10 Small SUVs and Crossovers To Buy Used in 2021

10 Small SUVs and Crossovers To Buy Used in 2021

In the late 20th century, the growing popularity of SUVs gave way to a more fuel-conscious consumer market, leading automakers to develop compact crossover SUVs as an alternative that was not only easy to drive but easier on the wallet at the gas pump than their heftier full-size predecessors, too.

Now, nearly three decades later, they continue to rank as some of the best-selling models among each maker's roster of vehicles, all the while without sacrificing the utility, versatility, convenience and confidence that drivers had come to know and love from earlier, larger SUVs.

If you’re in the market for a used small or crossover SUV, here are 10 popular models to consider in 2021. And you can rest assured they’re as good as new, thanks to Shift’s 150-point inspections on each member of its expansive inventory and complete vehicle history reports, too.

Best small SUVs and Crossovers

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V

No doubt one of the best small SUVs on the market today, the Honda CR-V – short for “comfortable runabout vehicle” – first debuted in Japan in 1995 and later in North America in 1997. Now five generations deep, these days the CR-V stands apart thanks to its all-wheel drive feature, an additional option that not many other compact SUVs offer. With a fuel efficiency of 28 miles in the city and 34 on the freeway, a total horsepower of 190 and an impressively roomy interior given its compact size, the CR-V lives up to its name as a dependable, practical ride. New base model CR-Vs start at $25,000s, whereas used options go for as little as $10,000, making for a colossal savings of 60 percent.

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Honda CR-V

No doubt one of the best small SUVs on the market today, the Honda CR-V – short for “comfortable runabout vehicle” – first debuted in Japan in 1995 and later in North America in 1997. Now five generations deep, these days the CR-V stands apart thanks to its all-wheel drive feature, an additional option that not many other compact SUVs offer. With a fuel efficiency of 28 miles in the city and 34 on the freeway, a total horsepower of 190 and an impressively roomy interior given its compact size, the CR-V lives up to its name as a dependable, practical ride. New base model CR-Vs start at $25,000s, whereas used options go for as little as $10,000, making for a colossal savings of 60 percent.

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Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

The most popular Toyota on the roads of the world these days, more than 10 million units of the RAV4 have been sold to date since its North American release in 1995. With 203 horsepower, the zippy compact SUV doesn't disappoint when it comes to pick-up and performance on the road. Powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that banks 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the freeway, as far as gas prices go, it's fairly easy on the wallet, too. New RAV4s start at just a tad above $26,000, but great used models can be found for close to half that amount for about $14,000.

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Shop Used 2018 RAV4 Hybrid SE
Toyota RAV4

The most popular Toyota on the roads of the world these days, more than 10 million units of the RAV4 have been sold to date since its North American release in 1995. With 203 horsepower, the zippy compact SUV doesn't disappoint when it comes to pick-up and performance on the road. Powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that banks 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the freeway, as far as gas prices go, it's fairly easy on the wallet, too. New RAV4s start at just a tad above $26,000, but great used models can be found for close to half that amount for about $14,000.

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Ford Escape

 Ford Escape

One of the first compact SUVs to come from an American automaker and the first in the world to come in a hybrid option, in 2001 and 2004 respectively, the Ford Escape is now in its fourth generation and continues to reign as one of the most popular U.S.-made crossover options. Nearly 5 million Escapes have been sold to date, and with a horsepower of 181-250 depending on the trim, a combined fuel efficiency of 30 mpg, it's easy to understand why. When purchased new, the Ford Escape retails for $29,000, but opting for an excellent used model can bring savings of close to $20,000.

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 Ford Escape

One of the first compact SUVs to come from an American automaker and the first in the world to come in a hybrid option, in 2001 and 2004 respectively, the Ford Escape is now in its fourth generation and continues to reign as one of the most popular U.S.-made crossover options. Nearly 5 million Escapes have been sold to date, and with a horsepower of 181-250 depending on the trim, a combined fuel efficiency of 30 mpg, it's easy to understand why. When purchased new, the Ford Escape retails for $29,000, but opting for an excellent used model can bring savings of close to $20,000.

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Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai's most popular model, the Tucson – which was first released in 2004 – clocks 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the freeway, with a total horsepower that ranges from 161 to 181. What it lacks in speed, power and fuel efficiency in comparison to other compact SUVs, the Tucson makes up for by way of its roomy interior and also for its impressive safety ratings, having earned the title of “top safety pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S. While new Tucsons start at around $23,000, going with a used model – whose price tends to hover around $10,000 – can make for a savings of more than 50 percent.

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Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai's most popular model, the Tucson – which was first released in 2004 – clocks 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the freeway, with a total horsepower that ranges from 161 to 181. What it lacks in speed, power and fuel efficiency in comparison to other compact SUVs, the Tucson makes up for by way of its roomy interior and also for its impressive safety ratings, having earned the title of “top safety pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S. While new Tucsons start at around $23,000, going with a used model – whose price tends to hover around $10,000 – can make for a savings of more than 50 percent.

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Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

If you're looking to set yourself apart from the masses with your choice of compact SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander is one sure way to go. With a headcount of around 400,000 in North America altogether, it's not as common as other mini sports utility vehicles on the road. But having been in production for just shy of two decades, the Outlander is hands down a Mitsubishi mainstay. With a total horsepower of 181, a fuel efficiency of 24/30 mpg and the option to add a third row of seating to make room for a total of seven people, new models start just shy of $26,000. Slightly used Outlanders, however, bring an added value insomuch as that they cost approximately a third less than their new equivalents, around $18,000.

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Mitsubishi Outlander

If you're looking to set yourself apart from the masses with your choice of compact SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander is one sure way to go. With a headcount of around 400,000 in North America altogether, it's not as common as other mini sports utility vehicles on the road. But having been in production for just shy of two decades, the Outlander is hands down a Mitsubishi mainstay. With a total horsepower of 181, a fuel efficiency of 24/30 mpg and the option to add a third row of seating to make room for a total of seven people, new models start just shy of $26,000. Slightly used Outlanders, however, bring an added value insomuch as that they cost approximately a third less than their new equivalents, around $18,000.

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Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen shifted into the realm of compact SUVs in 2007, with the release of the five-seat Tiguan. Aesthetically on par with its midsize counterpart, the Touareg, the slightly smaller and more fuel-efficient Tiguan offers all the fun fahrvergnügen of driving a VW classic like the Jetta or the Golf but comes with the convenience of a more rugged, slightly raised body. These days, the Tiguan – with a fuel efficiency of 23/29 mpg and a horsepower of 184 – reigns as VW's best-selling model and the most popular SUV in Europe, with some 6 million having been sold to date. New Tiguan base models go for $25,000, while used late model Tiguans bring a huge savings by costing as little as less than a third of that, at $8,000.

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Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen shifted into the realm of compact SUVs in 2007, with the release of the five-seat Tiguan. Aesthetically on par with its midsize counterpart, the Touareg, the slightly smaller and more fuel-efficient Tiguan offers all the fun fahrvergnügen of driving a VW classic like the Jetta or the Golf but comes with the convenience of a more rugged, slightly raised body. These days, the Tiguan – with a fuel efficiency of 23/29 mpg and a horsepower of 184 – reigns as VW's best-selling model and the most popular SUV in Europe, with some 6 million having been sold to date. New Tiguan base models go for $25,000, while used late model Tiguans bring a huge savings by costing as little as less than a third of that, at $8,000.

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Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

Unique to the CX-5 when compared to other makes of compact SUVs – most of which are front-wheel drive only – is your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the latter of which allows for better and safer handling and performance all around. Mazda released its crossover contender in 2012, and these days the CX-5 packs a horsepower of up to 227 that allows it to haul up to 2,000 pounds, which is also significantly more than its competitors. That's pretty impressive, for a fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the freeway. New CX-5s start in the mid-$20,000s, whereas used models can go for as little as less than $10,000.

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Mazda CX-5

Unique to the CX-5 when compared to other makes of compact SUVs – most of which are front-wheel drive only – is your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the latter of which allows for better and safer handling and performance all around. Mazda released its crossover contender in 2012, and these days the CX-5 packs a horsepower of up to 227 that allows it to haul up to 2,000 pounds, which is also significantly more than its competitors. That's pretty impressive, for a fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the freeway. New CX-5s start in the mid-$20,000s, whereas used models can go for as little as less than $10,000.

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Nissan Rogue

Nissan Rogue

Since its debut in 2008, the reliable Rogue has gone on to become Nissan's best-selling model in the United States. With seating for five, a horsepower of 181 and a fuel efficiency of 27 mpg on city streets and 35 mpg on the freeway, it's easy to understand why. Now in its third generation, new Nissan Rogues start at just below $26,000. But exceptional used models can be found for as little as $13,000, which is massive savings that equates to literally half the price of a new Rogue. And if you happen to land one of the 2017 “Star Wars” Rogue One limited editions, of which only 5,400 were manufactured, may the torque be with you.

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Nissan Rogue

Since its debut in 2008, the reliable Rogue has gone on to become Nissan's best-selling model in the United States. With seating for five, a horsepower of 181 and a fuel efficiency of 27 mpg on city streets and 35 mpg on the freeway, it's easy to understand why. Now in its third generation, new Nissan Rogues start at just below $26,000. But exceptional used models can be found for as little as $13,000, which is massive savings that equates to literally half the price of a new Rogue. And if you happen to land one of the 2017 “Star Wars” Rogue One limited editions, of which only 5,400 were manufactured, may the torque be with you.

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Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage

Having been in production since 1993, the Kia Sportage – now in its fourth generation – is hands down a forerunner in the world of compact SUVs. Fun fact: For a few years, early first-generation models actually came with a three-door, soft-top convertible option, a fad that was arguably too short lived. These days, a five-door, five-seat layout is standard, as is a horsepower range of 181 to 240 and a fuel efficiency of 23 mpg on city streets and 30 mpg when traveling at freeway speeds. They may not be as common as other compact SUV mainstays like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4; nevertheless the Sportage – available in either FWD or AWD – has bagged the title of “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on more than one occasion. Used Kia Sportages range from $9,000 to $21,000 depending on the year and trim, while new base models start at $24,000. That can mean a savings of more than 60 percent.

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Kia Sportage

Having been in production since 1993, the Kia Sportage – now in its fourth generation – is hands down a forerunner in the world of compact SUVs. Fun fact: For a few years, early first-generation models actually came with a three-door, soft-top convertible option, a fad that was arguably too short lived. These days, a five-door, five-seat layout is standard, as is a horsepower range of 181 to 240 and a fuel efficiency of 23 mpg on city streets and 30 mpg when traveling at freeway speeds. They may not be as common as other compact SUV mainstays like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4; nevertheless the Sportage – available in either FWD or AWD – has bagged the title of “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on more than one occasion. Used Kia Sportages range from $9,000 to $21,000 depending on the year and trim, while new base models start at $24,000. That can mean a savings of more than 60 percent.

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Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester

Over the 20-some years that they've been on the road, Subaru Foresters have transitioned from being would-be station wagons to solid compact crossover SUVs with a fun yet responsible flare for adventuring off the beaten path. Keeping up with the brand's reputation for crafting solid, safe cars, as of 2019 all-wheel drive comes standard on all Foresters, something that no other manufacturer of compact SUVs has offered to date. Capable of traveling up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the freeway, new Subaru Foresters start at just shy of $25,000 while used models can be found for nearly 30 percent less, at around $18,000.

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Shop Used 2015 Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester

Over the 20-some years that they've been on the road, Subaru Foresters have transitioned from being would-be station wagons to solid compact crossover SUVs with a fun yet responsible flare for adventuring off the beaten path. Keeping up with the brand's reputation for crafting solid, safe cars, as of 2019 all-wheel drive comes standard on all Foresters, something that no other manufacturer of compact SUVs has offered to date. Capable of traveling up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the freeway, new Subaru Foresters start at just shy of $25,000 while used models can be found for nearly 30 percent less, at around $18,000.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team