Best used SUVs 2013
Best used SUV less than £8000 – and category winner
Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta 2WD ('07/07)
Dealer price £7800
Private price £7200
Official fuel economy 52.3mpg
CO2 emissions 145g/km
Annual road tax £140
Insurance group 16
Euro NCAP rating Pre-2009 test gave five stars for adults, four for children
The Qashqai is really a small family hatchback in disguise. It sits taller than other small hatchbacks and has more ground clearance, ensuring plenty of cabin space, a roomy boot and a commanding view of the road. It also has the chunky looks SUV buyers seek. However, it's considerably cheaper to buy, run and maintain than a traditional 4x4, not least because it's only two-wheel drive.
That's especially true if you opt for the 1.5-litre diesel version, which our judges felt makes the most sense. It's just as much at home round town as on the motorway, and it's on those longer journeys that the 52.3mpg fuel economy starts to impress.
Even the entry-level Visia version is well equipped, but the Acenta adds climate control, a CD multichanger and parking sensors on top of the Visia's standard alloy wheels, air-conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity so, if you can afford it, Acenta is well worth the extra cost.
The Qashqai also comes with a good crash-test rating and a superb reliability record: just 21% of Qashqais in What Car?'s latest survey had any recorded faults. Of these, axle and suspension issues were the most frequent, with an average repair bill of £312.
Best used SUV more than £8000
Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 136 Style 2WD ('10/10)
Dealer price £12,900
Private price £12,300
Official fuel economy 51.4mpg
CO2 emissions 147g/km
Annual road tax £140
Insurance group 18
Euro NCAP rating Five stars, including 90% for adults and 88% for children
The Hyundai ix35 beat its rivals at this budget in one area in particular: value for money. The ix35 was launched three years ago and it's now possible to buy a used one for less than £12,500 yet still enjoy the balance of Hyundai's five-year warranty, which means you're well protected for some time to come, should something go wrong.
Style is the entry-level trim but it still comes with alloy wheels, air-con, Bluetooth, heated front and rear seats, electric windows, a USB connection and rear parking sensors; the judges just couldn't ignore that list. The ix35 does the simple things well, too: there's plenty of room for a family of four, and the two-wheel-drive ix35's 2.0-litre diesel can top 50mpg.