10 Best Used SUVs To Buy (2016 to 2020)
When it's time to buy a car, there are plenty of good reasons to buy a used vehicle, the most notable one being that it lets someone else take the hit for the depreciation cost.
Canadians are also flocking to SUVs to benefit from their increased ground clearance and all-wheel drive. Add on the fact that vehicles that are roughly four years old can often be a good value proposition when coming off lease from a single owner, and it’s logical that you may find yourself on the market today for a model year 2016 or newer SUV.
We compiled a list of the top 10 used SUVs to consider from model years 2016 to 2020. These recommendations are based on each vehicle’s average asking price according to Canadian Black Book valuations on all-wheel drive mid-grade vehicles driven 20,000 per year, as well as safety and reliability ratings, reputation for retaining value, and published average fuel consumption as determined by Natural Resources Canada.
Find out if you can get finance approved for one of these SUVs. It's free to get pre-qualified online, and there's no obligation to buy.
2016-17 Chevrolet Equinox / GMC Terrain
Estimated average asking: $16,600 - $19,500
% Saved vs. Brand New: 50%
The Canadian-built Chevrolet Equinox topped the Compact SUV category in J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability study, which rates the reliability of three-year-old vehicles, in both 2019 and 2020. The GMC Terrain shares much of the Equinox’s underpinnings and ranked just behind the latter in both years, making it another excellent pick.
Both vehicles received a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and both sport all-wheel drive fuel consumption ratings of 10.0 L/100 km combined with the four-cylinder engine and 12.8 L/100 km with the V6.
2016-18 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
Estimated average asking: $21,200 - $27,000
% Saved vs. Brand New: 47% (vs Palisade)
The Hyundai Santa Fe nameplate carried some confusion over the years, but the model being discussed here is the three-row, long-wheelbase version that was discontinued after Hyundai launched its larger successor, the Palisade.
On its way out, the Santa Fe was the highest-ranked mid-size SUV on J.D. Power’s 2019 Vehicle Reliability Study, and the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+ for the 2017 and 2018 model years. That said, this vehicle wasn’t known for its fuel efficiency, earning a consumption rating from NRCan of 11.5 L/100 km combined.
2016-20 Kia Sorento
Estimated average asking: $16,700 - $28,200
% Saved vs. Brand New: 38%
The Kia Sorento enters a new generation with the 2021 model year, but used car buyers can benefit from the third generation’s reliability according to the 2020 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. Each model year also earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.
Three engines were offered: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder averaging 10.4 L/100 km combined, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder averaging 10.9 L/100 km, and a 3.3-litre V6 with a combined average of 11.6 L/100 km.
2016 Mazda CX-5
Estimated average asking: $21,000
% Saved vs. Brand New: 37%
Technically, the Mazda CX-5 had two 2016 versions, the facelifted 2016 model and another dubbed 2016.5 that offered more feature content, including more affordable access to the upgraded 2.5-litre engine and standard on-board navigation on higher trims.
The Mazda brand just won the 2020 Consumer Reports reliability survey for the first time, and the CX-5 consistently earns a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS, including this last model year of the first generation.
With all-wheel drive, the CX-5 consumes 8.5 L/100 km combined with the smaller 2.0-litre engine equipped and 9.0 L/100 km combined with the larger 2.5-litre engine.
2016-18 Audi Q3
Estimated average asking: $22,300 - $29,900
% Saved vs. Brand New: 35%
Urban dwellers who are looking for a little bit of style will be pleased to learn that the Audi Q3 was the top-rated small luxury SUV in the 2019 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study and finished second in 2020. The 2016 model earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick that also applied to 2017 and 2018 models.
Available at the time only with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, the all-wheel-drive version earns a fuel consumption rating from NRCan of 10.3 L/100 km.
2016-18 Toyota RAV4
Estimated average asking: $21,800 - $26,900
% Saved vs. Brand New: 29%
These three model years marked the last for the fourth-generation Toyota RAV4, and used car buyers will find they had a lot going for them. The Toyota brand consistently wins residual value awards, the RAV4 placed in its segment’s top three in J.D. Power’s 2019 and 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study, and the first two model years received Top Safety Pick+ ratings from the IIHS (though this dropped to Top Safety Pick for 2018).
Plus, hybrid variants were offered, which means added fuel savings for buyers willing to invest a little more upfront. NRCan ratings vary across the model years, but the 2016 RAV4 AWD rates at 9.5 L/100 km combined, while the Hybrid AWD has a combined rating of 7.2 L/100 km.
2016-19 Mazda CX-9
Estimated average asking: $27,400 - $45,400
% Saved vs. Brand New: 28%
The three-row Mazda CX-9 entered its second generation with the 2016 model year and has been praised by owners ever since for providing elegance and driving enjoyment in a family-friendly format.
As mentioned, Mazda just won its first Consumer Reports reliability survey, and some model years with specific features have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. With all-wheel drive equipped, the CX-9 is rated as consuming 10.4 litres of fuel per 100 km.
2016-19 Toyota Highlander
Estimated average asking: $29,500 - $41,400
% Saved vs. Brand New: 23%
The three-row Toyota Highlander has a lot in common with its smaller sibling the RAV4 in terms of its consumer appeal: steadfast residual values, consistently high ratings from the IIHS including Top Safety Pick+ ratings in model years 2016 and 2017, and an available hybrid variant for those who are willing to spend a little bit more to gain some fuel efficiency.
Gas-powered all-wheel drive models average 11.6 L/100 km combined from the 3.5-litre V6, while hybrids achieve 8.4 to 8.5 L/100 km, a remarkably low number for a three-row SUV.
2016-20 Chevrolet Tahoe
Estimated average asking: $44,100 - $61,700
% Saved vs. Brand New: 21%
Whether it’s a large family or a large towable that needs to be hauled around, there are plenty of families who have a true need for a large SUV. The fourth-generation Chevrolet Tahoe wasn’t rated by the IIHS, but it ranked second in 2019 and first in 2020 in the J.D. Power Vehicle Reliability Study.
The 5.3-litre V8 averages 13.2 L/100 km combined according to Natural Resources Canada, while the larger 6.2-litre V8 that came online later in the life cycle averages 13.8 L/100 km combined.
2016-17 Toyota 4Runner
Estimated average asking: $37,500 - $42,300
% Saved vs. Brand New: 18%
The Toyota 4Runner hasn’t changed much in more than a decade, but its fans keep coming back to it for the rugged capability of its body-on-frame construction. There are more current model years available, of course, but the 2016 to 2017 range provides the best payoff in terms of relative price.
The 2020 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study ranked the 4Runner as the top mid-size SUV – turns out longevity has its benefits – though it’s worth noting that its older construction means it doesn’t rate especially well with the IIHS. The 4.0-litre V6 averages 12.8 L/100 km combined according to Natural Resources Canada.