So you’re looking to get yourself an SUV for 2022 then? An SUV? What’s that?
Good question. The term SUV is widely used and encompasses so many different types of car that nobody really knows precisely how to describe one. So before The Car Expert recommends some websites to help you find an SUV, it’s important to understand exactly what it is you want to buy.
An SUV is a traditional family car or estate model but with more of a leaning towards lifestyle. Most look like they could be a 4×4 off-roader, but they don’t actually have to offer 4WD capability to be an SUV. Indeed many are two wheel drive only.
They come in all sizes today, and the smaller ones are even referred to as crossovers, but whatever size you choose, the car will always have a sense of utility, adventure and versatility about it. A ‘belt up the kids, throw the dog on the boot, fill the roof box with anoraks and walking gear and head for the hills’ kind of feeling.
So whether you’re looking for a Ford Puma, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Kodiaq or Range Rover, you will find it in the ‘SUV’ category. It’s a big arena to search in so you’ll need some help choosing the right websites.
Here at The Car Expert, we’re building and updating guides to the top sites to buy used vehicles of all categories. So here is our pick of some of the best for buying a used SUV.
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They say: “Europe’s largest 4×4 dealership”
We like: Good photography brings out the best in cars
We don’t like: Big blocks of text with features
Claiming to be the UK’s leading independent 4×4 dealer and the largest in Europe, Saxton 4×4 has been trading in top 4WD marques for more than 50 years. Its 100,000 square foot Essex site is an official distributor for brands such as Overfinch, Kahn and Onyx and it sells standard and modified 4x4s.
They check their prices against the market every day to stay competitive and each used car gets a 300-point vehicle inspection and provenance check. Four wheel drive cars can be pricey but if you don’t fancy shelling out in one go, a range of finance offers are available.
Aim high and you’ll find enchanting machinery such as a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Mercedes-Benz GLS Maybach listed in there but for the majority of us, there is a good selection of 4WD favourites from Jeep and Land Rover along with MINI, Audi, BMW and other brands that offer all-wheel drive.
These can be found through the usual drop down menu of make, model, fuel type, body style, mileage and more. Click on a car you like and you’ll get a list with good photo, brief details and a click through to ‘View’ for more details. Here you get more details and pictures, a block of description and key facts such as mileage, mpg and CO2.
It’s a fairly attractive site to navigate around and there’s a good selection of photography including a panoramic 360 degree feature.
They say: “We make finding the right car simple”
We like: Lots to read and enjoy
We don’t like: Some pictures are low quality
The landing page tells you immediately that there are more than 300,000 used cars on Motors.co.uk’s books, so you know you’re looking at a big operation. You’re initially asked for your postcode, make and model (if you know what you want) and minimum and maximum price you’re happy to pay.
There is, however, a ‘More Options’ tab at the bottom which we used to find body styles including ‘SUV’. Doing that pared the search down to a ‘mere’ 43,000 cars. The large numbers are because Motors.co.uk doesn’t own all the cars in its records; it acts as an agent for dealers across the UK, although there are some private sellers in there too.
You can continue refining through age, mileage, transmission, colour and more, to get the number of available cars down to a more manageable level. Even then there’s still a lot to go through. But it’s an easy site to navigate around, and there’s a section highlighting all the cars that have been reduced in price – you’ll find thousands here but some have only been cut by a few hundred pounds.
There’s news and feature articles plus car evaluations and a suite of video reviews. The helpful advice section includes news and features, an ‘ask the experts’ section and more. There’s also a fuel calculator, car finance guide and a ‘smart search’ to find the best car match for you.
A car price guide shows how much used models similar to what you’re looking at, are selling for, so you can compare, which is useful if budgeting. Car details are full, with lists of features and equipment but some of the pictures are a bit unpolished.
They say: “The better way to buy your next car”
We like: Simple site to understand
We don’t like: Smaller choice than some rivals
Founded in 2018, Cazoo’s mission was and is to make buying a car as simple as buying anything else online. When we last looked, Cazoo had 5,100 cars on its books so it is important to refine your search, and you can do that straight away by looking for a chosen car manufacturer as soon as the landing page opens. We found the likes of Dacia, Fiat, Hyundai, SEAT and Toyota there.
Scroll down further and you can search by ‘lifestyle’ whose categories include ‘family friendly’ and ‘outdoor living’ or to another search area where you’ll find ‘SUVs’ among lots of body styles and types. We clicked here and found just over 2,000 choices.
To make selecting your dream wheels quicker, there are advanced searches for year, mileage, fuel type, colour and more.
You are then invited to ‘View this car’ where there’s a comprehensive overview, with features and performance figures, and a substantial picture gallery showing every detail, including all four wheels, boot area and condition of interior upholstery. There is even a click-through to ‘imperfections’ which highlight even small issues, such as paint chips.
Cazoo buys its own stocks of cars and puts every one through a rigorous 300-point inspection procedure before it takes anything on to its books. They claim to buy only 5% of the used cars they look at and, judging by the pictures, that certainly seems to be true.
Finance quotes and part-exchange options are available, and once you have agreed to buy a car you can have it delivered within 72 hours or go and collect it yourself from one of Cazoo’s smart salesrooms. There’s a 90-day warranty with roadside assistance and a seven-day, full refund guarantee.
They say: “Scotland’s premier privately owned dealer group”
We like: Busy, useable site
We don’t like: Search engine didn’t return what we needed
Eastern Western was formed in 1927 as a family owned and run business and it’s still that today. They’re involved in many aspects of the automotive business – new cars, used cars, rental, servicing – so there’s lots going on. Based in West Lothian, they serve the whole of Scotland.
For used cars, a drop down menu offers several choices. There are brand suggestions such as ‘Used BMW’ or Used Fiat’, or you can try regions like ‘Used Cars in Edinburgh’. There’s also an option to just click on ‘All Used Cars’ – more than 1,500 were listed when we looked.
For our purposes we went for all used cars and then chose to use the ‘Search keywords’ option and typed in ‘SUV’. Only two cars came back: a Lexus UX and a BMW X1, so it was time to be a bit more specific. We used the drop down option to find ‘Hyundai’ and ‘ix35’.
An initial description of the available cars gives a picture, a price (outright and monthly hp), and basic details including year, mileage, fuel type and transmission. Clicking for more details gives you a greater breakdown of the car you’re interested in, plus more pictures.
You can reserve a car immediately for £99 and request further information from the dealership where the car is being held. Eastern Western are clearly keen to do a finance deal with you and there are lots of reminders throughout the site about this although you can, of course, buy outright.
It’s a busy site with lots of products on offer and a good news section. If you live in Scotland it’s certainly worth a look.
Essex 4×4 Centre
They say: “Great savings on quality used cars”
We like: Simple, no-frills approach
We don’t like: Big block of car detail text
This Hockley-based used car dealer is situated 20 minutes from the M25 motorway and so services a wide South-East band of customers.
Specialising in 4×4 vehicles, it’s a good place to look if you’re after an SUV – especially a more rugged one that will actually go off-road without difficulty. The drop down menu immediately shows up a number of car brands that the dealer has in stock at any one time.
When we looked there were Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Skoda, Suzuki and Toyota cars available among others. There was even a Bentley and a Porsche on the list, although the latter was an all-wheel drive 911, so not ticking the SUV box on this occasion.
You can otherwise ‘View all used cars’ or choose to look according to your finances – £150, £250 or over-£250 per month. Indeed, like most dealers, Essex 4×4 are happy to discuss finance packages and make a big point of that.
Once you have some cars to view – you get an initial picture and brief details – click on a chosen model and you’re given further photos, a more detailed ‘at a glance’ section and a big block of text listing every feature and option of the car, with more reminders that you can discuss finance with them.
Essex 4×4 also offers servicing, repairs, vehicle valuations and purchases and even a vehicle sourcing service using a network of other dealers.
They say: “Four wheel drive specialists since 1987”
We like: Compact but useful site
We don’t like: It’s cheaper looking compared with rivals
Shere 4×4 is a relatively small player when you compare it with some of the big rivals. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look if you’re in the market for a four wheel drive vehicle.
Established in 1987 and based in Shere village in Surrey, the company’s showroom holds a varied stock of vehicles. In 2001 a second showroom was opened, in the village of Northchapel in West Sussex, specialising in 4×4 pickup trucks while it also houses a service department. All the cars in stock can be found on their website.
Go to ‘Stock’ and you then have the chance to cut your search down to 4x4s, pickups, cars or ‘VW Transporters’. There’s a small selection of 4WD vehicles – when we looked it was mainly Mitsubishi and Suzuki – while in the pickups section you can find some double-cab vehicles which, while not true SUVs, can still do a good job for an active family.
This is a much smaller set-up than many of the other websites listed, so choice is greatly reduced, but there’s a friendly feel about the site, which also contains information on finance, servicing and extended warranties.
They say: “Find your next vehicle with Stoneacre”
We like: Simple to use drop down menus
We don’t like: Photography not as sharp as some
Its head office is in Doncaster, but Stoneacre has 60 dealerships across the UK representing a Who’s Who of motor manufacturers: Suzuki, Fiat, Seat, Renault, Peugeot, Mazda and lots more, most of whom, of course, build SUVs.
To find your dream SUV there are two ways in: click on ‘Find a Car’ and choose from the many car brands that crop down. Alternatively, from the home page you can go straight to a make and then model if you know exactly what you’re looking for.
We entered ‘Kia’ and ‘Sportage’ and were given 57 examples to look at from branches across the country. Whittling this down to dealers within 100 miles of our location brought the selection down to 25 vehicles.
Each is similarly pictured with brief details including mileage, fuel type and transmission and with a monthly cost in bold or an outright purchase cost as a secondary measure. As with most dealer groups, finance is clearly what many of their customers look for first.
Click through for more pictures and a series of information boxes appear starting with a finance calculator, then vehicle description, specification, technical details and safety information. Data is supplied by third parties such as manufacturer information so it’s worth checking with the specific dealer if you’re interested in a particular car.
The site also offers car valuation and GAP insurance while a blog section contains interesting news and advice.
They say: “We live and breathe all things automotive”
We like: Cars well pictured and described
We don’t like: Some vehicle details repeated
Established in 2006, Vertu Motors Group also uses the names Bristol Street Motors and Macklin Motors so the chances are you will have come across at least one of their dealerships, which are located nationwide.
With its HQ in Gateshead, Vertu has amassed a wide-ranging portfolio of manufacturer partners under its belt including Audi, BMW, Honda, Jaguar, Volkswagen and many more, which allows them to offer a big list of SUV models.
As well as new cars, Vertu’s dealerships also stock a wide range of used vehicles, most of which can be found on its website.
Go to the ‘Used Cars’ drop down from the main menu and from here you can select from the list of manufacturers. There are sections on manufacturer ‘approved’ cars too plus a list of ex-demonstrator cars from the company’s branches. If you don’t want to travel the length of the country for your car it’s worth adding in your postcode and the miles you are prepared to go, or you can simply choose from a list of dealers and find the ones nearest to you.
Choose a car and you get an initial picture with brief details such as mileage, age and colour. There’s the full asking price plus an example of monthly finance payments. There are many other pictures available plus video and a list of the car’s key features. A ‘Manager’s comment’ gives an overview although it’s basically another list describing the same features. If you’re still interested you’ll find a further detailed specification sheet.
Like what you see? You can reserve the car online for £99, buy it online, make an inquiry or book an appointment to view it.
They say: “We specialise in selling used 4×4 vehicles”
We like: Friendly, family-style site
We don’t like: Limited stock
Another smaller, family owned and run business, Surrey-based Walton Motors started in 1955 and are still going strong with the fourth-generation family members now in charge.
With a leaning towards Land Rover vehicles, Walton Motors offers a range of 4x4s, each one fully serviced, MOT’d and 20-point checked before being offered for sale. With a mix of newer and older (we found one from 1961) vehicles, it’s simple to obtain details if you see something you like. Some of the cars have been modified or are presented in unique colours.
The initial brief description gives a good picture, the price, and details such as mileage, age, body type, transmission, colour and fuel. There’s a block of other details and you can click on ‘More’ if something catches your eye.
The page opens to similar details done in a different way but with a lot more pictures and from there you can fill in an email form or phone the showroom to take the inquiry further.
Walton Motors also offers services such as part exchange, export to the US, warranty, servicing, repairs and even a hand car wash.
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*The Car Expert has commercial partnerships with Cazoo and Motors.co.uk. If you click through to their websites and view any of their vehicles, we may receive a small commission. We do not receive any payment or commission if you proceed to buy a car or sign an agreement via any of these sites.