- Our pick of the best secondhand soft-roaders and CUVs
- All for less than £15,000
- Find out which crossovers are the best value, and the best for you
Thanks to its added fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability and sleeker looks over a full-sized 4x4, the crossover has become increasingly popular over the past few years.
If you like the chunky look of an SUV, but never intend to stray too far off-road, the best crossover cars can be had for the same price as a conventional hatchback, and cost about the same to run, too.
If you’re looking to buy a used crossover car and have a budget of about £15,000, these cars come with rugged looks and a raised seating position included in the package.
Which used crossover cars are the best buys?
- Ford Kuga - best for families
- Mazda CX-3 - best for handling
- Nissan Qashqai - best for technology
- Suzuki Vitara - best for off-road driving
- Kia Sportage - best for equipment
- Hyundai Tucson and ix35 - best for reliability
- Fiat 500L - best for fashion conscious
- Renault Captur - best for city drivers
- Mitsubishi ASX - best for rural drivers
- Dacia Duster - best for drivers who want a new car
10. Ford Kuga (2012-) family-friendly tech, traditional Ford value
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 useable 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 original 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 manoeuverability.
Watch our video review of the Ford Kuga here:
Parkers rating: 3.7 stars
New price: £23,075 - £38,320
Used price: £6,805 - £25,590
Fuel economy: 36 - 64 mpg
Insurance group: 14 - 27
9. Mazda CX-3 (2015-) hatchback-like handling and sporty attitude
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.
Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
New price: £19,395 - £27,045
Used price: £8,735 - £23,030
Fuel economy: 44 - 70 mpg
Insurance group: 13-19
8. Nissan Qashqai (2014-) advanced safety and convenience 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.
Watch our video review of the Nissan Qashqai here:
Parkers rating: 3,9 stars
New price: £20,000 - £34,235
Used price: £7,000 - £24,110
Fuel economy: 47 - 74 mpg
Insurance group: 13 - 21
7. Suzuki Vitara (2015-) solid 4x4 options and proven off-road ability
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.
Parkers rating: 4.0 stars
New price: £17,004 - £25,654
Used price: £6,860 - £20,705
Fuel economy: 49 - 70 mpg
Insurance group: 11 - 23
6. Kia Sportage (2010-2016) generous levels of standard kit
Pros: Spacious, high kit levels, good value
Cons: Bouncy ride, high CO2 emissions, restricted visbility
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.
Watch our video review of the 2017 Kia Sportage here:
Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
New price: £17,320 - £29,020 (2017- from £20,670 - £35,020)
Used price: £5,140 - £15,565
Fuel economy: 34 - 55 mpg
Insurance group: 12 - 18
5. Hyundai Tucson (2016-) solid build, excellent reliability record and a five-year warranty
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.
Parkers rating: 3.9 stars
New price: £22,060 - £34,970
Used price: £9,515 - £28,645
Fuel economy: 37 - 61 mpg
Insurance group: 12 - 25
A Hyundai for a lower budget? The ix35 is also worth considering.
Parkers rating: 4 stars
New price: £16,195 - £28,195
Used price: £4,260 - £13,260
Fuel economy: 37 - 54 mpg
Insurance group: 14 - 22
4. Fiat 500X (2015-) colourful range with retro styling
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.
Parkers rating: 3.8 stars
New price: £17,310 - £23,500
Used price: £5,760 - £17,460
Fuel economy: 42 - 68 mpg
Insurance group: 5 - 16
3.Renault Captur (2013-) supermini footprint, SUV height
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.
Watch our video review of the Renault Captur here:
Parkers rating: 3.8 stars
New price: £15,730 - £22,070
Used price: £4,630 - £17,210
Fuel economy: 50 - 78 mpg
Insurance group: 9 - 16
2. Mitsubishi ASX (2010-) easy all-wheel drive and spacious interior
Pros: Stand-out looks, practical family car, lots of kit as standard
Cons: Dark interiors can look drab, no automatic gearbox, 4x4 only available on diesel
The Mitsubishi ASX has often been overlooked in the crossover market but this translates into a great second-hand buy with lower prices. We prefer the diesel engines thanks to their broad spread of power, and their availability with front- or four-wheel drive. While the ASX may not be the last word in refinement, its running costs are competitive. There’s a generous amount of kit with plenty of space for four adults but it’s a shame the interior is drab. At least all models come with alloy wheels, all-round electric windows and air-conditioning.
The ASX is surprisingly rewarding to drive too, feeling quite nimble around town and competent as a cruiser on motorways. If you want something a little sportier, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers a striking hatchback style and sporty handling, plus 1.5-litre turbo engine, for not much more new.
Parkers rating: 3.8 stars
New price: £19,585 - £21,675
Used price: £3,395 - £21,185
Fuel economy: 47 - 61 mpg
Insurance group: 13 - 26
1. Dacia Duster (2019-) you can get a new one for less than secondhand rivals
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.
Parkers rating: 4.1 stars
New price: £9,995 - £16,995
Used price: £4,994 - £18,800
Used price 2013-2018: £3,230 - £16,590
Fuel economy: 35 - 64 mpg
Insurance group: 5 - 12
Top buying tips for used crossover cars
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.