7 Best Used Luxury Crossovers Under $25,000
The luxury SUV is not a new concept. The Land Rover Range Rover was in a class of one at its introduction in the 1970s, and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer offered a similar blend of luxury and utility starting in the mid-1980s.
Since then, the upscale SUV/crossover class has grown massively in number, and many of today’s compact and subcompact models attract shoppers with a wide range of budgets; not to mention luxury 7-seater SUVs that top our list for Canadians.
But today’s entry-level luxury crossovers are more expensive than the cars they’ve replaced, which can make it more difficult for an aspiring shopper to get the features they want in an upscale vehicle.
Thankfully, the vehicles that were popular in the new market a few years ago are now plentiful on used-car lots, so it’s not hard to find an affordable luxury crossover or SUV – as long as you’re willing to give up some of the high-tech features that make today’s models so desirable.
Here are seven of the best used luxury SUVs you can buy today for less than $25,000. You can also shop our inventory of used SUVs and crossovers here.
Our top 7 luxury crossover SUV picks costing no more than $25,000 used
Used Acura RDX between 2013-2016
2015 RDX | Photo: Acura
- Why we like it: A smooth V6 with strong performance combines with sharp handling in this attractive compact luxury crossover
- Specifications: 3.5L V6 engine; 273-279 hp/251 lb-ft; six-speed automatic transmission; AWD
Acura redesigned its RDX in 2013, trading the original’s odd styling, peaky turbo engine, and firm ride for a more generic look and overall performance better suited to a fast-growing compact luxury crossover class.
Acura’s 3.5L V6 engine is a rev-happy machine that suits the RDX’s sporty driving feel, working well with the six-speed transmission to provide eager acceleration. Handling is entertaining if you want to have some fun while driving alone, while the suspension is good at absorbing sharp bumps and controlling body motions over wavy pavement, providing a comfortable ride for your passengers.
Acura RDX interior
The RDX’s nicely finished interior is built around a high-tech dash. The infotainment system is not touchscreen-based, so its array of buttons and main control knob push the HVAC controls down a little low on the centre stack. Cargo space is good, and there are levers inside the tailgate to easily fold down the rear seats.
If you can stretch your budget close to our $25,000 price ceiling, look for the updated 2016 model, which has LED headlights and a safety suite that includes forward collision mitigation and lane keep assist.
Used Infiniti QX60 between 2014-2015
2014 QX60 | Photo: Infiniti
- Why we like it: A stylish and comfortable mid-size luxury SUV with standard three-row seating
- Specifications: 3.5L V6; 265 hp/248 lb-ft; continuously variable automatic transmission; front/all-wheel drive
In 2014, Infiniti rolled out a new vehicle-naming convention that applied a QX prefix to all of its SUV models, through which the previous JX35 became the QX60.
The QX60 looks the part of an upscale vehicle, with its broad chrome grille and other stylistic touches that help differentiate it from the Nissan Pathfinder with which it shares its underpinnings.
Infiniti gave the QX60 a smoother, quieter ride than its Nissan sibling, which helped make it feel more expensive than its mid-$40,000 starting price. Nothing about the QX60’s drive is exciting; instead, it’s a smooth, quiet experience aided by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that does a good job of managing the engine’s power.
Infiniti QX60 interior
The QX60 has a lovely interior with lots of soft shapes to go with its cushy ride, and this crossover’s generous size means the third row of seats offers useful space for passengers while leaving room for some cargo behind them.
New buyers could choose a hybrid powertrain in 2014 and 2015, but very few did, so you won’t find many on the used market. If you’re keen on saving some fuel, look for a base front-wheel drive model, which is a bit thriftier than an AWD variant.
Used Lincoln MKC between 2015-2016
2015 MKC | Photo: Lincoln
- Why we like it: Lincoln’s first compact crossover looks good and is more fun to drive than you’d expect
- Specifications: 2.0L/2.3L turbo four-cylinder engine; 240-285 hp/270-305 lb-ft; six-speed automatic transmission; AWD
Lincoln came late to the compact luxury crossover class, but it arrived in style with the MKC, which combined slick looks with the kind of turbocharged power that shoppers in this class had become accustomed to.
The 2.0L, 240-hp starting point does a fine job, but the optional 2.3L’s extra power is a good fit with the MKC’s upscale mission thanks to its more generous torque, which provides especially good acceleration response at city speeds.
Every MKC came with an adaptive damping suspension that lets you dial in the level of ride firmness best suited to your driving style. It’s not an uncommon feature in compact luxury SUVs, but the fact that it’s standard here elevates the MKC’s value as a sporty crossover.
Lincoln MKC interior
A central touchscreen houses a Sync infotainment system that’s easy to use. Lincoln’s designers also left a number of hard buttons on the dash, so simple things like adjusting the cabin temperature or turning on a heated seat are intuitive.
Lincoln’s dash-mounted push-button gear selector takes some getting used to, but it frees up a lot of space in the centre console and makes the MKC’s cabin feel roomier.
Used Buick Encore between 2016-2019
2016 Encore | Photo: Buick
- Why we like it: Compact dimensions and good fuel economy are well-suited to city driving, and a tall roof creates a spacious cabin
- Specifications: 1.4L turbo four-cylinder engine; 138-153 hp/148-177 lb-ft; six-speed automatic transmission; front/all-wheel drive
Buick launched its tiny Encore crossover in 2013 to introduce the brand to younger car shoppers in the market for a trendy, upscale crossover. A sub-$30,000 MSRP when new means even more affordable pricing on the used market, to the point that you can find a 2019 model for less than our $25,000 price limit.
2016 Buick Encore gained powerful 1.4L engine and Sport Touring trim
The 2016 Encore was the first to offer a more powerful version of Buick’s 1.4L turbo engine in a new Sport Touring trim level. That stronger engine also promised better fuel economy to go with its perkier performance.
But don’t let the Sport Touring moniker fool you: The Encore is not a sporty driver. Instead, it offers nimble city handling with a comfortable ride. The upright styling looks ungainly, but makes for excellent headroom that can make you forget how small the vehicle really is. A 2017 styling refresh gives the Encore a more European-inspired appearance inside and out. Look for one with the optional brown or grey leather interior to add upscale flair that makes this little crossover feel like more of a bargain.
Used Mercedes-Benz GLA between 2015-2016
2015 GLA | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
- Why we like it: Fun styling from a brand more commonly associated with conservative luxury car designs
- Specifications: 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine; 208 hp/258 lb-ft; seven-speed automatic transmission; AWD
At its 2015 introduction, the subcompact GLA was Mercedes-Benz’s most daring crossover/SUV design to date, combining a chunky body with a low greenhouse. It was part of the company’s appeal to younger buyers, who it hoped would stick with the brand after they grew out of the GLA’s subcompact accommodations.
The GLA’s performance is drama-free: The engine is more about low-end torque than high-end speed, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – eager to upshift to help save fuel – makes for leisurely acceleration unless you really put your foot into it.
GLA AMG performance model will not cost under $25,000
This little Benz goes over the road with a solid, planted feel, but don’t expect particularly sporty handling. You’d have to move to the wild AMG version for that, but it’s out of our sub-$25,000 budget.
The GLA is shaped more like a small hatchback than an SUV, so there’s not a ton of space in the rear seats. For a couple who occasionally want to bring a friend or two along, however, the GLA does fine. As a lead-in to Mercedes’s extensive range of SUVs and crossovers, it does even better.
Used Audi Q5 between 2013-2016
2014 QX60 | Photo: Infiniti
- Why we like it: Sophisticated styling in a nicely scaled luxury SUV
- Specifications: Turbocharged 2.0L I4 and 3.0L V6 engines; 211-272 hp/258-428 lb-ft; eight-speed automatic transmission; AWD
In our opinion, Audi did a better job styling its early SUV and crossover models than BMW and Mercedes. Take the compact Q5, which has been around since 2009 and whose design has aged so well that Audi has hardly changed its shape since then.
Audi Q5 2013 model gained a turbo V6 and refreshed styling
We’re starting with the 2013 model, which got a significant update that went beyond its refreshed styling to add a turbo V6 engine, newly available safety features, and a hybrid powertrain that was ahead of its time in this class and didn’t sell well.
If you’re keen on fuel economy, Audi added a TDI diesel option in 2014 whose 428 lb-ft of torque provided V8-like thrust in city driving. On the downside, that engine was among those affected by the VW diesel emissions scandal, and the modifications Audi had to make to clean up the diesel’s exhaust made the TDI less efficient than it was originally.
To keep things simple, stick with the base 2.0L turbo gas engine: It’s a good performer and returns decent highway fuel economy.
The used Q5 models that meet our price criteria pre-date the era of huge touchscreens, but the Audi infotainment system of the day is easy to use, and the rest of the cabin is comfortable and spacious for five people and offers good cargo space.
Used BMW X1 between 2015-2016
2015 X1 xDrive 20d M Sport | Photo: BMW
- Why we like it: BMW SUV cachet at an affordable price point
- Specifications: Turbocharged 2.0L I4/3.0L I6 engines; 228-300 hp/258-300 lb-ft; six- or eight-speed automatic; AWD
The BMW X1’s 2015 and 2016 model years represent the end of its first generation and the beginning of its second, between which there are more differences than meets the eye.
While the old X1 shared its RWD-biased platform and engines with the 3 Series sport sedan, the 2016 rode on a chassis borrowed from the Mini Countryman. The newer X1 is less fun to drive than the first-gen model, but its Mini-sourced underpinnings are more efficiently packaged, which leaves more space for people and stuff. Its seating position is also better suited to the day-to-day commuting and grocery-getting tasks crossovers are meant for.
2015 BMW X1 xDrive35i model is perhaps the best of the first generation
If you care about driving feel more than interior space, look for a 2015 xDrive35i model, which uses BMW’s excellent turbo 3.0L six-cylinder engine and delivers more entertaining handling, thanks to its rear-biased AWD system.
Looks-wise, the 2015 X1 owes a lot to the 3 Series Touring station wagon, while the second-gen X1 could be mistaken for the brand’s larger X3 crossover. The old design stands out more, but the new look is more conventionally attractive parked next to other compact crossovers of the day.