Best Used Small SUVs (2024 Buyer’s Guide)

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Best Used Small SUVs: Summary Points

  • The Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, and Kia Soul are among the best used small SUVs in 2024.

  • We looked at data from NHTSA, J.D. Power, the IIHS, and Kelley Blue Book for this list.

  • Each small SUV here includes a rundown of its essential details, like the powertrain, fuel economy, safety ratings, and cargo space.

Best Extended Warranty Options

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Best Used Small SUVs: Quick Overview

Purchasing a brand-new sedan, minivan, or larger SUV may not be the best option for you and your family. However, the pre-owned market has options if you want a smaller and more affordable SUV.

Below are five of the best used small SUVs that score high in safety, gas mileage, cargo space, and styling. Here are a few other helpful points to consider when reading through this list.

Terminology

There are a number of “industry terms” you might come across when researching a vehicle purchase. Those terms and phrases can include but are not limited to segment, class, compact, subcompact, crossover, crossover SUV (a blended term), and so on.

For this list, we have tried to simplify things and roll it under the banner of “small SUVs.” Rather than saying compact SUV, subcompact SUV, compact SUV segment, or any variation thereof, we are simply calling everything on this list a small SUV.

Although there are small luxury SUVs and hybrid SUVs, nothing on this list fits that designation.

Proven Track Record

Some manufacturers on this list, like Toyota and Honda, have a long track record of customer satisfaction with strong reliability ratings. Whether new or used, Toyota and Honda vehicles have a high level of build quality, on par with their luxury counterparts in Lexus and Acura, respectively.

Asking Price

We came up with an average range for each small SUV here. Mileage and condition, as a general rule of thumb, will have the biggest impact on the asking price of a used vehicle. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for any potential red flags, and only purchase a pre-owned vehicle after taking it for a test drive first.

Further down, we offer insight into extended warranty providers for used cars and a helpful auto loan comparison tool with average interest rates for each lender.

Essential Info

Sometimes, when you look at a used vehicle on the lot, there isn’t much info on the one-sheet window sticker. That said, each small SUV below includes a summary of its essential details, like the powertrain, gas mileage, cargo space, safety features, and other options.

We hope the information below will help you with the car-buying process and help you come up with questions to ask the dealer ahead of time.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

As a total package, the Subaru Crosstrek is one of the best used small SUVs available today.
As a total package, the Subaru Crosstrek is one of the best used small SUVs available today. Photo: Subaru of America, Inc.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Overview

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek has entered its third generation with a stiffer frame, an all-new Wilderness variant, and updated styling cues to make it the most rugged in its lineage.

However, the second-gen Crosstrek that went on sale from 2017 to 2023 has all the desirable attributes of the new model. Like the 2024 Crosstrek, the first-generation Crosstrek has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for mild off-road capability.

The 2020 Crosstrek, in particular, is among our favorites for having all the modern bells and whistles without the new car price tag.

Why We Chose The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek has LED exterior lighting, a rear-seat reminder, and a stop-start system to save fuel.

Under the hood is a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter Boxer engine, but the Base and Premium variants have a standard six-speed manual (optional CVT automatic), a rarity in modern cars. When properly equipped, the 2020 Crosstrek could handle some minor towing duties with a max capacity of 1,500 lbs.

Moreover, it has solid consumer-verified scores from J.D. Power and good consumer rankings from Kelley Blue Book.

Photos: Subaru of America, Inc.

Fuel Economy

Manual-equipped 2020 Subaru Crosstreks achieve an EPA-rated 22 in the city, 29 on the highway, and 25 combined. On the other hand, the CVT automatic has a wonderful 27/33 city/highway and 30 combined EPA rating.

Cargo Space

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek offers 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, which expands to 55.3 cubic feet when folded down. The Premium trim level came standard with a retractable cargo cover and tray.

If you need more cargo space but still want to stick with a Subaru, take a look at the Forester, particularly the 2022 model year. For 2022, the Subaru Forester benefited from some small but functional changes, like two new utility hooks in the rear cargo area, a brighter LED interior dome light with an off-delay function, and a load limit increase for the roof rails (from 700 lbs. to 800 lbs.). 

Safety Ratings

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek received a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

CVT-equipped 2020 Crosstreks also received the brand’s EyeSight advanced driving assistance package with features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and more.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Average Price

Prepare to spend $23,000 to $28,000 for a decently-equipped 2020 Subaru Crosstrek with low miles. The mid-tier Premium and range-topping Limited have niceties like bigger screens, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped tiller, and keyless entry.

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Honda HR-V.
The 2020 Honda HR-V has a five-star rating from NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Photo: Honda North America.

2020 Honda HR-V Overview

2023 saw the introduction of Honda’s second-generation HR-V after the Fit hatchback departed North America in 2020.

The new HR-V has grown in size thanks to its eleventh-generation Civic architecture, but so has the price, making the first-generation Honda HR-V a relatively affordable option on the used car market.

Why We Chose The 2020 Honda HR-V

The 2020 Honda HR-V has all the hallmarks that made the Fit a stellar choice. Honda’s innovative “Magic Seats” were standard, unlocking a surprising amount of cargo room that belies its compact footprint. Meanwhile, consumer reviews on Kelley Blue Book continue to trend in the right direction for the 2020 HR-V. 

Photos: Honda North America.

Fuel Economy

The 2020 HR-V has a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder with a CVT automatic and front-wheel drive, but the HR-V was available with all-wheel drive for the 2020 model year.

The 2020 Honda HR-V with front-wheel drive achieves an EPA-rated 28 in the city, 34 on the highway, and 30 combined, excellent numbers if you need something fuel-efficient.

Meanwhile, the 2020 HR-V with all-wheel drive returns an EPA rating of 27/31 city/highway and 29 combined.

Cargo Space

The 2020 HR-V, though not as big as its Honda CR-V sibling, puts up impressive numbers here for a small SUV. With the rear seats upright, the 2020 HR-V offers 24.3 cubic feet of space, expanding to 58.8 cubic feet when folded.

All-wheel drive models have slightly less interior cargo space, most likely due to housing the extra components for the drivetrain.

Safety Ratings

The 2020 Honda HR-V has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Honda Sensing came standard in the EX trim and included active safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision mitigation, and more.

2020 Honda HR-V Average Price

The 2020 Honda HR-V will run between $21,000 and $27,500 for a low-mileage unit on the used car market.

The base HR-V LX will usually run the lowest. By contrast, expect the Sport and EX trims to retail for higher as those trim levels often had more equipment like larger alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity, a moonroof, and heated front seats.

2019 Kia Soul

2019 Kia Soul
The quirky styling may not be for everyone, but the Kia Soul is one of the best used small SUVs available today. Photo: Kia Motors America.

2019 Kia Soul Overview

The newer, third-generation Kia Soul is now on the market, making the second-gen 2019 variant ripe for the picking as an affordable and safe small SUV.

Admittedly, the styling is not for everyone, as the Soul rings up some unique vibes with its boxy demeanor. However, if you are a fan of quirky vehicles, pre-owned models of the Kia Soul will give you plenty of bang for the buck.

The base 2019 Kia Soul has a standard six-speed manual and a 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine. The Plus and Exclaim trim levels had additional powertrain options, including a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with 201 horsepower

Why We Chose The 2019 Kia Soul

When it was new in 2019, we appreciated the generous amount of standard features for the price.

The base Kia Soul was standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system. Higher trim levels were standard with larger alloy wheels, upgraded upholstery, and modern driving aids.

Consumer reviews on Kelley Blue Book are mostly positive in terms of the 2019 Soul’s performance, quality, and reliability. Consumer reviews on J.D. Power also speak to the Soul’s quality and reliability but do mention a somewhat average driving experience. 

When it comes to new Kia vehicles, the automaker’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is among the longest on the market. However, if you are the second owner of a Kia vehicle, that coverage drops to five years or 60,000 miles (what other manufacturers typically offer from the factory for powertrain warranties). There are options to bump that warranty back up if you decide to purchase a pre-owned Kia. 

Photos: Kia Motors America.

Fuel Economy

2019 Kia Souls with the naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter engine achieve an EPA-rated 26 in the city, 31 on the highway, and 28 combined.

The 2.0-liter engine returns an EPA rating of 25/30 city/highway and 27 combined, while the 1.6-liter turbo achieves a decent 26 in the city, 31 on the highway, and 28 combined.

Cargo Space

The 2019 Kia Soul was standard with a cargo tray. You might see this listed on the window sticker on the dealer’s lot as “luggage under tray” or “cargo under tray.”

With the cargo tray, the 2019 Soul offers 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 49.5 cubic feet when folded. Removing the cargo or luggage tray expands the total cargo space: 24.2 cubic feet with the rear seats upright and 61.3 cubic feet when folded.

Safety Ratings

The 2019 Kia Soul has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

However, only the range-topping Kia Soul Plus with the Audio and Primo upgrades have advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warnings, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision mitigation.

2019 Kia Soul Average Price

The 2019 Soul is among the most affordable on our best used small SUVs list, with prices ranging from $13,500 to about $18,000 depending on mileage and condition.

2018 Mazda CX-3

2018 Mazda CX-3.
Although no longer in production, the Mazda CX-3 is among the best used small SUVs available today. Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

2018 Mazda CX-3 Overview

The now-defunct Mazda CX-3 has given way to the CX-30 as the Japanese brand’s smallest SUV. When it entered the market in 2016, the CX-3 drew praise for its refined yet athletic styling, fun-to-drive demeanor, and wallet-friendly fuel economy.

Why We Chose The 2018 Mazda CX-3

At the time, Mazda updated the suspension of the CX-3 to soften bumps and other road irregularities for a more comfortable ride. Mazda also added more sound insulation for a quieter cabin.

It’s not the most practical of the bunch in terms of cargo space, but the CX-3 had an optional all-wheel drivetrain (Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD) to help drivers cope with bad weather. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, connected to a six-speed automatic, that produces 146 horsepower.

Consumer reviews of the 2018 CX-3 on Kelley Blue Book continue to be positive, yet verified consumer reviews from J.D. Power show the driving experience as average. 

Photos: Mazda North American Operations.

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Mazda CX-3 with front-wheel drive sips fuel at an EPA-rated 29 in the city, 34 on the highway, and 31 combined. Meanwhile, all-wheel drive variants return an EPA-rated 27/32 city/highway and 29 combined mpg.

Cargo Space

The 2018 Mazda CX-3 will offer less cargo space than the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, and Kia Soul on this list. With the rear seats up, the 2018 CX-3 has 12.4 cubic feet of space, expanding to 44.5 cubic feet when folded.

If you need a little more room, take a look at the Mazda CX-5. The 2022 model year stands out for its updated styling, generous trim level offerings, and optional turbocharged engine. 

Safety Ratings

The 2018 Mazda CX-3 has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

However, only the CX-3 Grand Touring with the Premium Package has active safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

2018 Mazda CX-3 Average Price

The average price for a 2018 Mazda CX-3 is between $17,300 and $23,000.

The base CX-3 Sport has 16-inch wheels, a push-button start, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a six-speaker audio system. Touring and Grand Touring models will have more niceties, like 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and a premium audio system.

2020 Toyota C-HR

2020 Toyota C-HR
Photo: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

2020 Toyota C-HR Overview

Toyota discontinued the C-HR in 2022 to make room for the Corolla Cross, a crossover variant of the evergreen Toyota Corolla. In hindsight, it’s probably not hard to see why the C-HR was discontinued, and it’s more of an honorable mention on this list of best used small SUVs.

Why We Chose The 2020 Toyota C-HR

Toyota’s reputation for reliability is our main reason for including the C-HR, along with its dynamic styling (although knowing full well the styling has its drawbacks).

Data from J.D. Power shows C-HR buyers liked how the vehicle stood out from the crowd and may have gravitated toward the C-HR as there was nothing else like it at the time. That eye-catching styling comes at a price, as the C-HR has less cargo space and outward visibility than what would be considered acceptable for a small SUV.

Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Toyota C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, producing 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft. of torque. EPA ratings are 27 in the city, 31 on the highway, and 29 combined with its standard front-wheel drivetrain and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

When compared to other similar vehicles, the C-HR isn’t the worst when it comes to fuel economy, nor is it the best. If gas mileage is one of your top priorities, the C-HR may not be the best choice.

Cargo Space

The 2020 Toyota C-HR doesn’t exactly have a spacious interior when compared to others on this list. With the rear seats upright, the C-HR offers 19 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 36.4 cubic feet when folded. Despite Toyota’s strong reliability ratings, the C-HR lags behind in cargo space.

Safety Ratings

The 2020 Toyota C-HR has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA. Advanced driving aids like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking were standard on every 2020 C-HR.

2020 Toyota C-HR Average Price

The average price for a 2020 Toyota C-HR can run below $23,000 and up to $25,000 for a low-mileage unit.

The base C-HR LE has 17-inch steel wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic LED headlights, an eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, and smartphone connectivity. Meanwhile, the XLE and Limited trims have larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and push-button start.

Best Warranty Options for Pre-Owned SUVs

Best Extended Warranty Options

Get a free quote for any pre-owned small SUV that has run out of factory warranty.

Best Overall Warranty Provider
Endurance

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

Check Price

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Or Call Our Partner Directly

Affordable Monthly Payment
CarShield

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

Check Price

On Our Partner’s Website

(877) 265-5123

Or Call Our Partner Directly

Best Warranty Provider for Used Cars
Carchex

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Check Price

On Our Partner’s Website

(866) 950-7122

Or Call Our Partner Directly

The likelihood is high that any pre-owned SUV will have run out of its factory warranty. While dealers may provide a brief in-house warranty following the sale, it’s not the same as having factory-level coverage.

Depending on your driving needs, an extended warranty can protect you from expensive, unforeseen repair bills. Top extended warranty companies offer customizable coverage plans, from full bumper-to-bumper to powertrain only. Likewise, reputable providers will offer additional benefits like roadside assistance.

After conducting thorough market research and competitive comparisons, our team picked the providers listed above, along with a small handful of others, as the top used vehicle warranty companies today.

If you are considering an extended warranty, ask for sample contracts upfront and look for the area where the claims process is explained in detail. Avoid contracts that are not transferable or cannot be canceled easily. To help get the most out of any extended warranty, see these insider tips from a repair shop owner

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