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Best cars & vans

Best used small SUVs and 4x4s 2024

If you're after a little extra style and space without breaking the bank, these are the best used small SUVs and 4x4s to buy right now

Few areas of the new car market have exploded in popularity like the small SUV and crossover sector. Over the last decade, these models have continually been some of the best-selling cars in the UK, and this means that the best used small SUVs can now be found in abundance for some very tempting prices.

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In general, small SUVs derive their underpinnings from superminis, a more conventional category of small car – which makes them rather easy and pleasant to drive without taking up much more space on the road. Their chunky 4x4-inspired looks and high rooflines also make them appealing to buyers, as well as being more practical – in most cases they’re genuinely roomy enough to handle family life. 

So space and style are two of the biggest considerations here, but so are low running costs and reliability. Above all else, though, these cars have to be affordable. The initial sting of depreciation has been felt by the first owner, so every model here boasts a competitive price range.

Our expert road testers have rounded up the eight finest used small SUVs that you can buy right now, so read on below to find out more…

Best used small 4x4s and SUVs 2024

  1. Citroen C3 Aircross
  2. SEAT Arona
  3. Jeep Renegade
  4. Kia Niro
  5. Toyota C-HR
  6. Audi Q3
  7. Peugeot 2008
  8. Suzuki Vitara

1. Citroen C3 Aircross Mk1

  • Our pick: 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel (2018/68, 27k miles, £9,995)
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It looks like the C3 Aircross has developed a taste for the winner’s champagne, because the distinctive French machine has now bagged a trio of Used Small SUV wins. Featuring eye-catching Gallic style, a family-friendly interior and incredible value for money, it’s not hard to see why the quirky Citroen’s appeal remains as strong as ever.

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For starters, it continues to prove you don’t have to dig too deep into the family finances to get your hands on a suitably sized car that’s as characterful as it is practical. The cheapest used examples now come in at under £8,000, yet most have low mileages, a full history and one careful owner. 

As with all the best family machines, the Aircross feels like it’s been designed from the inside out. For starters, with its bold shapes, robust build quality and large windows, the cabin has a bright and breezy vibe. It’s spacious, too, while neat features such as the sliding rear seats allow you to choose between more legroom or extra luggage space. There are also numerous cup-holders, cubbies and storage solutions that help take the stress out of busy family life. 

The standard kit count is also generous, and while the touchscreen infotainment system is a little laggy, it packs all the connectivity you’ll need. Go for a 2021-on facelifted example and you’ll be able to revel in the peace of mind offered by its driver aids. 

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Soft suspension and seats that offer armchair-style comfort ensure that the C3 is one of the most relaxing small cars to drive. Ultimately it’s not as engaging as a Ford Puma, but the Citroen’s light controls and raised driving position make it easy wherever you go. 

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There’s also a wide range of eager and efficient engines to choose from, although the punchy 108bhp 1.2-litre PureTech is the star. With it, the C3 will cost a pittance to run, while the brand’s strong showing in our 2023 Driver Power satisfaction survey suggests it’ll also be a trouble-free choice. 

2. SEAT Arona Mk1

If you want a second-hand small SUV that serves up a big slice of driver engagement, then the Arona should be at the top of your list. It’s not as roomy or as practical as the Citroen , but with its quick steering, agile handling and perky turbocharged engines, it injects a welcome dose of fun into family motoring. 

We love the 1.0-litre petrol for its balance of performance, economy and refinement. Most SEAT Aronas on the market will have useful tech included in the cabin, such as Smartphone connectivity. Its boot is a useful shape, and while there could be more legroom in the back, it’s big enough for kids. 

3. Jeep Renegade Mk1

With its charming retro looks and off-road ability, the Renegade is a small SUV with a big sense of adventure. It’s not so comfortable on the road, while the interior is cramped and features far too many low-rent materials. But the Jeep is cheap to buy and run, and it’s crammed with standard kit. Opting for a four-wheel-drive version makes the Renegade genuinely capable when the going gets tough, too. 

4. Kia Niro Mk1

Buyers wanting a sensible and cost-effective used compact crossover are spoiled for choice, but one of the best is the original Kia Niro. Look past its rather bland styling and you’ll discover a spacious and well equipped family car that’s as easy to live with as it is to drive. 

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You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to engines, too, with self-charging and plug-in hybrid variants as well as the all-electric e-Niro model that claims up to 282 miles of battery range. Then there’s the fact that all examples will still have cover from Kia’s seven-year warranty.

5. Toyota C-HR Mk1

One of the first mainstream machines to combine a rugged SUV stance with sleek coupe looks, the C-HR is a great choice for families wanting to turn on the style. Under the Toyota’s eye-catching bodywork is the same platform as the Prius, which means similarly engaging driving dynamics, with impressive smoothness and refinement, plus the option of hybrid powertrains. 

The well made interior is roomy enough, but that sloping roofline means rear-seat occupants may feel a little claustrophobic. On the plus side, a five-year warranty and Toyota’s reputation for reliability should mean the C-HR will prove drama-free.

6. Audi Q3 Mk1

If you’re looking for a more upmarket small SUV then the Audi Q3 is a standout choice. Depreciation has pushed prices to the point where it competes with cars that were a lot less expensive as brand-new buys. 

You’re not just getting a premium badge with the Q3, either. The interior is very high-quality, looks great, and the in-car tech still stands up well compared with the latest new cars. It’s roomy inside, too – there’s enough space in the back seats for adults, even if the high central tunnel restricts legroom in the middle seat.

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That tunnel is there because the Q3 was offered with quattro four-wheel drive, so buyers can benefit from improved traction in poor conditions. The engine range is small but you can’t go far wrong – the 2.0 TDI diesel is punchy and economical, while the 2.0 TFSI petrol is powerful and smooth. The 1.4 TFSI petrol is quiet and offers a good balance between the two.

7. Peugeot 2008 Mk1

Peugeot’s first attempt at a compact crossover isn’t the most glamorous option, but with prices now dipping below £4,000, it represents great value. Based on the original 208 supermini, it shares the same quirky i-Cockpit dash layout, but a stretched wheelbase means there’s much more room for rear-seat passengers, as well as a handy 360-litre boot. 

It handles accurately, plus it was available with Peugeot’s Grip Control set-up, although you’ll need to check that any potential buy is still fitted with all-season tyres. All the engines are frugal, but the smaller petrols struggle when the car is fully loaded.

8. Suzuki Vitara Mk4

Over the years the Vitara has transformed from a fashionable fun-loving soft-roader into a sensible family crossover. That’s bad news for buyers who want to stand out from the crowd, but great if you’re in the market for a practical and cost-effective runaround. Despite its slightly dowdy looks, the Suzuki is great to drive, thanks to its quick steering and agile responses. 

It’s also powered by some eager engines, including the punchy and frugal 1.6-litre diesel. And with its slick AllGrip four-wheel-drive option, the Vitara hasn’t forgotten its off-roading roots. The interior is a bit plain and some of the materials are low rent, but the Suzuki is roomy, robust and well equipped.

Now find out more about the best used cars you can buy...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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