It’s enough money to buy a new one on a budget – but is it better spent on a pre-loved example of something posher?
If you’ve got access to £25,000, there are plenty of SUV’s available to buy new. But they’ll tend to be on the small side, or from towards the bottom of their manufacturer’s range.
For the same sort of money, though, there are some very tempting vehicles on offer on the used market. As the following selection shows, you can get yourself into a premium model with serious badge cred – or even buy something nearly-new that’s barely run in and has almost all its life ahead of it.
1: Audi Q5
One we found: 2.0 TDI SE (2014), 10,000 miles, £24,490
The Q5 has a roomy cabin with very flexible seating – but it’s for people who would really prefer an agile road car. That’s how it feels to drive, which means a fairly heavy ride – but what is one of the most athletic suspension set-ups in any SUV. Interior quality is right up to Audi’s usual standards, but avoid the 2.0-litre petrol engine unless you have a fetish for filling stations – and make sure the auto box is in good nick unless you love spending money by the fistful.
2: Volvo XC60
One we found: D4 SE Lux Nav (2014), 23,000 miles, £23,000
Volvo called this its safest ever car when it was new. That’s an indication of what you get – simply an outstanding family wagon. As well as being comfortable, it has a classy cabin with plenty of cool styling touches that make it a pleasure to sit in, so it’s a pleasingly relaxed cruiser – albeit not the most engaging driver’s car. As this example shows, it’s exceptional value second-hand, and if you keep it properly maintained it should be a pain-free SUV to own.
3: BMW X5
One we found: xDrive 35d SE (2009), 44,000 miles, £22,495
This sort of money only buys the previous-generation X5, but with the handling of an athletic saloon car that’s not what you’d call a hardship. Don’t expect the best of rides, though, even in SE form – but a slick, classy cabin might make up for that. The X5 could be specced with seven seats, so there’s the first box to tick when narrowing down your search; just as important, though, is to look for any signs that the air suspension on the back wheels is in anything other than tip-top nick, because it definitely costs tip-top money to put right.
4: Kia Sorento
One we found: 2.2 CRDI KX-2 (2015), 12,000 miles, £24,999
A used car with a longer warranty than most have from new? Nice. The Sorento started with seven, so the sums are easy – even if the 2015 example we spotted will use up all our budget. With a huge seven-seat cabin and Kia’s famously thorough approach to equipment (including safety kit), it’s hard not to conclude that it’s worth every penny.
5: BMW X3
One we found: xDrive 20d SE (2013), 13,000 miles, £23,995
The X3 is a fine-handling SUV whose multimedia system is right at the top of the tree. There’s a good choice of engines, too, and it’s a popular vehicle so there are plenty on offer. The SE model is best, as it has the most comfortable ride and wants little for kit, but buy with care – the 2.0-litre diesel has been known to suffer from a stretched timing chain, and if that happens you’ll be forking out for a new engine.