How to Choose the Right Used SUV for Your Needs

Choosing a good, reliable used car can be a real pain in the neck. There are so many dealerships around and they all claim to have the best, well-preserved vehicles that will provide a proper bang for your buck. And people get lured in, spend irrational sums of money only for their ‘almost as good as new’ car to let them down a month later somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The real tragedy is when someone buys a run-down SUV, as SUVs are supposed to be all about reliability and power. So, let’s take a look at few indicators that will help you select the right used SUV that will satisfy your needs.

What do you want out of your SUV?

Assessing your needs is a proper prerequisite that needs to be taken care of before heading out to buy a car, especially an SUV. Why? Because you really don’t want to make a costly mistake. Take into account the amount of space you need, the number of your family members, your regular activities and, most importantly, the terrain and distance you cover on a monthly basis. For example, if you need a reliable SUV that will transport four or more people at a time, you’ll want to look into a car that has a third row of seating. If the terrain is rough, you have to make sure that the engine is immaculate and that it has enough horsepower under the hood. Different people have different needs. Evaluate yours before buying!

Important info

Being well-informed about the ins and outs of various SUVs is really important because that will help you determine what you want to have in your next car. Bear in mind that powertrain choices for SUVs vary from 4-cylinder engines in small SUVs to strong V8s that are common in the largest SUVs of the class. Nowadays it has become really popular to buy an SUV with a turbocharged 4- or 6-cylinder engine as well as to take into consideration a through fuel check given the fact that fuel economy plays a big role in selecting your new vehicle. There aren’t many options when it comes to diesel powertrains but there are a few midsized and large models that offer them. If you’re looking for the fuel-efficiency, (nonhybrid) SUVs return fuel economy in the mid-20s but bear in mind that large nonhybrids get very poor gas mileage – in the low to mid-teens. As an alternative to minivans, there are three-row SUVs that can seat up to eight passengers but do know that there are some models with a third-row option that are cramped and not designed to accommodate adults

How will you use your SUV?

It is really important to know how you will use your SUV. A 4WD is a must if you’re big on off-road driving. But if you’d rather stick to highways, you might want to look into used crossover and hybrid SUVs. The most important thing however is to get enough power. Do not undercut the power because you will regret it. Off-road driving and towing large things like boats will no doubt require the power of a 4WD. 4WD vehicles provide good traction and hence give you better stability and control. And there is no point in explaining why having control and stability is important. This especially applies to people who live in places where it snows a lot.

Assess your budget

This should go without saying but many fail to assess their budgets before buying a second hand SUV. It is true that you will save a lot of cash by buying a used SUV, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sit down and take some time to think about your budget. First of all, ask yourself how much you are willing to spend on this car. Consider its price, maintenance costs and fuel consumption. You can even ask for free quotes from insurance agents to see the coverage costs. Also, think about extra features you might need.

Check the car yourself

When you make a decision, check the vehicle yourself. Go to the shop or dealership and check your SUV’s tires, engine and overall condition. Pay attention to dents, rust spots and scratches. Some photos may be misleading and sometimes it isn’t possible to see every detail before you actually go and see it for yourself. Remove the oil filler cap and look for residue, belts and hoses need to be checked too. If you spot a crack, that may be a red flag. If you want to be sure, bring a mechanic along. A professional will give you the most accurate info about the chosen SUV’s capabilities. Of course, ask a question or two about the car’s history and previous owners.


There are thousands of used cars for sale out there, many look nice on the eye and many folks get tricked. Make sure that you don’t end up like that.

Krissy Georgiadis

Written by Krissy Georgiadis

Law graduate and wanderlust sufferer. I like rum and beaches.