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Best winter deals on used SUVs

Consumer Reports News: January 23, 2013 08:08 AM

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An SUV can be the perfect vehicle for traveling in challenging winter conditions. With all-wheel-drive and good tires, a modern SUV provides needed traction to negotiate slippery roads, and most have the ground clearance to traverse accumulated snow. They are also great for families or for carrying skis or other winter gear. A used SUV allows you to reap these benefits for less money than buying new. To make it easier to find what you're looking for, we have identified some of the best used deals on small and midsized SUVs on the market.

Typically the winter months are a slow time for car buying, which is why now might be a perfect time to get a good deal on a used car. Plus, buying a used car has other benefits. Most important is that the original owner takes the initial depreciation hit; new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. Also, most recent used SUV have the latest safety equipment (such as curtain air bags and stability control) and are still affordable.

When shopping, look for cars that scored well in Consumer Reports' tests when new, have proven reliability, and perform well in government and insurance industry crash tests. All models listed meet these criteria. And before handing over the cash, have the vehicle inspected by a trained and trusted mechanic to make sure there are no hidden problems.

Check out our top deals for recommended used SUVs from the 2008-2010 model years. We placed the vehicles in order of the average cheapest price you might be able to get when buying from the dealer and all are under $25,000. The models listed below are between 23- and 49-percent less than the retail price when the vehicle was new. Plus, all of the models have at least average reliability according to our latest subscriber survey.

Make & model Buying from dealer avg price MSRP (new) Drop in retail value vs. MSRP Used-car pricing
2008 Mitsubishi Outlander $11,919 $23,125 49% View detailed pricing
2008 Nissan Rogue $13,125 $20,560 36% View detailed pricing
2009 Nissan Rogue $14,838 $21,615 31% View detailed pricing
2008 Toyota RAV4 $14,875 $25,182 41% View detailed pricing
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander $15,921 $24,313 35% View detailed pricing
2008 Honda CR-V $16,217 $23,650 32% View detailed pricing
2008 Subaru Forester $16,513 $25,262 35% View detailed pricing
2009 Honda CR-V $17,229 $24,195 29% View detailed pricing
2009 Mazda CX-9 $17,525 $29,820 41% View detailed pricing
2009 Subaru Forester $17,821 $25,178 29% View detailed pricing
2010 Toyota RAV4 $18,942 $25,725 26% View detailed pricing
2008 Honda Pilot $19,094 $32,178 41% View detailed pricing
2010 Mazda CX-9 $20,388 $29,505 31% View detailed pricing
2009 Toyota Highlander $20,700 $29,050 29% View detailed pricing
2009 Toyota Venza $21,194 $27,613 23% View detailed pricing
2008 Toyota Highlander $21,544 $32,325 33% View detailed pricing
2009 Acura RDX $23,100 $37,195 38% View detailed pricing
2008 Acura MDX $23,870 $44,715 47% View detailed pricing

Full used car pricing information is available to Cars Best Deals Plus subscribers on the model overview pages. Consumer Reports also offers individual Used Car Price Reports on vehicles from the 2003 - 2012 model years. Pricing information can be adjusted for vehicle condition, mileage and optional equipment. For advice on buying a used car, see our guide and video.

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

Liza Barth

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