Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

One of the most popular used SUVs for sale, a black 2020 Mazda CX-5, is shown parked on a city street.

3 Affordable and Fun Used SUVs

Are you tired of all the boring used SUVs for sale? The good news is that there are some fun-to-drive pre-owned options available to check out. We’re not talking about expensive performance SUVs like the BMW X5 M or excessively powerful vehicles like the Dodge Durango Hellcat. We’re going to take a look at three intriguing SUVs that are all enjoyable to drive while remaining extremely affordable––the 2020 Mazda CX-5, the 2020 Chevy Equinox, and the 2021 Hyundai Kona––to see just how well they perform on the road (and off it!) and how they’ve held up over the years.

A gray 2020 Mazda CX-5 is shown driving near a lake.

#1 – 2020 Mazda CX-5

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 is a stellar choice for drivers looking for a premium SUV with superior performance that is both recent enough to hold up to new releases and old enough to be reduced in price. Starting at $27,950 CAD when new, buying used means getting one of Mazda’s best-performing SUVs at an even more reasonable price. This is an all-wheel drive powerhouse that can perform on the highway, on the city streets, and even off-road. Behind the wheel, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 responds quickly and moves with agility in any terrain.

When looking for a fun-to-drive SUV, the Mazda CX-5 GT and Signature trims include a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission for smooth acceleration. With 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, the CX-5 is significantly more capable than most of the other vehicles in its class. However, it’s not just power that the Mazda CX-5 brings to the table. This engine is remarkably efficient as well, with a rated fuel economy of 10.8 L/100 km in the city and 8.7 L/100 km on the highway.

As much as we love a powerful SUV, everyone wants a well-rounded vehicle that doesn’t sacrifice other features just to achieve optimal performance. Luckily, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is such a vehicle. The CX-5 also emphasizes safety and comfort, with features like Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, so you can stop craning your neck to check your surroundings and focus on the road. Your CX-5 will check for you and can put in automatic emergency braking if necessary.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 has plenty of such safety technology, but the interior is also loaded with tech to make your life as a driver easier. The center console digital display highlights and compliments the engine’s power and performance with a new Cylinder Deactivation System screen, which will help show the fuel efficiency of the four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine. Even when we try to talk about other features of the 2020 Mazda CX-5, it’s hard to avoid how interconnected the performance of the SUV is and how much it stands out.

A white 2020 Chevy Equinox is shown parked on a dirt path.

#2 – 2020 Chevy Equinox

The 2020 Chevy Equinox is another stunning SUV that can perform at ideal rates in whatever condition you find yourself in. What impresses us initially is the powerful engine in the Equinox. The 2020 Chevy Equinox comes standard with a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque and is not the most powerful engine around. However, the 2020 model year was also offered with an available 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will maximize the Equinox’s capabilities, churning out 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This super-powered engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

With this much power, you’ll be able to get where you need to go fast and pull along all your cargo without any trouble. Plus, the all-wheel drive system means you’re going to keep up a smooth and comfortable speed on or off-road. Whichever engine you find in your pre-owned 2020 Equinox, your Chevy SUV will prove to be a more than adequate performance vehicle for all your needs.

The Chevy Equinox is also quite efficient. All that power and performance wouldn’t be worth much if it costs you too much at the gas pump. Fortunately, even the 2.0-litre examples of the 2020 Equinox are rated for 10.8 L/100 km in the city and 8.3 L/100 km on the highway. This efficiency pairs well with the vehicle’s power and performance. If you can find a pre-owned 2020 Chevy Equinox and get behind the wheel, you’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat of a powerful, efficient, and all-around dependable SUV that compares well with any competitor.

In addition to a strong engine that performs admirably, there’s a lot to love inside the 2020 Chevy Equinox. For performance purists, this may not be as big of a deal, but we appreciate how spacious and luxurious the cabin of the 2020 Equinox is. Able to fit plenty of cargo, passengers, or some mixture of the two, you can bring along everything and everyone you need and won’t be sacrificing any of the power and efficiency.

#3 – 2021 Hyundai Kona

The 2021 Hyundai Kona started at $21,299 CAD when new and costs far less after a couple of years of depreciation. For that price, you get a subcompact SUV that can seriously boost your performance and power. The Hyundai Kona is slightly smaller than the CX-5 or Equinox, which might be favourable to some drivers. But its smaller size does not mean it has to sacrifice much in power.

Like the other vehicles on this list, the 2021 Hyundai Kona has two available engine options. The standard engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that can produce 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. If that’s not enough for you, and you require some more hardcore performance, there’s an available 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It might not seem like the most significant boost, but for drivers who want some more pep in their step––or should we say, in their wheels––this engine is definitely an upgrade. Not all pre-owned Hyundai Konas will feature the turbocharged engine, but those that do will include all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

In terms of fuel economy, both engine options offer dependable efficiency ratings for an SUV of this size. The basic 2.0-litre engine has a rated fuel consumption of 8.6 L/100 km in the city and 7.0 L/100 km on the highway. Keep in mind this rating is for an SUV with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available with the base engine. The 1.6-litre engine scores slightly worse in the efficiency department, with a fuel economy rating of 9.0 L/100 km in the city and 8.0 L/100 km on the highway with all-wheel drive. Either way, you will discover that with a pre-owned 2021 Hyundai Kona, you’re getting an SUV with significant power and efficiency advantages despite its smaller stature.

Fun on a Budget

All three vehicles we’ve discussed are excellent choices for anyone interested in a fun-to-drive used SUV. Each is an exciting option that will provide above-average power, speed, and performance without breaking the bank or being impractical in daily life. What we love is that each has a different specialty, and thus each will inspire different drivers. The 2021 Hyundai Kona is the most efficient of the bunch, with superior fuel economy ratings. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 has the most horsepower and torque available, making it stronger than its counterparts. Finally, the 2020 Chevy Equinox is a perfect middle-ground for drivers who want a balanced experience. Regardless of which stands out most to you, these are three of the most interesting options for a pre-owned SUV that isn’t boring to drive.

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