Best used large SUVs for less than £20,000
Large SUVs are all the rage, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get into a used one; just take a look at our handy top 10.....
Budgets can be tight for buyers of large SUVs, and that's an issue, because these vehicles will, by their very nature, cost more than average to run, due to poor fuel economy and higher servicing costs
However, you can save some money by buying used, offsetting some of that extra cost by saving big on what these cars would have cost you new.
That doesn’t mean you’ll end up with something exceptionally old, though. Many models on this list still have some of the manufacturer’s warranty left and a lot of them haven’t covered many miles, so they will ostensibly feel like new cars.
So, take a look at our top 10 list of the best large SUVs that you can currently find on the second-hand market, along with the one you should avoid at all costs.
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10: Land Rover Discovery
The old Land Rover Discovery was and continues to be a favourite with families who like its practical seven-seat layout, comfortable ride and boxy dimensions, which make it easy to place on the road.
It’s also a very relaxing car in which to while away the miles, thanks to a torquey 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and a smooth six-speed automatic gearbox.
10: Land Rover Discovery - interior
Due to the Discovery's popularity, you’ll have to go for an older, 2013 car with a few miles on it on this budget. However, it will still be well equipped and almost unstoppable off road. No other car on this list is as capable as the Discovery is if you stray from the well-beaten path.
We found: 2013 Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 XS, 44,000 miles, £19,990
9: Volvo XC90
If ever there were a car company that would take SUVs firmly out of the mud and put them on the driveways of suburbia, it would be Volvo. When the original XC90 came along, it ended the lazy practice of turning antiquated 4x4s into family wagons by designing the XC90 to be a consummate family car from the start.
To that end, it had seven seats that could be arranged in a multitude of ways, a strengthened roof in case of a rollover and a special front structure that prevented the SUV from literally driving over lower cars in a crash.
9: Volvo XC90 - interior
Again, as with the Discovery, you won’t be able to find an example that was built after 2014 for £20,000, but it’s still one of the best large SUVs out there for families.
We found: 2014 Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 R-Design AWD auto, 33,307 miles, £18,000
8: Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V will win no prizes for glamour or excitement, but that’s not what buyers of it are after. No, the CR-V is very practical for a family of five, hugely economical when equipped with the 1.6-litre diesel engine and easy to drive.
8: Honda CR-V - interior
What’s more, because a new CR-V has just come out, values of the previous version have wilted to the point that you can get a 2018 version with minimal miles on it for less than our £20,000 budget.
We found: 2018 Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 4WD EX, 12,495 miles, £19,995
7: Volkswagen Touareg
While it may not have the most premium badge in this list, the Volkswagen Touareg has all the ingredients of a luxury vehicle. Big diesel engine? Check. Large, cushy leather seats? Check. Compliant air suspension? Check.
7: Volkswagen Touareg - interior
In fact, the only thing missing from the Touareg is a third row of seats, which means it isn’t the best-value large SUV out there, but it could be just the ticket if you prefer the finer things in life.
We found: 2015 Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI SE, 38,484 miles, £19,500
6: Land Rover Discovery Sport
Seven-seat large SUVs are definitely in demand, especially ones sporting a pukka premium badge, so the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a common sight outside the very poshest school drop-off points.
6: Land Rover Discovery Sport - interior
Light steering makes it easy to park and thread through tight town traffic and you get a commanding view of the road ahead. It isn’t the most practical seven-seater out there (those rear seats are more for occasional use), but it is an easy car to live with on a day-to-day basis.
We found: 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 SE, 24,964 miles, £19,990
5: Hyundai Santa Fe
The one thing you can’t accuse the Hyundai Santa Fe of being is stingy on equipment. Even entry-level Premium cars include sat-nav, climate control, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats and a premium sound system.
In other words, it comes with everything you could possibly want.
5: Hyundai Santa Fe - interior
As for practicality, the Santa Fe is pretty big, although head room in the third row could be a little better. The seats fold flat and the boot opening is nice and wide. You could moan that the 2.2-litre diesel engine is a little on the noisy side, but it has plenty of torque to get this big SUV moving, even when it's loaded with passengers.
We found: 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium, 10,906 miles, £18,295
4: BMW X3
The BMW X3 proves that you can find some truly prestigious SUVs for less than £20,000 that aren’t 10 years old. This generation of X3 was a vast improvement on the original.
For starters, it had a much nicer interior that befits a luxury vehicle, the mid-range SE model got a better level of standard equipment and the revised diesel engine that was introduced in the xDrive20d in 2014 was rather refined and exceptionally economical.
4: BMW X3 - interior
It’s not quite such good value as the next two cars on this list, but if you can’t live without a premium badge on your large SUV, there’s still a lot to like about the X3.
We found: 2016 BMW X3 xDrive20d SE, 18,924 miles, £19,306
3: Mazda CX-5
We’ve been fans of the Mazda CX-5 ever since it came out; we even named the original model our used large SUV of the year at the 2019 What Car? Used Car Awards. This newer version simply takes an already winning formula and refines it further, so it's slightly bigger, more refined and even better to drive.
There's a 2.0-litre petrol if you need it, but we’d suggest going for the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel, because it's much more flexible and therefore more relaxing to drive. The handling is nice and sharp for such a tall car and the steering is well weighted to inspire confidence.
3: Mazda CX-5 - interior
What’s more, there’s plenty of room for five to travel in comfort, plus there's little wind or road noise to distract you. All in all, the CX-5 is a fine used large SUV.
We found: 2018 Mazda CX-5 2.2d SE-L Nav, 7684 miles, £19,500
2: Volkswagen Tiguan
Even though it hasn't topped this top 10, the Volkswagen Tiguan certainly doesn’t feel like a second-rate large SUV. In fact, it makes a great used buy, because while it was an expensive vehicle when new, you can find well-specified SE Nav models with our preferred 2.0-litre diesel engine for less than £20,000.
2: Volkswagen Tiguan - interior
And if you do test drive a Tiguan, you’ll find it to be a very comfortable, hugely spacious and ultra-refined SUV. SE Nav examples have all the equipment you’ll need, with front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, tri-zone climate control and sat-nav.
We found: 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI SE Nav, 5744 miles, £19,999
1: Kia Sorento
Just like the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Kia Sorento is a vast SUV. It edges ahead of the Santa Fe because it has the longer of the two warranties, therefore offering added peace of mind against potentially expensive future bills. And if you go for one that's less than 20 months old from Kia's approved used programme, you get the warranty topped back up to seven years.
There’s already a lot of standard equipment on the entry-level Sorento, but the mid-range KX-2 has a rear-view camera, sat-nav, leather trim and heated front seats. It’s not thrilling to drive, but that’s not what large SUVs are about. It is, however, comfortable and refined for a big seven-seat SUV.
1: Kia Sorento - interior
And it's really big inside, with loads of leg, head and shoulder room whether you find yourself up front or in the second row. Those relegated to the third row aren't quite so well catered for, but the Sorento is better in this respect than rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Discovery Sport and even the Skoda Kodiaq.
Overall, the Sorento has so much to offer that it's easy to understand why it takes the top spot as the best used large SUV you can buy right now.
We found: 2017 Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-2, 21,091 miles, £20,000
There we have the 10 best used large SUVs for less than £20,000; but what about the one you should avoid...?
An old-fashioned SUV with all the off-roader mechanicals: separate chassis, chunky tyres and locking differentials. But hey, you might be wondering, didn’t we say that was a good thing for the Land Rover Discovery? True.
Mitsubishi Shogun - interior
But all the old-school 4x4 crudeness has been refined out of the Discovery, making it a fine luxury vehicle. The Shogun, on the other hand, is just too harsh for public roads these days when compared with its rivals.
Unless you work in the emergency services and need a reliable rig, there’s little sense in buying one.