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Best used small SUVs for less than £15,000

Small SUVs blend practicality with value and are some of the most popular used cars in the UK. Here are our top 10 favourites for less than £15,000...


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What Car? team

The soaring sales of SUVs are a testament to the fact that almost everyone wants one these days. And the chances are, if you’re reading this, you do too.

We don’t blame you – today’s best SUVs combine a raised driving position with a practical and versatile interior space that offers plenty of room for the whole family. But, of course, you’ll probably also want a car that’s light and easy to drive, and not so large that it’s impossible to park, and this is where small SUVs, like the ones we’ve featured here, come in.

Thanks to booming sales, there’s now a massive choice of these cars on the used car market. Here, we’ve rounded up our 10 best for less than £15,000, to help you work out which one’s best for you.

10

Citroen C3 Aircross

Used Citroen C3 Aircross 2017 - present

Based on the cheap-as-chips hatchback C3, the Aircross mixes funky styling with flexible interior seating, and these attributes certainly set the car apart from its rivals. You can also get a really good nearly new example for our chosen budget here. It's just a shame that the driving experience is not quite a match for those eye-catching looks. 

We found: 2019 Citroën C3 Aircross 1.2 110 Puretech Flair, 9000 miles, £14,500

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Pros

  • Strong turbocharged 1.2-litre engine
  • Flexible seating
  • Standard safety tech

Cons

  • Basic model has bland interior
  • Fiddly infotainment
  • Disappointing to drive
9

Honda HR-V

Used Honda HR-V Hatchback (15-present)

Versatile seating and a smart interior make the high-quality Honda HR-V an appealing buy, to which you can add a top-notch reliability record, too. Honda dealers also have an excellent record for customer service. Alas, earlier cars were a bit noisy and had a bumpy ride, and it's not the best value in this class.

We found: 2018 Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC SE, 10,000 miles, £14,995

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Pros

  • Clever rear seats
  • Robust build quality
  • Punchy diesel engine

Cons

  • Diesel engine is noisy
  • Wooden ride quality
  • Not cheap to buy used
8

Mazda CX-3

Used Mazda CX-3 16-present

It’s rare to find a car in the small SUV class that’s both smart and engaging, but the CX-3 manages to pull it off. For starters, its mature design manages to be stylish without trying too hard to be fashionable. And on top of that, there's just enough of Mazda’s sporty DNA to make it satisfying to drive. Its ride is a little firm, though, and rear space is tight. 

We found: 2018 Mazda CX-3 2.0 Sport Nav, 9800 miles, £14,995

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Pros

  • Stylish looks
  • Lively petrol engines
  • Engaging handling

Cons

  • Firm ride
  • Limited rear seat space
  • Unimpressive petrol CO2 emissions
7

Renault Captur

Used Renault Captur 13-present

Alas, you only get the old model for this money;  you'll be very lucky to find example of the latest 2020 Captur below the top end of our budget here. Nonetheless, the first-generation Captur is a good car if you want small hatchback size and costs but with a slightly elevated driving position. The good news is you can pick up a good one for our budget, but the bad news is the quality's a bit poor and it's not as spacious in the back as some of its rivals here. 

We found: 2019 Renault Captur 1.3 TCe 130 GT Line, 10,000 miles, £14,000

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Pros

  • Practical interior
  • Impressive refinement
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • Pre-facelift Captur has poor interior quality
  • Some engines have weak performance
  • Rear leg room can be tight
6

Suzuki Ignis

Used Suzuki Ignis Hatchback (16-present)

A bit of a wildcard, this; you can pick up a nearly new Ignis for this money, but the caveat is that it's smaller and less spacious than most of the other cars we've chosen here. Why is it here, then? Because it's great fun to drive, and to look at. It's a characterful city car, and about the only option if you need four-wheel drive or hybrid technology in a car of this size.

We found: 2020 Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet 12v hybrid SZ-T, 3000 miles, £14,995

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Pros

  • Spacious for a city car
  • Most models well equipped
  • Agile in corners

Cons

  • Jiggly ride quality
  • Vague steering
  • Fiddly touchscreen system
5

Mini Countryman

Used Mini Countryman Hatchback 17-present

Let's face it, there are loads of used small SUVs out there, but very few have that extra panache to make them stand out from the masses. Apart from the Mini Countryman, which is stuffed with so many retro styling cues that you couldn't mistake it for anything else. It's fun and fashionable, but its ride is a bit firm, it's not the most spacious and it's still a little expensive. 

We found: 2018 Mini Countryman 1.5 Cooper, 20,000 miles, £14,995

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Pros

  • Neat handling
  • Potent engines
  • Large boot

Cons

  • Unsettled ride
  • Average rear space
  • Expensive to buy
4

Kia Stonic

Kia Stonic

All Kias come from new with a transferable seven-year warranty, so buy a year-old Stonic as here and you'll have plenty of cover left. Not that you should need much of it, as the Stonic is one of the more reliable small SUVs, according to our surveys. It's also a fine and capable car with a long warranty and plenty of equipment, but its firm ride can be an acquired taste.

We found: 2020 Kia Stonic 1.0 GDi 2, 8000 miles, £14,500

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Pros

  • Punchy 1.0-litre engine
  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Agile handling

Cons

  • Firm ride
  • Lack of adjustable lumbar support
  • Rivals are more practical
3

Suzuki Vitara

Used Suzuki Vitara 15-present

Thanks to its squared-off corners, raised ride height and the option of four-wheel drive, the Suzuki Vitara has some of the off-road abilities people associate with larger SUVs. On the road, the balance between ride and handling is well judged, it's spacious inside and it's even quite fun to drive; it's well equipped, too, and our budget buys you a one-year-old car with a low mileage.

We found: 2019 Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet SZ-T, 8000 miles, £14,350

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Pros

  • Good driving manners
  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • High emissions on some petrol models
  • Diesel engines can be noisy
  • Some of the trim feels flimsy
2

Audi Q2

Used Audi Q2 16-present

Just pipped into second place here is the desirable Audi Q2. This is the car that proves that small doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, but it certainly takes all the good qualities of larger Audis and wraps them up in a compact and very attractive package. It has bold styling on the outside, a well-finished and sporty interior and tidy handling; on top of all that, it's excellent value too. 

We found: 2018 Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI Sport, 5000 miles, £14,500

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Pros

  • Classy, user-friendly interior
  • Tidy handling
  • Excellent infotainment

Cons

  • Not as spacious as rivals
  • Firm ride
  • Four-wheel drive reserved for top models
1

Seat Arona

Used Seat Arona 18-present

Victory for the Seat Arona, and no wonder. It's one of the very best small SUVs you can buy used thanks to its roomy interior, a comfortable ride and perky petrol engines. Add to that its value when bought used, and it's unbeatable. Indeed, if what you want above all is that your small SUV drives well, this is the one to choose; thanks to its compact size and relatively light weight, it has plenty of punch and can tackle corners with enthusiasm.

We found: 2020 Seat Arona 1.0 SE Tech, 5000 miles, £14,995

 

 

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Pros

  • Ride comfort on standard suspension
  • Big boot for class
  • Excellent 1.0-litre petrol

Cons

  • Average interior
  • Noisy diesel engine
  • Road noise
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