best used suv to buy in canada 2020

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best-used-crossovers (1)

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According to sales figures, used vehicle shoppers in Canada are more likely than ever to be eyeing up a second-hand SUV. Combining the best attributes of both car and traditional body-on-frame SUV, a crossover SUV delivers a car-like drive and mileage, along with All-Wheel Drive (AWD) capability, added ride height and ground clearance, and expanded cargo space and flexibility.

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The crossover is becoming the go-to means of conveyance for the Canadian family — and if you’re shopping for a second hand unit, you’re probably wondering which are the best to buy. Below, I’ll point you towards the models I frequently recommend to family and friends in search of that new-to-them ride—based on years of research and frequent scouring of owner communities to see what real-life owners report as their crossovers age.

Best Used Crossover SUVs, $15,000 to $25,000 | Shopping Advice |

We’re defining ‘best’ in terms of crossover models that deliver strongly on attributes of importance to Canadian shoppers. These include a blend of affordable second-hand pricing, safety, value, feature content, and data gleaned from industry experts, owner communities, and a network of auto repair professionals that suggests a trouble-free ownership experience is likely — provided that shoppers take steps to ensure the vehicle is in sound condition and has been properly serviced and maintained before they buy.

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We’re setting a price cap of $25,000 for the used crossovers listed below, and identifying an estimated price-range where you’ll find strong selection on reasonable-mileage units in our recommended model years.

Chevrolet Equinox / GMC Terrain

Where to Look: Model years 2015 or 2016

Approximate Price Range: $16,000-$20,000

Reasons to Consider: The GM Equinox and Terrain twins have been recognized as segment leaders by J.D. Power and Associates in their 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) , which considers the responses of thousands of owners based on problems experienced during their first three years of ownership.

Equinox takes top position in this study as the leading compact SUV, beating Toyota RAV4 in the process. The GMC Terrain is another version of the Chevrolet Equinox, and the two vehicles are largely identical under the skin. The information below can be applied to both.

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Seeking a 2015 or 2016 model year unit gets shoppers into a compact crossover with over seven years of production experience in an award-winning Canadian facility. Data suggests that vehicles from late within a long production cycle tend to be more trouble-free than newer models, perhaps because of years spent ironing out any earlier bugs or flaws.

A strong safety story and above-average availability of connected-vehicle features like Wi-Fi and OnStar add further appeal. For model year 2016, a refresh added upgraded looks and trim levels, as well as more standard equipment on most trim grades.

Toyota RAV4

Where to Look: Model years 2015-2018

Approximate Price Range: $20,000-$25,000

Reasons to Consider: The Toyota RAV4 is Canadian-built favourite that’s found homes in many driveways across the country. A runner up in the 2019 J.D. Power and Associates VDS, it’s one of the most highly-rated crossovers in its segment by owners.

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A collection of advanced standard safety equipment and available hybrid powertrain help add further appeal.

Many shoppers gravitate towards Toyota models for their strong brand reputation, reliability, and high residual values . For generations, RAV4 has proven to be a smart choice amongst crossover shoppers — and for $25,000 or less, you’ll find a second-hand unit with AWD, reasonable mileage, and plenty of modern safety and convenience equipment.

Approaching our $25,000 price cap, you’ll find no shortage of 2017 or 2018 models on offer — each with no less than 5 years of experience behind their production. A solid rough-road ride and great highway manners round out the package.

Hyundai Santa Fe XL

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Where to Look: Model years 2015-2018



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Approximate Price Range: $23,000-$25,000

Reasons to Consider: Flaunting a top position in the 2019 J.D. Power and Associates VDS , the Hyundai Santa Fe XL comes in above Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander for the fewest owner-reported problems in its class. Backed by Hyundai’s recent climb into a top-three position for overall brand quality , Santa Fe XL imparts plenty of confidence to second-hand shoppers.

Santa Fe XL offered up plenty of modern feature content for the money, along with strong safety scores. With three seating rows and a flexible and spacious cabin, it’s an easy machine to adapt to most tasks, and should accommodate growing families with ease.

Owner-reported issues are often minor in nature, typically fixed with software updates and usually under warranty. For $25,000 or less, you’ll find plenty of selection– though shoppers after later-model, low-mileage units may have to cough up a few extra bucks.

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VW Tiguan / Audi Q3

Where to Look: Model years 2015-2017

Approximate Price Range: $17,000-$25,000

Reasons to Consider: Tiguan and Q3 share many common components, including a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that VW group has made countless copies of, over the span of many, many years.

You may be surprised to hear that both models have received top marks for dependability from J.D. Power and Associates, with the Tiguan’s 2016 category win coming some nine years into its mass production. Both Tiguan and Q3 are strong examples of dependable operation from time-tested models that are many years into their production cycles.

With standard turbocharged power, both units will be sportier to drive (but pricier to run, requiring premium fuel) than others in their classes. Both models can be considered by shoppers after a higher-performing and more upscale alternative to something more basic, particularly the Q3.

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Tiguan and Q3 both earned high scores for safety, though as testing regimens became tougher, this generation Tiguan failed to secure its coveted Top Safety Pick rating in more recent years.

On recent units, owner-reported issues tend to be minor in nature, often electronic and easily remedied by a dealer.

For $25,000 or less, you’ll find solid selection on used Q3 models with very reasonable mileage. Low-mileage 2016 or 2017 Tiguans can be had for under $20,000 all day long.

Mercedes-Benz GLK

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Where to Look: Model years 2013-2014

Approximate Price Range: $20,000-$25,000

Reasons to Consider: A luxurious and well-equipped choice for a premium drive, the Mercedes GLK 350 comes with time-tested powertrain tech from a 3.5-litre gasoline V6 engine, and an owner’s community that largely call the GLK one of the most trouble-free vehicles they’ve ever owned.

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Use of proven tech and electronics seem to keep major problems at bay, with most owners reporting few if any issues as their GLK’s age. Reported issues tend to be minor in nature, and easily addressed.

For $20,000-$25,000, you’re likely looking at units from model year 2013 or 2014, typically with 100,000 kilometres or less on the odometer. The GLK 350 has standard 4Matic AWD, plenty of luxury and convenience features, and has earned top safety scores.

Mitsubishi RVR

2018 Mitsubishi RVR

Where to Look: Model years 2014-2020

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The RVR is a compact crossover with optional AWD that’s built to handle and maneuver like a small car. The RVR flaunted a Top Safety Pick safety rating until 2016, when more challenging testing protocols arrived.

Many owners report a trouble-free ownership experience, taking confidence in the RVR’s time-tested driveline and 10-year warranty. You’ll find no shortage of AWD-equipped RVRs with under 50,000 kilometres from about $17,000.

Stretch your budget a little north of our price-cap, and you’ll find a brand-new 2020 RVR with AWD from $25,498 — complete with a time-tested driveline and 10 years of powertrain warranty.

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