The best SUVs

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6 of the best Sports Utility Vehicles for £8000

SUVs are all the rage on the car market, and not just in the winter. Drivers love the great view of the road they provide, while many of the best large SUVs serve up seating for seven, so they’re the ultimate family cars. Of course, all this comes at a price, with steep fuel, tax and servicing bills. But if you buy second-hand, you can often get a bargain in the first place. Stuart Morton from Auto Express rounds up six of the best used SUVs on a budget of £8,000.
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Land Rover Discovery 3

Land Rover Discovery 3

The Land Rover Discovery 3 combined peerless off-road ability with genuine luxury and amazing practicality when it launched in 2004. The car set a new benchmark and although this budget only brings within reach the earliest examples (many of which suffered reliability problems), if you can find a cared-for model, you’ll be getting one of the best all-rounders money can buy. Not much can match the Discovery 3 over rough terrain, while its interior resembles that of a sumptuous limousine.
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Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Don’t be surprised to find a Hyundai so high up in our top six, as the Santa Fe is an excellent SUV. The latest car is even better, but buyers with £8,000 to spend won’t have to compromise too much.
Body roll is an issue and the steering could be more precise, but £8,000 buys a high-spec 2006 Santa Fe CDX with around 60,000 miles — a lot of car for the money.
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BMW X5

BMW X5

Who’d have thought a large SUV could be this good to drive? But the BMW X5 trades serious off-road ability for behind-the-wheel fun.
Its jacked-up suspension and four-wheel-drive transmission are really only for show, as the car is found wanting over challenging terrain. But it leaves other SUVs trailing on the road, as you’d expect from a BMW.
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Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen Touareg

You can just about afford a Porsche Cayenne for £8,000, but the Volkswagen Touareg, a product of the same joint venture, is a more exclusive and equally capable buy. Yes, the Touareg doesn’t have the badge kudos of the Porsche, but it doesn’t have the image problem, either. For £8,000, you’ll be looking at an 80,000-mile 2005 V6 TDI in well-equipped Sport spec. 
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Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90

The XC90 was introduced way back in 2002 and only now is Volvo gearing up to replace it. But the long production run means there are plenty of these brilliant seven-seater SUVs on the used market.The XC90 feels solid and well built inside, too. Best buy is the D5 diesel engine. Avoid the Geartronic auto, with its sluggish shifts. For £8,000, you can get your hands on a 60,000-mile 55-reg D5 SE.
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Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t as glamorous as the Discovery, but it has unrivalled reliability record and unstoppable off-road ability. It’s not quite so capable on the road, although family buyers won’t care when they see there’s seating for up to eight. It's not cheap to run and is unlikely to return more than 25mpg. But for £8,000, you should find an LC3 with just under 100,000 miles which if serviced regularly, should never break down.
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