Best used family SUVs for less than £15,000
A family SUV can cost you a lot of money these days, but buy used and you can put a good one on your driveway for under £15,000. Here's our top 10 list....
Family car buyers looking for maximum practicality and a little style will, these days, most likely be looking to get behind the wheel of an SUV.
The trouble is, those fancy family SUVs you see on every school run cost a fortune, don’t they?
Well, no, not necessarily. Buy used and you can actually pick up a sizeable family SUV for less than the price of a brand-new, mid-range small car. And we’re not talking about basic-spec examples here, because every example on this list offers all the equipment you’d need as well as decent performance. Read on as we count down our top 10 list of the best used family SUVs for less than £15,000.
10. Land Rover Freelander
Here’s one for those looking for a mini-Range Rover, but on the cheap. The Freelander may be an old car now but it is one of the few family SUVs that has genuine off-road credibility.
Land Rover Freelander (cont.)
It's equally at home parked up in front of your local M&S as it is in the countryside tackling mud and snow. Go for a diesel auto for reasonable fuel economy and a relaxing driving experience. Reliability can be an issue so check for a full history.
We found: 2014 Land Rover Freelander 2.2 SD4 SE auto, 59,000 miles, £13,500
9. Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan has regularly been one of the most popular family SUVs around, which explains why mostly you can only get the previous-generation version for our £15,000 budget. However, prices for the latest Tiguan are now falling down towards our budget here, so keep your eyes peeled on the classifieds and you may scoop up a bargain.
Volkswagen Tiguan (cont.)
Even so, the old Tiguan was still a solid performer, particularly the torquey 2.0-litre that has no trouble carrying a car-load of people around, or towing a caravan. Later Match Edition versions come with lots of kit, so are worth looking out for.
We found: 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI Bluemotion Tech Match Edition auto, 45,000 miles, £13,000
8. Skoda Yeti
Many were very upset when the Skoda Yeti had to make way for the current Karoq, but the reason for that was that we were the only market to truly appreciate the quirky looks. Others simply didn’t get it. Anyway, the new car market’s loss is the used car buyer's gain, because a pre-owned Yeti is one of the most affordable family SUVs on this list, while used Karoqs are still just a fraction more than our budget here.
Skoda Yeti (cont.)
Plus, the boxy exterior means you get a very practical interior, with rear seats that slide and fold in a multitude of ways to make the most of the available space. Still a very popular and deeply functional family SUV, now cheap. Later models are the off-road-style Outdoor models only.
We found: 2017 Skoda Yeti Outdoor 2.0 TDI SE Drive, 20,000 miles, £14,995
7. BMW X1
Car buyers do like a premium brand, and they don’t come much more blue-chip than BMW. The current X1 is a fine family SUV with bags of room inside, a quality interior that’ll withstand the tantrums of even the moodiest of toddlers and an electric tailgate is standard, so there shouldn’t be any trapped fingers to worry about when closing the boot.
BMW X1 (cont.)
The only fly in the ointment is that to be able get an X1, you’ll need to buy something older, without any manufacturer’s warranty left and with more miles on it.
We found: 2016 BMW X1 18d SE auto, 39,000 miles, £14,500
6. Renault Kadjar
Perhaps a little overshadowed by the more popular Nissan Qashqai (a shame, really, considering that the two are basically identical mechanically under the skin), the Renault Kadjar is a bit of a bargain against its rivals. Not only is it the newest car on this list, but it has a big boot for all your pram and/or weekly shopping requirements, plus it can be had with a smooth 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine.
It’s hardly exciting to drive, but it is easy – which is a good thing while you are trying to break up a fight between squabbling children in the back.
We found: 2019 Renault Kadjar 1.3 TCe Dynamique Nav, 10,000 miles, £13,795
5. Toyota C-HR
Some hybrid versions of the C-HR are available at this price but you're more likely to find the regular turbo petrol engine, and it's actually our favourite version anyway. It handles sweetly, is swift enough for most needs and looks just as interesting inside as it does on the outside. Its ride is slightly better than the hybrid's, too. All in, though, it's quite a departure for a conservative brand like Toyota.
The major drawback with the C-HR is that for families with babies and younger children, the high waistline and small back windows do make it very claustrophobic in the rear, and not as practical as one or two of the other cars in this list. Otherwise, this would have come much higher, because it's good to drive, comfortable and reliable.
We found: 2017 Toyota C-HR 1.2 Icon, 11,000 miles, £14,995
4. Hyundai Tucson
The recent facelift of the Hyundai Tucson means that values of pre-facelift examples have dropped considerably, meaning you can get a well-specified example easily within our budget. And we do mean well-specified because SE Nav comes with rear parking sensors, cruise control, heated front seats, climate control and a reversing camera. Oh, and of course sat-nav.
Hyundai Tucson (cont.)
You won’t find it particularly entertaining to drive, but it is comfortable and refined enough for most people's needs, and wonderfully spacious and practical. Cuts quite a dash on the school run, too.
We found: 2017 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi SE Nav 2WD, 19,000 miles, £13,500
3. Nissan Qashqai
The car that is in some ways responsible for every family SUV that has come since, the Nissan Qashqai was a trendsetter when it arrived and continues to be a very popular choice. However, in its old age, the second-generation Qashqai has been overtaken by a number of competitor offerings, especially in the driving department, which is one of the reasons why it goes no higher in this list. The other is its poor reliability, according to the latest What Car? Reliability survey, where it featured near the bottom of the family SUV class.
Nissan Qashqai (cont.)
However, there are loads of used examples to choose from and an engine to suit all needs. Pick a mid-range Acenta Premium version for plenty of kit and safety tech, and you’ll have an easy-to-drive, refined and economical family SUV that's both practical and comfortable.
We found: 2018 Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium, 9961 miles, £14,000
2. Seat Ateca
Another great family SUV that’s only let down by a middling reliability result, the Seat Ateca is one of the very best of its kind to drive – feeling sure-footed on a challenging B-road, nimble in the city and refined on the motorway. It’s also backed up by a cracking range of engines, with everything from frugal diesels to punchy petrols with clever cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel.
Seat Ateca (cont.)
Practicality is still a top priority because the doors open nice and wide to make putting a child in a car seat easier, the boot is big and a very useful square shape, and there will be no complaints for more space inside from passengers. Even the dashboard looks smart, and is really easy to use. If only it had the warranty and reliability record of our top choice, the Ateca might have won this top 10.
We found: 2017 Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI SE Technology, 14,000 miles, £14,499
1. Kia Sportage
In the best traditions of family SUVs, all the control weights of the Kia Sportage are light and easy to manage, making this a perfectly pleasant vehicle for getting you and your loved ones around. Body movement is kept in check, so the Sportage never feels cumbersome, and as long as you stick to mid-range models with 17in alloy wheels, you shouldn’t find the ride to be too firm.
And even if you do go for a mid-spec ‘2’ Sportage, you’ll still get sat-nav, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, power-folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers and privacy glass along with some additional safety tech.
Kia Sportage (cont.)
The 1.7-litre diesel suits the Sportage since the extra low-down torque makes for a more relaxed driving experience. Low fuel consumption should make it cheap to run, too. Also, you shouldn’t have any issues with the Sportage because, according to out latest reliability data, it’s the most dependable family SUV out there.
On top of that, the Sportage comes from new with a seven-year warranty, and as long as certain conditions are fulfilled this is transferable to used buyers, so buy one here at three years old and you should have many years of the warranty left. Indeed if you buy one that's less than 20 months old through Kia's used scheme the warranty will be topped up to the full seven years.
All in all, it’s easy to see why this Kia is the best used car of its type for less than £15,000.
We found: 2017 Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2, 24,000 miles, £13,995