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Nowadays, many first-time drivers prefer SUVs over any other type of vehicle. This is because SUVs aren’t what they once were in the eyes of younger people. Now, SUVs can be cool, and though often more expensive than sedans, there are quite a few gently used SUVs on the market that aren’t overly expensive. Here are three, all of which are from the 2017 model year.

2017 Toyota RAV4 is one of the best used SUVs

2017 Toyota RAV4 in white
2017 Toyota RAV4 | Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In general, the Toyota RAV4 is a solid choice for just about any driver. However, the 2017 model is especially great for first time drivers in search of a gently used SUV. The 2017 Toyota RAV4 is a reliable vehicle, meaning it should be void of severe issues for years to come. In fact, J.D. Power gave the vehicle an 87 out of 100 predicted reliability score, which is phenomenal. 

Additionally, the 2017 RAV4 has a decently powerful engine for a vehicle its size. It comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four with a maximum output of 176 horsepower and a torque of 172 lb-ft. It’s front-wheel drive and uses a six-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 also has all-wheel drive versions. Luckily, this is also an incredibly safe compact SUV as it was a top safety plus pick from the NHTSA. 

2017 Buick Encore 

2017 Buick Encore is great for first time drivers
2017 Buick Encore | Buick

Buick may not be the coolest automaker in the eyes of a first time driver. However, the automaker has pretty reliable and safe SUVs, and the 2017 Buick Encore is easily one of the best used SUVs. According to Edmunds, this model has a standard turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four that makes 138 hp. Like the Toyota RAV4, it has both all-wheel and front-wheel drive configurations. 

The 2017 Buick Encore also has an 87 out of 100 predicted reliability score, which is above average. Additionally, Consumer Reports believes the vehicle to be more reliable than other cars of its time. Though not a top safety plus pick, this Buick SUV has a five out of five-star rating from the NHTSA. This SUV also has a great cabin, so finding one that’s well taken care of is paramount. For interior technology, it has a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen. 

2017 Chevy Equinox

2017 Chevrolet Equinox from the front. It's great for first time drivers.
2017 Chevrolet Equinox | Chevrolet

The 2017 Chevrolet Equinox is another of the best used SUVs for first time drivers. The vehicle is a great choice because it’s both spacious and has a modern look on the inside. It may not be as upscale as the 2017 Buick Encore, but it does have a 7.0-inch display that uses Chevrolet MyLink. Additionally, it has a pretty good car sound system. 

Regarding performance, the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox has a 182 hp 2.4-liter inline-four under its hood. It’s front-wheel drive on the base trim, but others are all-wheel drive. The 2017 Chevy Equinox accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour between 7.8 and 8.7 seconds. The SUV has a 78 out of 100 predicted reliability rating, which is neither the best nor the worst. It has a four-star rating from the NHTSA.

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