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3 Certified SUV you can’t miss in Ontario

The appeal of a certified used SUV is understandable. They offer great practicality with a near go-anywhere ability. Fortunately, for those interested, there is quite a selection of quality pre-owned SUVs to peruse from on the market each with their own strengths available at a reasonable price point.

Nissan Rogue

One of the best-selling SUV on our lot is the second-generation Nissan Rogue. Prices for a base trim higher mileage 2015 model starts from around $14,000, while a mid-range lightly worn SV 2017 model will be asking for around $27,000.

You’ll get a similar experience regardless of which end of the spectrum you opt for, but the 2017 model received a minor facelift with restyled lights, front grille, and standard LED daytime running lights. Every model got a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated inline-4 paired with a CVT, which provides adequate, if unimpressive, acceleration for daily use. It manages a rated combined fuel economy of 8.6 l/100km.

What you’ll get for your money though is a nicely equipped SUV with an emphasis on comfort and quality. The Nissan Rogue has been praised for its impressive comfort, maintaining excellent ride quality over perilous terrain. Road noise is contained, making it an enjoyable drive over long journeys. It also sports a classy styling, with very solid material choices throughout inside. Handling isn’t particularly enticing though as a trade-off for comfort.

The base S trim offers a solid kit, such as 17″ steel wheels, rear camera, 5″ infotainment system and keyless entry. Step up to the SV for a set of 17″ alloys, power driver seat, six-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery. The 2017 SV model could also opt for the Midnight Edition which added stealthy styling cues. The top-line SL trim fetched you 18″ wheels, 7″ touchscreen satnav, surround cameras, nine-speaker Bose sound system and heated steering.

Especially interesting is the fact that the S and SV trim could go for an additional row of foldable seats, turning the Nisan Rogue into a compact 7-seater. AWD is also available as an option.

Dodge Journey

A newer model that’s also a solid choice is a pre-owned Dodge Journey. It entered production in 2009 and has remained largely the same throughout its model years, bar a mild styling refresh and powertrain tweak during 2011. 2015 models are starting at around $14,000, while 2017 models can ask for roughly $26,000.

The Journey came offered with a whole host of power-train combination. That said, the most memorable flavor and the one you’ll want to opt for is the 3.6-litre naturally-aspirated V6 with the 6-speed automatic transmission. The V6 livens up the Journey by a whole lot, offering exhilarating performance even by today’s standard for an SUV of its size. More importantly, it didn’t sacrifice all that much efficiency compared to the aging 2.4-litre inline-4, managing 14.5 l/100km city and 9.9 l/100km highway.

Additionally, the Journey provides a supple ride, frivolously absorbing bumps and crevasses on road, with the V6 maintaining a smooth and refined drive at highway speeds. The inline-4 may exhibit more noise but will provide an easier time to service and repair. While it is a heavy car, and you can feel the weight around corners, it never feels threatening to drive.

The interior of the Journey boasts robust material choices while being uncluttered and pleasant to live with. It also offers a fair amount of passenger space front and rear, and a seven-seater option was available, with built-in booster seats. There are also storage spaces littered around the cabin. Perfect for families.

A lot of trim levels were available for the Journey, which is already nicely kitted on the standard SE trim, but most amenities found on upper trim levels were available on lower trim levels as optional extras. Most notable options include the excellent 8.4″ UConnect infotainment touchscreen, 17″ alloys, third-row seats, and leather upholstery. If you don’t mind a harsher ride, the GT trim provided sports suspension and big 19″ wheels and came with V6 as standard.

Ford Escape

The third-generation Ford Escape is dissimilar to previous options considering that it did get a big facelift midway through for the 2017 model year. 2015 models can be found at around $14,000, while 2017 facelifted models will be asking for approximately $25,000.

The big discrepancy between the pre and post-facelift models include the exterior styling, minor interior changes, a new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine and a tweaked 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, and new safety techs like lane departure prevention, driver drowsiness alert and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.

Otherwise, the third-gen Ford Escape is commended for its car-like handling traits, instilling plenty of driver confidence with a quick steering, eager turn-in and high traction levels. Ride quality remains remarkable, with it handily managing bumps and maintaining a hushed attitude on the highways. The optional 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4 available boasted impressive performance and punch, but the base engines are adequate to live with.

Interior of the Escape proved to be comfortable, with quality build and good material choices. Front and rear passenger space are also abundant. Intriguingly, the Escape sports a more exciting interior aesthetics compared to its peers.

Equipment on the base S trim is solid, 17″ steel wheels, cruise control, 4.2″ infotainment system, rear camera, etc. Step up to the SE trim though, and you can find a more efficient turbocharged engine, 17″ alloys, 8-way power driver seat, keyless entry keypad and upgraded cloth upholstery. The highest Titanium trim offers plenty of creature comforts like hands-free power tailgate, keyless entry, 10-speaker Sony audio system, driver-seat memory and ambient interior lights.

With so many options available on the market though, this is just touching the surface. Take your time, and you’re bound to end up with an enjoyable ownership with the right SUV for your needs.