Best used family SUVs for less than £15,000

  • Our pick of the best secondhand SUVs
  • All for less than £15,000
  • Which are the best value, and the best for you?

If you’re looking to buy a more affordable SUV (sometimes called a crossover car), with a budget of about £15,000, these cars come with rugged looks and a raised seating position included in the package.

Thanks to its added fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability and sleeker looks over a full-sized 4x4, the small SUV has become increasingly popular over the past few years in the UK. If you like the chunky look of a full-sized 4x4, but never intend to stray too far off-road, the best used SUVs can be had for the same price as a conventional hatchback.

Plus, because they tend to be front-wheel drive models, they cost little more to run. However, if you want the added safety of all-wheel drive grip, these can be found as well - although these may be limited to higher-spec models.

Find out how to finance your purchase and use Parkers' free valuation tool to find out how much your current car is worth.

Which used crossover cars are the best buys?

Best for...

 
Families Ford Kuga
Handling Mazda CX-3
Technology Nissan Qashqai
Off-road driving Suzuki Vitara
Equipment Kia Sportage
Most reliable Hyundai Tucson and ix35
Fashion conscious Fiat 500L
City drivers Renault Captur
Rural drivers Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
New car value Dacia Duster


10. Ford Kuga (2012-2020) family-friendly tech, traditional Ford value

Ford Kuga - best crossover cars

Pros: Agile, fun to drive, plenty of interior space
Cons:
Lacks the chunky looks of its predecessor, gutless 164hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine

The second-generation Ford Kuga is based on the same platform as the Focus, with engaging handling and lots of usable everyday technology. It's much better suited to road driving than tackling rough tracks, though. The handling is so good that the Kuga goes straight to the top of the class in that sense. The chunky looks of its predecessor may have gone, but you do get lots of interior space, high safety standards and a well-built interior.

Crammed with kit, standard equipment includes Ford’s Quickclear heated front windscreen, cruise control, bi-xenon headlamps and air-conditioning. The lower-powered 140hp 2.0-litre TDCi is our pick of the engines; it’s refined, the most economical and comes with a good spread of power.

If you want something exciting, the previous-generation Kuga can be found with the Ford Focus ST's 2.5-litre turbo five cylinder engine. It may not be economical, but has a lot of power, and a sporty character that's quite unexpected in a car the size of the Kuga.

Try and seek out one fitted with the City Pack to include front and rear parking sensors for maximum manoeuvrability.

New price: £20,440 - £37,340
Used price: £4,285 - £21,430
Fuel economy: 28 - 46 mpg 
Insurance group: 14 - 27

Lease the latest model Ford Kuga here: From £337 per month

9. Mazda CX-3 (2015-) hatchback-like handling and sporty attitude

Mazda CX-3 - best crossover cars

Pros: Looks, handling, generous equipment list
Cons:
Poor ride on 18-inch wheels, slightly cramped rear

The CX-3 is one of the best-packaged compact SUVs on sale, with its chunky styling and practical cabin all dressed with eye-catching styling. With smaller dimensions than most it doesn’t feel the largest crossover inside, but it does feel larger than the Nissan Juke with no shortage of headroom and adequate shoulder space.

It’s well-equipped with alloy wheels, all-round electric windows and air-conditioning, while being cheap to run too. Recently facelifted, you can get a low-mileage example with some manufacturer warranty remaining for £15,000, and not much more will get a nearly-new example of the lower specifications. Prices start below £9,000 though, so you've got plenty of room to find the right CX-3 for sale. Models with the later navigation system can even be upgraded to support Apple CarPlay; an unusual approach from Mazda that enables a used CX-3 to have some of the benefits of a new one.

We’re big fans of the way the CX-3 drives with its impressive body control and high levels of grip. The lower-powered petrol with two-wheel drive is our favourite, thanks to its ample performance and smooth power delivery. We’d recommend choosing one of the SE or SE-L models for the smoother ride on 16-inch alloy wheels.

New price: £17,695 - £26,515
Used price: £6,405 - £19,565
Fuel economy: 34 - 54 mpg
Insurance group: 13-18

8. Nissan Qashqai (2014-) advanced safety and convenience technology

Nissan Qashqai - the best used crossover for technology

Pros: Roomy interior, sharper looks, more tech and safety kit than before
Cons:
Bulkier than its predecessor, still no off-roader

The original Nissan Qashqai was one of the first cars to popularise the crossover genre. Unlike its predecessor's choice of seven- or five-seater lengths though, this current model arrived to great acclaim in 2014 as a five-seater only (the X-Trail replaces the larger versions).

With added technology, including surround-view cameras and advanced driver assistants, sharper looks, more efficient engines and better quality throughout, this is a worthy compromise for most families looking for 4x4 style without the cost or complexity. As before, not all models are four-wheel drive, but that’s not a bad thing as the increase in efficiency and economy from the front-wheel drive models make for lower running costs.

On the road the Qashqai performs very well despite feeling bulky. It’s very easy to drive with safe, assured handling, and an impressive lack of engine noise at motorway speeds. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are attractive across the range, with even the largest petrol engine averaging a claimed 50mpg.

New price: £23,550 - £30,070
Used price: £4,600 - £24,340
Fuel economy: 38 - 53 mpg
Insurance group: 13 - 21

Lease the latest model Nissan Qashqai here: From per month

7. Suzuki Vitara (2015-) solid 4x4 options and proven off-road ability

Suzuki Vitara - best crossover for off road driving

Pros: Heritage, four-wheel drive ability, funky looks, low running costs
Cons:
 Interior plastics disappoint, limited engine choice

The Suzuki Vitara fathered the SUV crossover craze when it launched back in 1988. Nearly 3 million examples have been produced worldwide since then, with Suzuki hoping its 4x4 reputation, value-led specification and heritage will help conquer the growing number of rivals.

The torquey diesel is the engine of choice if you don’t require an automatic, and there is a choice of front- or four-wheel drive. Drivers can toggle between Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock modes on the move.

With a range of personalisation options available, you should be able to find one that stands out from the crowd.

New price: £22,259 - £28,139
Used price: £4,935 - £21,090
Fuel economy: 36 - 49 mpg
Insurance group: 11 - 21

Lease the latest model Suzuki Vitara here: From £234 per month

6. Kia Sportage (2010-2016) generous levels of standard kit

Kia Sportage - 2010-2016 - best crossover for equipment

Pros: Spacious, high kit levels, good value
Cons:
 Bouncy ride, high CO2 emissions, restricted visibility

With generous kit levels, acres of space and a decent choice of engines, this third-generation Kia Sportage (above) is raising the bar even higher in the crossover sector.

All models have air-conditioning, all-round electric windows, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control and Bluetooth.

The choice of three diesel engines have plenty of low-down punch, but become quite rowdy and coarse when overtaking or tackling steeper inclines.

With a budget of £15,000 you're looking at the highest specification third-generation models with good history and low mileage; you should also consider the 2017 Kia Sportage - the current generation - as a nearly-new purchase, particularly if financing a higher-value used Sportage.

New price: £17,320 - £29,020 (2017- from £20,670 - £35,020)
Used price: £3,265 - £11,830
Fuel economy: 34 - 55 mpg
Insurance group: 12 - 18

Lease the latest model Kia Sportage here: From per month

5. Hyundai Tucson (2015-2020) solid build, excellent reliability record and a five-year warranty

Hyundai Tucson best crossover for reliability

Pros: Neat details, high build quality, comfortable and refined with impressive levels of equipment
Cons:
Not the most exciting to look at inside, petrol versions are thirsty

The Tucson represents another leap forward for Hyundai in terms of interior quality, exterior design and refinement, though it's a rather more conservative design overall than the outgoing ix35. There's a mild-hybrid model which is the only all-wheel drive option, that's out of our budget; if you want a 4x4 Hyundai, look to the Hyundai ix35 instead. Or a Kia Sportage...

Hyundai's strength isn't necessarily in style or dynamics, though - it's the five-year warranty and the impressive reliability record. For many used buyers, the balance of that five-year warranty could increase the appeal of a used Tucson when buying outright, particularly if you're planning to keep it for a long time.

At the upper end of our £15,000 budget though, if financing it makes more sense to look at nearly-new examples of the Tucson on PCP.

Despite the off-roader appearance, most models are two-wheel drive, helping it to lead the way in economy and emissions too.

Surprisingly compact dimensions make it easy to park and place on the road, and on higher-spec versions a large panoramic sunroof contributes to a light, airy feel inside. All models are well equipped for their cost, of course.

New price: £19,955 - £35,320
Used price: £6,650 - £29,265
Fuel economy: 34 - 54 mpg
Insurance group: 12 - 25

4. Fiat 500X (2015-) colourful range with retro styling

Fiat 500X - best crossover cars

Pros: Retro looks, spacious cabin, practical features, quality interior
Cons:
 High CO2 emissions, some essential kit missing as standard

Small on the outside but with a spacious cabin inside, the rugged-looking 500X adds to the successful 500 range, offering itself in two flavours: one for young inner-city buyers valuing style and image above anything else, and one with genuine off-road capability for those with outdoor lifestyles. Option packs add some essential safety kit, so if that matters to you then be sure to check the spec of the car you're buying, not just the basic equipment.

Pre-2018 models offer the option of all-wheel drive, and are quite capable; the system is shared with the Jeep Renegade (which to be fair, is also a pretty funky looking crossover within our budget).

Whichever you opt for, there are 12 body colours and eight different alloy wheel designs. Front-wheel drive models will benefit from small cost savings with lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while all models come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control.

New price: £19,460 - £26,060
Used price: £4,020 - £18,700
Fuel economy: 34 - 46 mpg
Insurance group: 5 - 16

Lease the latest model of Fiat 500X here: From £334 per month

3.Renault Captur (2013-2019) supermini footprint, SUV height

Renault Captur - best crossover cars

Pros: Easy to drive, eye-catching looks, low running costs, lots of kit
Cons: 
Seats too firm and lack side support, relatively small boot

The Captur is Renault’s first attempt at a small crossover, combining the spacious elements of a people carrier with the looks of a 4x4. Think of it as a Renault Clio on stilts and you’re not far off. Reinforcing this is not a fully blown off-roader, the Captur is only available with front-wheel drive and is powered by a range of economical, small-capacity engines.

In fact, the Captur underlines the crossover driver's happiness with front-wheel drive; it's the best-selling car of its type in Europe, and there's no 4x4 option offered. It's a consistent top-three seller in the UK, too.

2017's facelift adjusted trim levels and technology, and at the upper end of our budget you'll be able to, er, capture a nearly-new or pre-registered Renault Captur.

New price: £14,295 - £23,885
Used price: £3,285 - £13,920
Fuel economy: 42 - 53 mpg
Insurance group: 8 - 21

Lease the latest model Renault Captur here: From £221 per month

2. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2017-) easy all-wheel drive and spacious interior

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2017 -

Pros: Stand-out looks, practical family car, lots of kit as standard
Cons:
Cabin feels a little dark, only one engine choice, not the biggest boot

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has often been overlooked in the crossover market, but this translates into a great second-hand buy with prices already beginning to drop into this price bracket. There's only one petrol engine, but it's available with either a manual or automatic gearbox, as well as four-wheel drive if you opt for the latter.

While the Eclipse Cross may not be the last word in comfort or agility, it's a good all-rounder with great usability. It's easy to get on with, and there’s a generous amount of kit and space for four adults - it’s just a shame taller occupants in the rear may feel a little claustrophobic, thanks to the sloping roof and smaller windows.

The Eclipse Cross is surprisingly rewarding to drive around town, with sporty handling to go with those striking looks. The automatic gearbox takes a little getting used to and is best suited to relaxed driving, but all versions are competent as a cruiser on motorways.

New price: £22,545 - £30,550
Used price: £8,480 - £20,720
Fuel economy: 32 - 37 mpg
Insurance group: 18 - 21

1. Dacia Duster (2019-) you can get a new one for less than secondhand rivals

Dacia Duster - best crossover cars to buy new

Pros: Incredibly cheap to buy, lots of interior space, rugged enough for family life
Cons:
Base models don’t have air-con, some interior plastics fragile

Available with two- or four-wheel drive, the Duster is an affordable crossover with plenty of kit as standard and a drive set up for comfort. Although it's great value used, with a budget of £15,000 you can buy a brand-new Dacia Duster, instead of secondhand examples of the cars above; in fact, you can buy a brand new, fully equipped 4x4 Duster for the same price as many used crossovers.

Naturally a used Dacia Duster is even better value, particularly as the current model, released in 2019, is visually very different.

Its practicality is better than the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai ix35 too, with more load space than both with the seats folded.

Don't want a Dacia? The SsangYong Tivoli is worth checking out too, particularly as a used, 4x4 crossover; new models are front-wheel drive only.

New price: £11,745 - £20,620
Used price: £5,925 - £16,985
Used price 2013-2018: £3,230 - £16,590
Fuel economy: 33 - 60 mpg
Insurance group: 9 - 15

Lease the latest model Dacia Duster here: From £205 per month


Top buying tips for used SUVs

Has it got signs of off-road use?
Look for signs of wear and tear on the exterior. With less ground clearance compared with a typical SUV, scuff marks could indicate signs of use in tougher environments. Look for kerbing on the wheels, too, as urban crossover drivers may have chosen them to clear awkward driveways or particularly bad potholed roads.

Do you need to tow?
Thanks to the smaller dimensions, engine capacity and typically two-wheel drive configuration, there will be a compromise in towing capacity. A Mazda CX-3 has a tow limit of 1,200kg, while the slightly larger Range Rover Evoque can tow between 1,500kg and 1,800kg. A diesel engine would provide a more relaxed drive too if this is the case.

Avoid sportier trim levels for maximum comfort
Demand for large, sporty-looking SUVs has grown over the past decade and this has resulted in manufacturers offering models with bodykits, larger wheels and stiffer suspension. While some result in marginally improved handling characteristics, they result in a negative effect on ride quality. Those designed with a sloping roof can also impede on rear passenger headroom.

Have 4x4 models been maintained correctly?
Many crossovers with all-wheel drive have less-sophisticated systems than their larger SUV brethren. Quite often, the 4x4 drive only works when the front wheels are slipping, and relies on proper maintenance of couplings, driveshafts and tyres to work correctly. On higher-mileage examples look for tyres being rotated/changed in sets of four, and check the service schedule for terms like propshaft and viscous coupling inspection, lubrication/fluid changes in addition to the normal maintenance expected.

Check spares costs if you plan on long-term ownership
if you're going to keep your crossover for a while, make sure there are no nasty surprises waiting compared to a hatchback equivalent. All-wheel drive models in particular may have different brakes, suspension and exhaust systems with higher costs, so it's worth asking beforehand and planning your maintenance accordingly.


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