10 of the Best Used Small SUVs
Small crossovers and sport-utility vehicles offer growing families the flexibility in cargo and people moving capability that can help make the daily grind that much easier to deal with. The best used small SUV is one that properly balances size, fuel economy, usability, and price, and on that last point it’s important to understand that we’re not necessarily talking about the cheapest used small SUV out there – rather, we are focused on those that offer a purchase price that is competitive in their respective segments.
Let’s take a quick look at 10 of the best used small suvs.
Best Used Small SUV – 01 – Scion xB
Recent editions of the used Scion xB offer funky styling, the practical interior volume afforded by its box-like shape, and a decent driving experience compared to others in its class. A 2.4-liter, 158 horsepower engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic is standard with the Scion xB, and fuel mileage shows as 22-mpg in stop and go driving and 28-mpg on the highway. Inside, the xB offers seating for up to five passengers, and with the rear rows folded forward it can swallow as much as 70 cubic feet of cargo – a figure which is competitive with much larger sport-utility vehicles.
Best Used Small SUV – 02 – Ford Escape Hybrid
Although a new version of the Ford Escape was recently introduced, used Ford Escape Hybrid models still have a lot to offer – especially when it comes to fuel economy. The five-passenger Ford Escape Hybrid’s gasoline/electric drivetrain delivers efficiency figures of 34-mpg around town and 31-mpg on the highway when found in front-wheel drive trim (all-wheel drive is available as an option). This is a phenomenal performance, especially when considering that the SUV comes with 177 horsepower from its 2.4-liter, four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor combination. Total cargo space inside the Escape Hybrid is 66 cubic feet.
Best Used Small SUV – 03 – Infiniti EX
A used Infiniti EX can be thought of as a station wagon on steroids, a hopped-up used small SUV that provides tall ground clearance and a chassis that is willing to hang in the corners when pushed hard. The Infiniti EX can be had in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations and its 3.5-liter V-6 engine generates 297 horsepower, managed by a seven-speed automatic transmission in recent models. Fuel economy for the Infiniti is listed at 17-mpg around town and 24-mpg during highway cruising. Five passengers are spread across two rows inside the EX, and with the rear accommodations out of the picture the SUV can transport as much as 47.4 cubic feet of luggage.
Best Used Small SUV – 04 – Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback has long been one of the most popular used small SUVs amongst those who live in snowy climates, primarily due to the appeal of its standard all-wheel drive system. The Subaru Outback is bigger in recent years than when it was first introduced, which means more room inside for the up to five passengers that can squeeze into the vehicle. It also pushes total cargo capacity up to 71.3 cubic feet, which like the xB brushes up against the mid-size segment. Under the hood, the Subaru Outback can be found in four-cylinder (2.5-liters, 170 horsepower) and six-cylinder (3.6-liters, 256 horsepower) versions. The former can be had with either a six-speed manual or a continuously-variable automatic transmission, while the latter makes do with a traditional five-speed autobox. The four-cylinder Outback posts fuel mileage figures of 22-mpg city and 29-mpg highway in CVT form.
Best Used Small SUV – 05 – Honda Element
A used Honda Element is typically best appreciate by those who require its outstanding cabin access and spacious, easy-to-configure seating and cargo arrangement. The rear-hinged second set of doors offered by the Element make it a cinch to load larger objects – or dogs, or small horses – into its gaping interior, which boasts 75 cubic feet of total space. The five passenger Element can be even be found with a Dog Friendly package installed. The Honda comes with a 2.4-liter, 166 horsepower four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive is optional with the Element, and fuel economy checks in at 20-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
Best Used Small SUV – 06 – Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
The luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is much more affordable when found used than when bought new. Even at its lower price, it still offers the five passenger seating and 54.7 cubic feet of total interior storage space that make it much more useful than a compact sedan. A used Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is also a respectable handler when the road turns twisty, thanks to sharing some of its underpinnings with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The GLK-Class is offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 268 horsepower and fuel economy figures of 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 22-mpg on the highway. Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive versions are available, and a seven-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox option for the SUV.
Best Used Small SUV – 07 – Volkswagen Tiguan
A used Volkswagen Tiguan represents a small step up over standard entry-level used SUV fare, especially when considering its elegantly appointed interior and its buttoned-down driving dynamics. The Volkswagen Tiguan’s 2.0-liter, 200 horsepower four-cylinder engine also delivers a nice kick in the pants when the right foot hits the go pedal, and the vehicle can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive versions of the Tiguan (which seats five passengers and features 56.1 cubic feet of total cargo space) provide fuel mileage of 22-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. 4Motion all-wheel drive is available with the SUV as an option.
Best Used Small SUV – 08 – Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a perennial favorite in the used small SUV segment thanks to its ability to deliver big in each of the important family categories. Five passenger seating is spacious in the Honda CR-V, as its designers have successfully resisted the temptation to stuff a third row behind the second set of accommodations. Cargo space is also good, measuring as 73 cubic feet. A 2.4-liter, 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine is standard with the CR-V, and a five-speed automatic transmission sends that output to either the front or all four wheels (if available all-wheel drive is present). Fuel economy figures for the used small SUV show as 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
Best Used Small SUV – 09 – Chevrolet Equinox
A used Chevrolet Equinox is a little bit on the bigger side when evaluating used small SUVs, but while its interior accommodations are generous its exterior dimensions keep it firmly planted in the compact camp. The Chevrolet Equinox provides five passenger seating, and with the second row folded forward it provides 63.7 cubic feet of total cargo space. The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that serves as the entry-level engine for the Equinox provides 182 horsepower, while the optional 3.0-liter V-6 churns out 264 ponies. Each is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, and both can be had in all-wheel drive trim. The front-wheel drive, four-cylinder Equinox leads the way in terms of fuel mileage, posting a rating of 22-mpg city and 32-mpg highway.
Best Used Small SUV – 10 – Mazda CX-7
A used Mazda CX-7 injects more than a little bit of performance into the compact SUV segment, and its lively chassis and excellent steering are complemented by the availability of a 244 horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A 2.5-liter, 161 horsepower four-cylinder is also offered with the Mazda CX-7, as are five and six-speed automatic transmissions and optional all-wheel drive. Fuel mileage for the naturally-aspirated mill shows as 20-mpg around town and 28-mpg during highway cruising, and the five-passenger Mazda can also haul up to 59 cubic feet of cargo.