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Best deals on used small SUVs

Consumer Reports News: November 30, 2011 12:38 PM

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As the country heads into another winter season, an SUV can be an attractive choice for versatility and all-weather traction, with plenty of utility for holiday travels. Small SUVs, in particular, can offer a good balance of size, driving dynamics, and even fuel economy, without breaking the bank. If you’re in the market, rather than pay full price for a new SUV, consider saving money buying a good used model.

Expect to pay from $11,000 to over $23,000 for 2006-08 models recommended by Consumer Reports. To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we have identified some of the best used small SUVs deals on the market.

Prices on used cars have been going down since the end-of-the-summer peak and are expected to drop further in the next couple of weeks before rebounding in the New Year. If you’re looking for a new-to-you ride, this may be the perfect time to get a good deal on a used SUV.

Buying a used car has other benefits. Most important is that the original owner takes the initial depreciation hit, as new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. Also, by looking at a recent model, you can find affordable, reliable used SUVs that still have some warranty left, as well as featuring the latest safety equipment (such as curtain air bags and stability control).

When shopping, look for SUVs that scored well in Consumer Reports’ tests when new, have proven reliability, and perform well in government and insurance industry crash tests. Before handing over the cash, have the vehicle inspected by a trained and trusted mechanic to make sure there are no hidden problems.

Below, check out our top deals for recommended small SUVs from the 2006-2008 model years. We ranked the vehicles by the price you might be able to get when buying from the dealer. The models listed below are between 18- and 48-percent less than the retail price when new. Of course, you may do even better when buying from a private seller. In addition, all of the models have at least average reliability according to our latest subscriber survey.

See our complete list of used-car deals across a variety of vehicle categories.

Make & model Mileage MSRP when new Selling to dealer avg price Buying from dealer avg price Drop in private sale vs. MSRP Drop in retail value vs. MSRP
2007 Hyundai Tucson 66,000 $23,845 $12,760 $14,800 46% 38%
2006 Subaru Forester X 75,000 24,945 12,910 15,050 48% 40%
2007 Subaru Forester X 66,000 21,995 13,430 15,475 39% 30%
2008 Mitsubishi Outlander LS 51,000 23,970 13,575 15,700 43% 35%
2006 Toyota RAV4 Ltd 75,000 25,870 13,975 16,125 46% 38%
2007 Toyota RAV4
66,000 24,385 14,510 16,550 40% 32%
2006 Honda CR-V SE 75,000 25,450 14,505 16,725 43% 34%
2008 Subaru Forester X 51,000 22,495 15,685 17,825 30% 21%
2007 Honda CR-V EX
66,000 24,050 15,690 17,875 35% 26%
2008 Nissan Rogue SL 51,000 21,870 15,875 18,025 27% 18%
2008 Acura RDX 51,000 33,195 20,950 23,700 37% 29%

Liza Barth

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