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Best used large SUVs and 4x4s 2024

The best used large SUVs and 4x4s in the business offer space, practicality, performance and low running costs

While the UK car market has been flooded with crossovers and mid-size SUVs in recent times, many buyers — especially those with large families — are still fans of the sheer space and practicality that a full-size SUV brings. Of course, these bulky cars command some equally big prices if you’re buying brand new, but the best used large SUVs and 4x4s offer some massive savings if you can find the right one.

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For many drivers, the temptation of four-wheel drive is a big pull, too. A 4x4 will take varied terrain in its stride, and while few SUVs are true off-roaders, large models equipped with 4WD will be in a better position to deal with slippery surfaces and who knows what else when the going gets tough in the winter. Running costs can be high for vehicles in this class but we’ve chosen models that shouldn’t break the bank.

So which used large SUV or 4x4 should you choose? Our expert road testers have rounded up the best models to buy right now, read on to find these listed below.

Best used large SUVs and 4x4s to buy

  1. Kia Sorento
  2. Volvo XC90
  3. Lexus RX
  4. Audi Q7
  5. Skoda Kodiaq
  6. SEAT Tarraco
  7. Land Rover Discovery
  8. Peugeot 5008

1. Kia Sorento (Mk3)

  • Our pick: 4 1.6 T-GDi AWD (2020/70, 21k miles, £31,450)
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Kia is now a genuine premium player, and the fourth-generation Sorento is the car that cemented its place near the top of the upmarket pecking order. Featuring bold looks, a classy seven-seat interior and plenty of cutting-edge tech, the Korean SUV is a top used choice for growing families. Throw in a reassuring second place in our 2023 Driver Power poll and the imposing off-roader’s victory in this category is assured.

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Like all the latest Kia models, the Sorento stands out from the crowd with its angular lines, muscular stance and distinctive LED light treatment. Yet it’s the car’s slick and sophisticated interior that really wins plaudits. Not only does it ooze luxurious appeal, it’s also packed with standard equipment. Even the entry-level 2 models get heated seats, climate control and a reversing camera, plus the firm’s brilliantly intuitive touchscreen infotainment. There are also a whole host of advanced driver aids which, along with the seven-year warranty, bring added peace of mind.

Further boosting the Sorento’s appeal is its comprehensive range of engines, which runs to a gutsy diesel, a smooth hybrid and a plug-in hybrid that’ll manage around 30 miles of all-electric running. The Sorento delivers a relaxing and unruffled driving experience, thanks to its light controls and impressive refinement, and the standard all-wheel drive serves up confidence-inspiring all-weather security. While the low-speed ride is a little firm, the upshot is surprisingly precise and nimble handling through the corners.

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Of course, the Kia is a family car first and foremost, which means there’s enough space to ensure you won’t have to leave the kitchen sink behind. There’s bags of head and legroom in the rear, while even adults won’t feel short-changed when sitting in the third row. Fold all the seats down and there’s a cavernous 2,011 litres.

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So if you want a spacious SUV with a generous slice of kerb appeal that won’t break the bank, look no further than this capable Kia.

2. Volvo XC90 (Mk2)

It’s not far off its 10th birthday, but the versatile Volvo XC90 still looks as fresh and appealing as ever. It also has one of the classiest and roomiest seven-seat interiors in the business. You can even pick up decent examples for the price of a new supermini.

The big Volvo is also great to drive, with accurate handling, a soft ride and excellent refinement. There’s a wide choice of engines, including frugal diesels, punchy petrols and the T8 PHEV that combines nearly 400bhp with 30 miles of EV running.

3. Lexus RX (Mk4)

Lexus’s flagship SUV has angular styling and a sumptuous interior that looks and feels the part, while its full-hybrid powertrain is smooth, eager and efficient. Refinement is first rate, too, and an impeccable reliability record (the RX took third in this year’s Driver Power survey) makes it a guaranteed stress-free choice.

4. Audi Q7 (Mk1)

If your budget can’t quite stretch as far as an XC90, then how about an original Q7? Our left-field choice still looks surprisingly fresh, while the interior is spacious and well built, even if the technology is dated. Electrical glitches and neglect can cause problems, but the 3.0-litre TDI engine is bombproof.

5. Skoda Kodiaq (Mk1)

The original Skoda Kodiaq was launched in 2017, and it’s been one of the top contenders in its class ever since. This has coincided with an impressive purple patch for Skoda, with the company boasting its strongest ever line-up thanks to shared DNA with Volkswagen, its parent company.

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Initially the Kodiaq was offered with a 1.4-litre petrol engine producing either 124bhp or 148bhp, a 2.0-litre petrol producing 178bhp, or a 2.0-litre diesel in 114bhp, 148bhp and 187bhp forms. Four-wheel drive could be found on the most powerful engines, with it being an optional extra on mid-spec powertrains. Mid-way through 2018, the 1.4-litre petrol was replaced with an improved 1.5-litre unit, while a sportier Kodiaq vRS arrived in 2019 with a twin-turbo diesel making 237bhp.

Now that depreciation has set in, you can net the Mk1 Kodiaq in a number of trims for a very reasonable price. If you’re willing to opt for petrol power then prices can dip even lower, however your running costs will be higher as none of the petrols are nearly as frugal. This is despite the 1.4- and 1.5-litre units employing cylinder shut-off technology.

If you can live with middling efficiency, the Kodiaq majors in practicality (Scout models come with seven seats), the infotainment system is slick and it drives very well indeed.

6. SEAT Tarraco (Mk1)

The SEAT Tarraco is another large SUV with shared underpinnings, utilising the same platform as the Kodiaq. The SEAT is intended as the sportier offering, although this has more to do with the car’s styling than it does performance: the engine line-up is identical, although there’s no vRS equivalent of the Tarraco. If you want a SEAT with speed in mind, look at Cupra

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The 1.5-litre petrol feels underpowered due to its relative lack of torque, hitting 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds. Meanwhile the 2.0-litre petrol is much punchier with 320Nm at its disposal, taking the 0-62mph figure down to eight seconds flat. The 187bhp, 2.0-litre diesel is just as quick.

The more engaging feel of the Tarraco comes from the reduced ride height, which is 20mm lower than in the Kodiaq. As a result it performs a bit better in corners, and the ride is excellent over a variety of surfaces.

7. Land Rover Discovery (Mk5)

If off-roading really is your thing, then look no further than the Land Rover Discovery. Its ability to tackle the toughest terrain is unparalleled in the large SUV sector, thanks to permanent four-wheel drive, a huge amount of torque and - on the latest edition of the Disco - a diet that’s stripped almost half a tonne from the previous car.

The current engine line-up consists of a 2.0-litre petrol producing 296bhp, a 2.0-litre diesel with 237bhp and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel boasting 302bhp. All Discos get an eight-speed automatic gearbox, air suspension that can be controlled electronically and a Terrain Response system that allows you to set up the diffs, ride height and traction control to suit whichever conditions you find yourself in.

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The latest Land Rover Discovery is also the best yet in terms of driving on the road. Refinement is excellent and ride comfort is excellent, especially on the smallest 19-inch alloy wheels. Despite the improvements, fuel economy is poor: you’ll struggle to draw more than 30mpg from any of the engines, while high CO2 emissions figures only serve to drive up road tax costs.

8. Peugeot 5008 (Mk2)

The Peugeot 5008 is about as good as it gets when it comes to large SUVs at this end of the price spectrum. No, it’s not as premium as the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery, but it gets the basics spot on and thanks to a lack of weaknesses, it’s one of the best all-rounders on the market.

The engine line-up features a 1.2 PureTech 130 petrol, a 1.6 PureTech 180 turbo petrol and a 2.0 Blue HDi 180 diesel. Previously there was a 1.6-litre diesel as well, but this was replaced by a 1.5-litre unit in 2018, with the new engine offering more power and improved fuel economy. At 57.3mpg according to official tests, this is one of the most fuel-efficient cars of this size.

The Peugeot is lighter than most of its rivals, so even the smallest petrol engine packs enough punch to offer reasonable performance on the road. Inside you’ll find an eight-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital screen behind the steering wheel for ultra-clear information on the move. With the exception of a few materials in the lower part of the cabin, the 5008 is a high-quality place to sit, belying its status as one of the more affordable cars in its class.

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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