SUVs are the workhorse of the working and middle class. It gives you the space to carry your family and haul all their gear, whether you’re going camping or coming back from a soccer match. It lets you carry groceries for a family of six and most of the items you need to renovate your kitchen. That’s why SUVs remain popular despite their price tag, though buying used can ease the sticker shock. However, you need to find the best deal. How can I find the best used mid-sized SUV for my family?
Determine What Features Matter Most to You
- Before you start shopping for a mid-sized SUV, make a list of features. What do you consider a must-have? This could be:
- Towing capacity and a trailer hitch if you often pull a trailer.
- Seating for six or more if you have a large family.
- Fold down seats if you need a lot of storage space once in a while.
- Roof racks if you often attach cargo pods or bike racks to the top of the car.
- Infotainment systems in the back of seats, if your kids need it on long trips.
- Compatibility with car seats or space for booster seats, if you have young children.
- All wheel drive if you’re often driving on ice.
- Deicing windows
- Various safety features
Nice to have features may include:
- Heated seats
- A high-end sound system
- Compatibility with Apple Carplay and/or Android Auto
- A hybrid vehicle
Look for Low Mileage Vehicles
The value of a car is proportional to its usage. Don’t assume that a one-year-old car is the best choice. It might be a lease traded in after they drove the wheels off. Instead, find out how far the car has been driven. That is a good starting place for determining its real value. However, the car needs to be inspected for major problems. You don’t want a car that has been in a major wreck or flooded. An inspection is necessary, because not every car will have incidents like these in the vehicle history report.
Severe damage that buckles the frame or forces replacement of most of the wiring can leave you with lingering problems. The best solution is to find pre-owned SUVs for sale that don’t have these problems, whether you handle it by having every car inspected by your trusted mechanic or buying certified pre-owned cars that have a warranty behind them. Just realize that some dealers will say the cars are certified, inspected, and even warrantied but the definition is so narrow that it means nothing. For example, warranties that expire in three months or don’t cover critical car parts for 20,000 miles are meaningless.
Try It Out
Let’s suppose you’ve found SUVs that are in great shape and have a long life ahead of them. Take it for a drive. Do you have good visibility? Does it have enough power to get on the highway and merge with traffic? Do you feel like you have good control over it? Can it stop fast enough for you? Do you sense any problems with the transmission or the computer? You may find that you don’t like the blind spots, or the seat is too high. The infotainment system may be unwieldy, especially in cars built before 2018. On the other hand, older SUVs tend to have worse gas mileage. This is where buying a vehicle several years newer than the alternatives could save you a fortune in fuel, if you drive long distances.