The Best Used Cars for Active Lifestyles

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - August 10, 2016

For buyers with long buckets lists, finding the perfect used car is about more than price and reliability. They want a ride that's in sync with their active lifestyles, whether that entails offroad adventures, cross-country vacations, or hauling DJ equipment to gigs. It all comes down to getting the right blend of capability, cargo space, and fun. Here are our picks for the best used cars to complement your active lifestyle:



Honda Pilot

A family-size crossover with room for eight, the Pilot is a pleasant a highway cruiser that's rugged enough to tackle campsites and blizzards. The spacious interior is chock full of storage options and offers a surprising level of comfort and refinement. Most have been used in suburban duty only, so well-cared-for examples are in good supply.

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Volkswagen Tiguan

Most mass-market compact crossovers are high on practicality and low on excitement. An exception to this rule is the charismatic VW Tiguan. It's fun to drive, powerful for its class, and just quirky enough satisfy your rebel streak. Perhaps that's why the Tiguan has always appealed more to active singles and couples than families.

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Subaru Outback

A favorite of the outdoorsy set, the Outback offers wagon versatility with a dose of ruggedness. Subaru's excellent all-wheel drive system comes standard, and there's 8.7 inches of ground clearance for light offroading. Otherwise, the Outback behaves likes a civilized passenger car with plenty of features for the price.

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Honda Element

While technically a compact crossover, the boxy Element looks like it belongs in a class of its own. The tall body provides excellent visibility and an impressive 74.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The floor is made of textured urethane for easy cleanup, and seats are covered in special stain-resistant fabric. All-wheel drive was available during the entire 2003-2011 model run.

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Land Rover Range Rover Sport

The Sport offers the same legendary off-road capability as the full-size Land Rover, but in a midsize package that's far less pretentious (and costly). Performance and comfort are exceptional for an SUV, and yet the Sport feels right at home in the muddiest pits and streams.

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Toyota 4Runner

A traditional midsize SUV with truck-like capability, the brawny 4Runner can seat up to seven passengers and swallow nearly 90 cubic feet of cargo. Add to that it's inherent off-road capability and 5,000-pound towing capacity, and you have the quintessential do-it-all activity vehicle.

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Nissan Xterra

Here's another midsize SUV that never strayed from its roots. The Xterra's utilitarian looks might scare off urban dwellers, but that's the whole point. True off-road adventure is all in day's work, especially for the hyper-capable Pro 4X variant. You also get a comfortable cabin for five and up to 65.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The Xterra enjoyed a long run (2000-2015), so well-preserved examples are easy to find.

Find your used Nissan Xterra>>


, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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