The Los Angeles Everyman's Used SUV Buying Guide: How to Own Your Shopping Experience from Start to Finish

In search of your next used SUV here in the LA metro area? You've got your work cut out for you. There's a lot to consider. That's because the market for pre-owned SUVs is a little different than the new one.

For one, no automaker sets prices on any used SUVs, here in the City of Angels or anywhere else; used SUV dealerships like ours do. Second, the pre-owned selection available today varies widely, much more so than new. After all, there are low-mileage, late-model trade-ins everywhere, not to mention well-cared-for crossovers coming off leases. Finally, pre-owned ownership costs are low, often a lot lower than new. That's on just about everything, too, from the money you put down and depreciation (already little or none anyway) to insurance and maintenance fees. The takeaway: buying used offers the most value for the lowest investment possible.

Sounds great for starters, right? But, you might say, with so many pre-owned SUV models and trims to choose from here in Los Angeles, it's still kind of hard to tell where to begin shopping. Not to worry. With the market as driver-friendly as it is these days, you can start anywhere you like. To help you get started, take some advice from our experts.

1. Keep Your Options Open

Take full stock of your needs to start. Sure, you already love this or that SUV brand and model for what you've heard, read, and seen, but is it right for you? The answer can get lost in the details.

Do you and your significant other need added comfort and a little extra storage space for frequent weekend getaways? You might prefer a compact SUV like Honda HR-V or CR-V versus something mid-size like Pilot. Do you drive in tougher road and weather conditions, even sometimes venturing off-road? You might want to look at Toyota 4Runner or Subaru Forester. Of course, if you prefer a versatile urban runabout with a pleasant everyday drive, you might like a subcompact SUV like Ford EcoSport or FIAT 500X. If fuel economy's of primary importance, on the other hand, often, a base model is more efficient than a luxury trim.

The list goes on, of course -- be thorough; you might even find you're having more fun than you thought!

2. Do Some Serious Research

These days, the Internet makes learning more about used SUVs and crossovers a whole lot easier. Check out websites such as Autotrader.com and KBB.com, under the well-regarded Cox Automotive umbrella. The latter's the Internet wing of the research and valuation expert Kelley Blue Book, so that's a great place to start. Either way, however, you'll find a wealth of info, from model details and side-by-side comparisons to reviews from experts and your fellow drivers and more. That's not to mention a ton of data on vehicle worth and value. Before long, that road could lead straight one you're looking for. Then...

3. Visit a Used SUV Dealer Prepared

Note a few models and trims that check as many of your boxes as you're comfortable with. Then, lay down a budget. Finally, bring all that vehicle info you've compiled in a file with you when you drop in to check out a used inventory like ours here on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Here's a list of important elements to include:

  • Your SUV's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • A Vehicle History Report from a reputable service history company like CARFAX
  • A copy of your credit report, if you're planning to apply for auto financing
  • Any applicable car loan pre-approval information
  • Price, insurance, and extended warranty quotes, if applicable
  • Trade-in value information, if you plan to make one

Most importantly, take plenty of good notes! There'll be a lot more to learn during things such as dealer inspections, not to mention that test drive you've been looking forward to. They'll be handy when you reference them later during your decision-making process.

If you've got any questions or concerns while shopping for an SUV here on the Web, you're always welcome to give us a call here at Honda of Downtown Los Angeles or send us a note using our online contact form. And, as always, feel free to stop by to schedule an in-person consultation. We'll be happy to help steer you in the right direction!

Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory