The best used 4x4s to buy in 2020
Looking for a used 4x4? Then these are the models that offer the best mix of practicality and value.....
Buyers of SUVs expect a lot from their cars.
They're after something spacious, practical and capable.
All of the four-wheel-drive models on this list meet those criteria, but to varying degrees. Some have seven seats, while others offer incredible off-road ability. Whatever you're after from your 4x4, you'll find something to meet your needs.
The appetite for SUVs is huge, so we've picked out 10 of our favourite SUVs and 4x4s to help you out.
10: Land Rover Discovery 4
The Land Rover Discovery is an incredibly capable car. Not only can it seat seven adults in comfort, but it also comes with Land Rover's go-anywhere ability.
True, the Discovery costs more than rivals to keep on the road, but if you want practicality from your 4x4, it's certainly a good way to go.
10: Land Rover Discovery 4 - interior
Problems with the air suspension are expensive to fix, so look out for warning lights on the dashboard. It's also worth checking the underside of the Discovery for any damage caused by off-road excursions.
If water gets underneath the undercoating or if mud is allowed to sit on the chassis or suspension arms for an extended period of time, corrosion can occur.
We found: 2015 Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech auto, 19,572 miles, £25,757
9: Volvo XC90
If you can do without the off-road prowess of the Land Rover Discovery but still need a big seven-seater, the Volvo XC90 could be a more sensible used purchase for some.
Not only can it seat seven, but there’s still enough room behind the third-row seats for a decent amount of luggage.
9: Volvo XC90 - interior
True, the ride can be unsettled on rougher road surfaces and the touchscreen tablet infotainment system can take a bit of getting used to.
In addition, there have been a number of recall woes that include cracked fuel hoses, airbags that might not deploy in a collision and even problems with the vehicle connectivity module that will prevent your location from being sent to the emergency services.
However, your Volvo dealer should be able to sort these issues out.
We found: 2016 Volvo XC90 2.0 D5 Powerpulse Momentum, 20,000 miles, £31,890
8: Suzuki Vitara
Perky performance, lots of interior space and tidy handling mark the Vitara out among its contemporaries. Few cars in the class are nearly as light and easy to drive as the Vitara.
The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine is a bit of a gem, although it will start glugging fuel if you’re overzealous with the accelerator.
8: Suzuki Vitara - interior
Despite both Suzuki’s and the Vitara’s strong reliability records, there are still a couple of recalls to be dealt with.
Make sure the emergency braking system is working as it should, otherwise it might not work when you most need it, and there's also an issue with rear axle bolts working loose on early cars, but Suzuki should have sorted this out by now.
We found: 2016 Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet, 34,165 miles, £12,695
7: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe has the major advantage of a long manufacturer's warranty behind it, making it a highly recommendable used car buy.
It's also one of the few SUVs that combines manageable outside dimensions for easier parking with a large interior that can seat seven people.
7: Hyundai Santa Fe - interior
Problems with the Santa Fe usually centre on the air conditioning, which might need regassing every few years, and the radio reception can be poor at times.
On the whole, though, it’s comfortable and quiet. It's not the most exciting thing around, but it’s a great family SUV for the buyer on a budget.
We found: 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Blue Drive Premium 7-seat, 33,392 miles, £18,500
6: BMW X3
Pretty much every version of the second-generation BMW X3 is a great buy, but it's also remarkably good value at the moment. It’s nice to drive, spacious, well equipped and highly desirable.
The best thing about it is the surefooted handling on the road. Inside, there's room for five adults and everything is well laid out.
6: BMW X3 - interior
However, while the X3 is now available for remarkably little money, older diesel engines can develop problems with their fuel injection system, which is rather expensive to replace.
But in the battle of the premium 4x4s, the X3 is still one of the best.
We found: 2017 BMW X3 xDrive20d SE, 22,400 miles, £22,500
5: Volvo XC40
Beneath the classy looks of the Volvo XC40 lies a thoroughly spacious, practical and comfortable car.
There’s enough room for five adults and the rear is even just about wide enough for three.
5: Volvo XC40 - interior
What’s more, the XC40 has a great reputation for safety, especially if you find one with the optional Intellisafe Pro Pack, which features lots of semi-autonomous driving tech.
Petrol models can be pretty thirsty, but a mid-range diesel is much more affordable to run. All in all, the XC40 is an easygoing and hassle-free car to own.
We found: 2019 Volvo XC40 2.0 D3 Momentum AWD auto, 1000 miles, £29,500
4: Audi Q7
The current Audi Q7 has long been one of our favourite SUVs, and the good news is that it’s just as good as a used buy.
It offers a selection of superb diesel engines and a solid-feeling interior with an easy-to-use infotainment system.
The ride can be slightly too firm on sportier S line suspension, so it’s worth finding one equipped with air suspension for a much plusher ride.
4: Audi Q7 - interior
Buy a well-maintained Q7 and you won’t go far wrong. Just be aware that there was a recall to reinforce the third-row seats on some earlier versions of Q7 and that a small number had issues with their dampers.
But, on the whole, the Q7 is probably one of the very best luxury SUVs you can buy at the moment.
We found: 2016 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE quattro, 32,351 miles, £31,000
3: Mazda CX-5
We’re great fans of the current Mazda CX-5; it’s comfortable, well built and fun and easy to drive.
It’s also efficient, and while the engine range is quite small (either a 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2-litre diesel), each unit offers enough punch for most, although it’s the diesel that makes the most sense in a car of this size.
Having said that, the CX-5 isn’t the most spacious large SUV out here, but it is one of the nicer ones to drive.
3: Mazda CX-5 - interior
The CX-5 is yet to show up any major recalls, but some might find that the heater on diesel models takes a while to come up to temperature in the winter months and the sat-nav, while being fairly easy to use, doesn’t accept a full postcode, something that can be frustrating.
You can now find a number of well-equipped diesel models at around the £20,000 mark.
We found: 2017 Mazda CX-5 2.2d Sport Nav, 18,900 miles, £23,495
2: Seat Ateca
The Seat Ateca is a great family SUV and one of the best-handling 4x4s on the market.
A clan of five would have no practicality concerns with an Ateca, because it’s got a really big boot, wide-opening rear doors and lots of head and leg room for all.
Even the interior, while not built of the plushest materials, is still suitably well made and fairly classy.
2: Seat Ateca - interior
There have been a few issues with electric parking brakes disengaging when they shouldn’t, a small number of rear wheel bearing issues, poor headlight adjustment and problems with the centre rear head restraint, but on the whole reliability is pretty good.
Both the 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrol engines are fine choices, but four-wheel-drive models are mostly found paired with a torquey 2.0-litre diesel engine that is economical and quite refined at a motorway cruise.
We found: 2018 Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI SE Technology, 5000 miles, £19,995
1: Skoda Karoq
The Skoda Karoq is a fantastic family SUV, with compact dimensions that make it easy to handle around town, yet it has a huge and versatile interior that gives it the capability to carry everything you need.
Plus, the Karoq's raised ride height and large window area help to give the driver great all-around visibility.
1: Skoda Karoq - interior
The 1.0-litre petrol engine is great for those on a budget, but you'll need a 2.0-litre diesel if you want four-wheel drive.
In any case, the diesel is great if you do loads of miles every year, and the additional torque helps when you’ve got a full complement of passengers and luggage.
Automatic gearboxes can be hesitant when pulling away from a standstill, so a manual is probably best.
We found: 2018 Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI SE 4x4, 11,000 miles, £21,000
And which are the 4x4s to avoid...? Click on to find out.
This bizarre-looking 4x4 is cheaply made, awful to drive, slow and horribly inefficient.
Noisy, thirsty and cheap inside, the Captiva is an SUV with very little to recommend it.