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buying advice

Looking for a great crossover SUV? Here are the 4 used models to check out first

It’s a crowded market out there. We sort the showstoppers from the also-rans.

WHEN IT COMES to buying an SUV, these days buyers have no lack of choice. It seems that almost every brand now has at least a few SUVs in its range, varying in size from compact to extra large.

But with so much choice it can be that bit trickier to see the wood for the trees when it comes to picking the right model. We’ve whittled down some of the most popular and best-value models to help give you a steer on which models to consider.

1. Mazda CX-5 (2012-2016)

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Mazda might be better known for its iconic roadster and small hatchbacks, but the CX-5 is a very accomplished SUV. While the Mazda doesn’t top any sales tables, it does make for a good value used buy.

It’s not especially big but offers a spacious cabin that seats five while still leaving a generous amount of boot space. The CX-5 is also widely considered as one of the most stylish SUVs, which for many, is an important consideration.

Just as important are running costs – and although the Mazda has a 2.2-litre diesel engine, it can return respectable fuel economy figures and is relatively affordable to tax in comparison to similar-sized engines based on the older taxation system.

On the road, it handles very well and is quite refined. If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit different to the mainstream models, this is one to consider.

2. Nissan Qashqai (2007-2014)

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The Nissan Qashqai has become a household name and it still credited with starting the whole crossover SUV boom.

One of the benefits of the Qashqai being such a sales success is that there remains an excellent choice of used models on the market – and as these sell quickly, it’s worth holding out for the right one.

It is a car that is well regarded for how it performs on the road and inside there is a decent amount of space, though the rear seats aren’t huge, especially if you’re going to be taking child seats in and out.

Nissan did also sell a Qashqai +2 model which had seven seats – though the two rearmost seats are quite small and eat into the boot space, so only consider this model if you absolutely need the extra seats.

Most models are powered by the 1.5, 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel engines, and these tend to be robust – but as many of these cars are often used for short school runs and urban commutes, pay attention to any issues with blocked particulate filters on diesel models.

3. Peugeot 2008 (2013 onwards)

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It is on the smaller side, but the Peugeot 2008 delivers a good driving experience and isn’t lacking in the space department either.

Its modern styling looks sharp, and the majority of models on the used market come better-equipped than most of its rivals. The 2008 forgoes heavy all-wheel drive systems in favour of front-wheel drive, and some models also featured a grip control system that adds extra traction in poor conditions.

Unless you need to do very long journeys, we would recommend considering the petrol engines, as these are cheaper to run and maintain, while fuel economy remains high due to the 2008 being one of the lighter cars in its class.

4. Hyundai ix35 (2009-2015)

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The Hyundai Tucson remains one of the best-selling SUVs in the Irish market, but up until 2015, Hyundai sold the ix35, the Tucson’s predecessor.

Its styling may be mildly forgettable, but it is a well-built car that is now representing even better value for money than before.

You’ll struggle to find anything other than the 1.7-litre diesel for sale, but that’s no bad thing as this is an economical and relatively reliable engine. The all-wheel drive versions were powered by a larger 2.0-litre engine, although the front-wheel drive was the popular choice.

The interior has a good amount of room, and the slightly raised driving position is favoured by many. One thing you might not know about the ix35 is that Hyundai also built a hydrogen version of this car, which was sold in a small number of countries. It could be refilled in minutes and had an electric fuel cell powering it that emitted nothing except water vapour from the exhaust.

More: Want to drive a beautiful classic Porsche on a €10k budget? Here’s the model to look for>

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