SUVs (and their crossover derivatives) are all the rage right now, but why pay over the odds for a new one, when these crackers are available for less than €15,000 second-hand?
Audi Q3 Mk1
For a splash of premium colour, the first-gen Audi Q3 makes our list. To get it into budget, you’ll be looking at an early one, around 2012, and it’ll have a 2.0-litre TDI engine (177hp) with around 130,000km on the clock. But it’s still a very pleasant, upmarket ownership experience, eight years down the line.
Dacia Duster Mk1
It could be argued that the Duster is not an SUV but a crossover. And it could also be argued that brand-new Dusters only start at €17,000 or so, making a €15,000 used example a bit pointless. But you’ll get a very high-spec second-hand Duster for this cash, possibly in the rarer 4x4 specification, and on anything up to a 182 plate with less than 100,000km on the clock.
Ford Kuga Mk2
A second-gen Kuga is an SUV with a great chassis, a quality cabin and handsome looks. Something like a 141-152-plate car with less than 160,000km is available for €15,000, with luxurious Titanium models well worth seeking out. The engine will be a 2.0-litre TDCi.
This Hyundai’s follow-up, the Tucson, was the best-selling car in this country for a while and while the ix35 isn’t quite as polished as the younger SUV, it’s still a decent second-hand purchase. Reliable, with a sturdy 1.7 CRDi engine under the bonnet, this budget ought to net you a good, late 2015 car with less than 130,000km on the clock.
Kia Sportage Mk3
The Sportage was always a cheap’n’cheerful also-ran in the segment for its first two generations, but when the Mk3 arrived in 2010 all that changed. This is still a good-looking, quality SUV today and the budget will allow for the 1.7-litre turbodiesel model on around a 141- or 151-plate, with no more than 160,000km showing.
Mazda CX-5 Mk1
One of the most underrated SUVs of all, in our opinion, and with its gem of a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine (150hp) under the bonnet, a 2014-era CX-5 will make a fantastic family vehicle. Try and avoid the automatic model and aim for a Sport SE for the best ownership experience.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle, €15,000 should secure a 151 Outlander PHEV with anything between 130,000- and 140,000km covered. Reliability, decent EV range and a capacious cabin are all hallmarks of the Outlander PHEV.
Nissan Qashqai Mk2
The car that started the crossover trend is actually morphing into an SUV of sorts, given its size and cabin plushness. A 151- to 162-plate car with no more than 110,000km should be attainable, with the 1.5-litre dCi more popular (when new) than the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol.
Suzuki Vitara Mk4
We’ve always liked the 2015-launched fourth-generation Vitara for its refreshing simplicity, low weight and sharp styling, plus all of Suzuki’s notable reliability. ‘AllGrip’ four-wheel-drive models are available for this cash but a 2016/17 turbodiesel model with 100,000-130,000km on the clock would be our choice.
Volkswagen Tiguan Mk1
Bookending our list with another premium product, Volkswagen claims the Tiguan is Europe’s best-selling SUV of all. It’s easy to see why, as it has the prestige cachet and a practical, comfortable cabin. The 2.0 TDI models will be far easier to track down, although – as with the Audi Q3 – older and higher-mileage cars will be the fodder at this budget; expect 2013 and 2014 Tiguans with between 130,000-160,000km on odometer.