too.
Best for city drivers: Renault Captur
The Renault Captur is a small SUV that’s easy to drive and works well in cities because it’s simple to park, cheap to run and looks good.
Best for rural drivers: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a smart-looking and practical SUV with lots of standard kit, and it’s good value.
Best for new car value: Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster can be bought new for less than most of the other cars above are used, but as a used car it’s even cheaper – it’s a bargain, plain and simple.
Test driving and choosing a car for you
Once you’ve got a shortlist of two or three cars that you are the most interested in, you should go to a dealer and take a test drive. Don’t buy a car without testing it first to see if it’s comfortable, easy enough to drive or even if it can fit in your buggy or golf clubs.
When you test drive the car, try to pay attention to any rattles, knocks or odd sounds. Maybe the steering isn’t quite right, or the air-con doesn’t work – it’s worth trying all the functions out to make sure it’s all ok. You should never feel pressured to buy a car you don’t think is right – just walk away. There’s always another car of the same type just around the corner.
Once you’ve decided which model you want to buy, you’re on the home straight – just make sure you’re getting good value for money by checking prices and specifications of other similar models that are also for sale.
What to look for in a used SUV is a feature post