Best used-car deals on small SUVs

ConsumerReports.org

During the holiday season, travel demands are high and money tends to be tight, adding appeal to replacing your dated clunker with a fresher used car. With all the gifts and food needing transport, and threat of foul weather, an SUV is a good choice.

In our latest price analysis, we found that there are plenty of deals on 3- to 4-year-old used small SUVs. These tend to be Goldilocks vehicles, with a just-right balance of fuel economy, room for families and cargo, and available all-wheel-drive. A used SUV allows you to reap these benefits for less money than buying new. To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we've identified some of the best used deals on small SUVs on the market.

Buying a used car has many benefits. Most important is that the original owner takes the initial depreciation hit, as new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. Also, most small SUVs have the latest safety equipment, such as curtain air bags and stability control, and are still affordable.

When shopping, look for models that scored well in Consumer Reports’ tests when new, have proven reliability, and perform well in government and insurance industry crash tests. Before handing over the cash, have the vehicle inspected by a trained and trusted mechanic to make sure there are no hidden problems.

Check out our top deals for recommended used SUVs from the 2010-2012 model years. We placed the vehicles in order of the cheapest price you might be able to get when buying from the dealer. The models listed below cost 13 to 44 percent less than the retail price when the vehicle was new. Plus, all of the models have at least average reliability according to our latest subscriber survey.

See our complete list of used-car deals across a variety of vehicle categories.

Vehicle   Mileage MSRP When New Buying from Dealer Average Price
Drop In Retail Value vs. MSRP
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander 51,000 $22,240 $12,375 44%
2010 Nissan Rogue 51,000 $21,540 $13,950 35%
2011 Nissan Rogue 40,000 $22,060 $15,550 30%
2010 Toyota RAV4 51,000 $24,935 $16,000 36%
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander 40,000 $24,495 $16,450 33%
2012 Nissan Rogue 22,000 $22,780 $17,025 25%
2010 Subaru Forester
51,000 $23,795 $17,800 25%
2010 Honda CR-V 51,000 $25,095 $17,900 29%
2012 Mitsubishi Outlander 22,000 $23,295 $17,950 23%
2011 Toyota RAV4 40,000 $25,460 $18,500 27%
2011 Honda CR-V 40,000 $25,245 $20,075 20%
2011 Subaru Forester 40,000 $24,195 $20,300 16%
2012 Toyota RAV4
22,000 $26,085 $20,450 22%
2011 Kia Sportage 40,000 $24,795 $20,550 17%
2012 Honda CR-V
22,000 $23,745 $20,775 13%
2012 Subaru Forester
22,000
$26,595 $22,400 16%
2011 Infiniti EX35 40,000 $35,550 $28,000 21%

—Liza Barth

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