How to Choose the Best Used SUV

best used SUVIf you’re looking for your next SUV, you can easily get overwhelmed with options. Between dealerships, used car lots, and private sellers, shifting through the available SUVs to find the right one for you can seem impossible. Here at Peters Auto Mall, we want to help you narrow it down. Finding the best used SUV doesn’t have to be hard. Here are the top SUVs for sale, along with recommendations about where to buy them.

Best Used SUV Options for Families

What constitutes “best” when shopping for your next vehicle? Although this is subjective, most shoppers we meet want these three things in a pre-owned SUV:

  • Reliability
  • Good Value for the Price
  • The Right Size for Their Family

So, let’s talk about each of these three things to help you narrow down to the right SUV for you.

First, reliability is a huge deal for most people, and for good reason. If you buy a pre-owned car that breaks down the moment you drive off the lot, you’ll have wasted your money. More importantly, an unreliable used SUV can also be unsafe.

Here at Peters Auto Mall, we put all vehicles through a 125-point inspection. Before any car hits our lots, we want to make sure they are safe for your family. Our inspection goes above and beyond what is required by law. We’ll never sell you a lemon.

US News has ranked used SUVs under $10,000 to help you pick the right make and model. Their top three picks are the 2009 GMC Envoy, the 2008 Lincoln Navigator, and the 2007 Volkswagen Touareg.

Are you looking for a more recent model year? A few other used SUVs that make the list include the 2011 Nissan Juke and the 2011 Kia Sportage.

If you’re able to spend a bit more than $10,000, the following SUVs are both reliable and a great value for the price. We’ve listed them by size:

Compact / Small SUVs:
  • 2015 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2015 Audi Q3
  • 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
Midsize SUVs:
  • 2014 Toyota Venza
  • 2015 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2014 Lexus RX
Full-Size SUVs:
  • 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2015 Ford Expedition

Check out Car and Driver for more information about these vehicles. You can also stop by our High Point lot or Greensboro lot to speak to a team member. Our team is well-versed in information about all SUVs.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list of SUVs for sale. You’ll find a variety of vehicle options at our lots, including popular options such as:

  • Honda CR-V
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Subaru Forester
  • Ford Escape

We also have cars, vans, and pickup trucks available. We’ll help you find the best option based on your needs.

Other Features You’ll Want to Consider When Buying a Used SUV

Although reliability, value, and size are important, you’ll want to consider a few other factors as well.

Start by thinking about gas mileage. SUVs are typically not as good on gas as cars. However, this isn’t a strict rule. Some used SUVs actually get very good gas mileage. If fuel economy is important to you, mention this to our sales team. We’ll help you shop for good used SUVs that won’t break the bank at the fuel pump. Keep in mind that an SUV might be a good option if you want some hauling or towing capacity like a truck, but with better fuel economy.

Next, let’s talk about towing! Trucks are going to have higher towing capacity, but you can still tow many things with an SUV. Therefore, if you own tow a boat, some light equipment or small camper, an SUV might work for you. You’ll want to look at full-size SUVs in this case. Some great options include the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, Nissan Armada, or GMC Yukon.

When shopping for the best used SUV, you’ll also want to decide if you want a manual or automatic transmission. Many manufacturers are moving to automatic. As of 2018, popular options such as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Subaru Forester all switched to only having automatic options. However, you can still find manual transmissions for many makes and models if you choose an older SUV.

It’s also important to think about whether you want front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Most vehicles in the U.S. are front-wheel drive, which provides good traction and gas mileage. Rear-wheel drive is more common in luxury SUV options and trucks, since it provides better performance handling and better traction during heavy hauling. Four-wheel drive works great if you intend to go off-roading in your SUV. All-wheel drive send power to the wheels that need traction most. If you have a strong opinion about which you want, our sales team can show you options. Not sure? We can help explain more about the benefits of each option.

Additionally, you may want to think about special features that are important to you. We have used SUVs that come with a variety of features including the following:

  • Heated seats
  • DVD player
  • Bluetooth
  • Back-up camera
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Center console power outlet

This isn’t a complete list. Just tell our sales team what you want most in you next vehicle. We’ll help you find it!

Where to Buy the Best Used SUV: Dealerships versus Used Car Lots

Once you’ve narrowed down what you want, it’s time to think about where you want to buy it. Obviously, we are partial to used car lots. However, this is not without reason. Buying from a used car lot like Peters Auto Mall has several advantages.

To start, let’s talk about why buying from us makes more sense than buying from dealerships.

At a dealership, the goal is to sell new cars. Yes, many of them sell used cars as well. However, they typically just sell the cars people trade in when they buy a new car. Therefore, you’ll find that most dealerships have a lower inventory. You’ll have fewer options when buying. Here at Peters Auto Mall, we get our used cars from a variety of sources. We do accept trade-ins, but this is just one of the ways we keep our lots filled with great options.

Because dealerships focus on new cars, they also often will try to get you to buy new, even if you don’t want to. In a high-stress sales situation, it can be hard to assert what you really want. At Peters Auto Mall, our goal is to help you find the best vehicle, even if it is not the one that makes us the most money. We’ll never try to talk you into buying something you can’t afford or don’t want.

Dealerships also may not provide as many good financing options for used vehicles. Most of us can’t afford to pay for our next vehicle out of pocket. That’s where auto loans come in. We can help you get qualified from one of our many lenders. We even have options for people with low credit or no credit. Dealerships, on the other hand, may not have options to suit your needs. Also, in many cases, the loans they can provide will have a higher interest rate.

There’s nothing wrong with buying from a dealership if that’s what you want to do. However, keep used car lots in mind! When you work with a trustworthy company like Peters Auto Mall, you will probably find a better deal. Used car lots often have the stereotype of being high-pressure or selling lemons. At Peters Auto Mall, we work hard to break those stereotypes. After all, we have been here for more than 25 years! Our customers return to us and recommend us to friends and family because we have earned their trust.

Other Buying Options: Private Sales versus Used Car Lots

When shopping for an SUV, you can also buy privately. This means that you are buying directly from the person who owned the car before you. In some cases, you can get a better deal with a private sale. However, buying privately can also put you at risk. Here are a few reasons you may want to buy from a lot instead of from a private dealer:

You don’t get an inspection or guarantee. Yes, laws protect you from outright lies, but many sellers will embellish the truth. You certainly don’t get a 125-point inspection as you do at Peters Auto Mall. Private buyers also do not give you any kind of guarantee or warranty.

Buying privately can put your safety at risk. In order to buy privately, you’ll typically need to go to someone’s home. You’ll also need to get into the car with a stranger if you want to test drive it. If you choose to buy privately, please be as safe as possible. Try to meet in a populated area and bring a friend.

Registering your vehicle and getting the plates is a hassle when you buy privately. We help you do this when you buy from us.

Another problem is that you’ll have to pay cash or go to your bank to get a loan. A private person will not offer financing and will expect full payment when you pick up the car.

You’ll waste a lot of time when you buy privately. You have to call or email to set up appointments. Some people will never show up to meet you. Of course, you also have to drive around to see multiple vehicles. At Peters Auto Mall, you can do it all in one place.

People don’t know much about vehicles in general. Even the most honest sellers are probably not super knowledgeable about vehicles other than their own. Even then, they only know their own experiences with the vehicle, not about the make and model overall. Our team, on the other hand, will be able to answer questions about things like long-term reliability and value.

Buying privately can work in some cases. However, you have to get lucky and stumble upon the perfect SUV for you. At our lot, we’ll help you find it. It’s a much easier buying experience.

Additionally, we’ll always be here after you purchase your SUV and we have a full service department to handle your future maintenance, inspections, etc.

Get the Best Deal on your Next SUV

No matter how you buy your next vehicle, we have a few closing tips for you about getting a good deal. Everyone likes to walk away having some extra money in their pocket, right? Here are some top tips:

  1. Create a budget before you start shopping. If you go shopping with no set budget, it is easy to overspend. Make a price range as well as a hard limit.
  2. Save up for a bigger down payment. If you can pay more upfront, you’ll save money on your auto loan. One way you can do this is by trading in your current vehicle. The money can go toward your down payment along with the cash you have on hand.
  3. Remember the associated costs that come with buying a vehicle. You’ll need to pay for tax, title, tags, insurance, gas, and more. Sometimes, the less expensive vehicle ends up being more expensive for other reasons. Factor in all costs before making your final decision.
  4. Know when to compromise on features. Certain features (such as a DVD player or window tinting) can be added after you purchase the vehicle. If you are deciding between two cars, it can help to know how much it will cost to add features later.
  5. Buy during the right time of year. During certain times, such as around the holidays or when manufacturers release the new model, car prices can drop.

If you’re ready to start the shopping process, you can start by browsing our inventory online. When you see a vehicle you like, click the button to schedule a test drive. You can also simply stop by one of our lots to test drive any SUV – no appointment needed. We hope to see you at our High Point or Greensboro lots soon, and we look forward to helping you find that perfect SUV. Our lot always has a wide variety of choices and we know that you’ll find the best used SUV for your family or business.