What Car? Personal Shopper: hybrid SUV for less than £30,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top recommended choice and some new and used alternatives to consider, and we'll even tell you how much we can save you

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Buying new

Sales of hybrid and electric cars in this country are growing, but they still represent only around 5% of new car sales so far in 2018. And that means you'll be standing out from the crowd in more ways than one. It's important to remember that, by buying an electrified car, you also qualify for the Government's electric vehicle grant. In the case of most plug-in hybrid cars, that means you get up to £2500 to help you buy your car.

Our recommended choice: Mini Countryman PHEV

The Mini hatchback is consistently among the best-selling new cars in the UK and the Countryman transposes its cutesy looks onto a larger, more practical SUV body. It's got a decent boot, handles well and the interior is of a high quality and well laid out. Moreover, because Mini is owned by BMW, its infotainment system looks and works very much like iDrive – that's a good thing because we think it's the best system around.

You can choose from a range of 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines in the Countryman, but here we're recommending the PHEV, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It features a 1.5 petrol engine working in conjunction with an electric motor and can travel for up to 26 miles on electric power alone. And, depending on your weekday commute, that means you could get to the office and back without using the engine at all. We like its sprightly performance around town, and while it does tail off above 50mph, it's still an excellent choice if you mainly drive on urban roads with only occasional longer trips.

Despite having a heavy battery pack to lug around under the rear seats, those in the back are still unlikely to complain about head or leg room. And while the boot is smaller than what you'll find in regular Countryman models, you'll still be able to get more inside than you would in, say, a Volkswagen Golf.

The Countryman S E All4 PHEV starts from £31,905, which would push it out of your £30,000 budget. As ever, though, What Car? can help lower that price and our New Car Buying service can get you the same car for a more palatable £27,840. Alternatively, if you plan on buying via a PCP finance deal, look to pay about £426 per month (based on a three-year deal at 5.9% APR, with a 15% deposit).

To find out more about the Countryman PHEV, read our full 16-point review, or view our Countryman PHEV deals here.

Also consider: Kia Niro

Available in either hybrid or plug-in hybrid forms, the Niro has a spacious interior and a long warranty.

Read our full Niro review or see our great deals.

Also consider: Kia Soul EV

Why not go fully electric? If you can charge it up at the office, the Soul EV could be on your shortlist. It has a real-world range of around 70 miles, is spacious for the class and has a long warranty.

Read our full Soul review or see our great deals.

Next: our recommended used car choice >

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