Not too long after the jack o’ lanterns hit the compost pile and your obnoxious uncle goes in for a second helping of pumpkin pie, winter weather will be here. After last winter’s polar vortex and months of snow, no one can blame you if you’re thinking about getting a vehicle that can handle whatever Jack Frost throws at it.

The 2012 Subaru Forester is a top choice for a used compact SUV. (Subaru of America, Inc.)

For most people, a snow-ready vehicle means an SUV, but SUVs can be expensive. By opting for a used SUV, you can pay substantially less than you would for a new one. Used SUVs from the 2012 model year are good buys right now because leases from 2012 are starting to end. A used SUV from 2012 that was leased is likely to have low miles and have been fairly well maintained. Most of the technology and safety features in used SUVs from 2012 are still pretty up-to-date. Here are the best 2012 SUVs to buy now.

[See our full Best Used SUV Rankings]

Compact SUVs can not only handle some pretty bad winter weather, but they also do it without using too much gas. Their smaller size makes them a bit easier to maneuver and stop in snow. Despite smaller exterior dimensions, the best used compact SUVs still have plenty of passenger and cargo space – because where there’s snow, you’re going to need snow gear. Your best bets for a 2012 used compact SUV are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester and GMC Terrain.

[See full Used 2012 Compact SUVs Ranking]

If you need seating for more than five people, you’re going to want to go for a used midsize SUV. Though they weigh more than compact SUVs, and thus require a little more caution when trying to stop on slick roads, midsize SUVs tend to have higher ground clearance, making them better equipped to handle deep snow. The best used midsize SUVs from 2012 are the Mazda CX-9, Buick Enclave, Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse.

[See full Used 2012 Midsize SUVs Ranking]

In each class, these used SUVs are the top models, because they have the best combination of positive reviews from professional car reviewers when they were new, good safety and reliability ratings and low operating costs.

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