What Car? Personal Shopper: safest large SUV for less than £40,000

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...

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What Car? team
20 Jul 2017 14:53 | Last updated: 17 Sep 2018 15:53

Buying new

SUVs are some of the most popular cars in the UK and, from your car history (Ian mentioned he's driven alternatives to his GLE, including the BMW X5 and Volkswagen Tiguan), it looks like you want a premium badge, too.

The good news is that the steering wheel rotary ball you need can be fitted to any car, because it clips on to the car's existing steering wheel.

Our recommended choice: BMW X3

What Car? Personal Shopper: safest large SUV for less than £40,000

The X3 is one of the finest large SUVs on sale today. It has a stunning interior, including one of the finest and most intuitive infotainment systems you'll find in any new car, a broad range of engines and a good amount of space.

We recommend the 2.0-litre 20d diesel engine for its good performance and reasonable real-world fuel economy. This model, like all X3s, gets four-wheel drive as standard and is paired with a slick and responsive eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The X3's driving position is spot on, giving you a commanding view over the road ahead but also offering enough adjustability to keep you comfortable on longer trips. In terms of space, the X3 is again among the best in this class. A high roofline ensures that those in the front will have no problem with head room, and because the interior is fairly wide you're unlikely to be rubbing shoulders with the person next to you. It's a similar story in the rear, too, where a couple of tall adults can stretch out in comfort. And when it comes to boot space, you can fit up to eight carry-on suitcases with the parcel shelf in place – the same as a Land Rover Discovery Sport.

And what about safety kit? Well, all X3s come with automatic emergency braking, while extras including blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and rear cross traffic alert are reasonably priced options.

Prices for the X3 in our recommended xDrive20d diesel form in SE specification start at £40,120, placing it just outside of your 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 £38,373. Alternatively, if you plan on buying via a PCP finance deal, be aware that the X3 is a pricey choice – you'll be paying about £540 per month (based on a three-year deal at 5.9% APR, with a 15% deposit).

To find out more about the X3, read our full 16-point review, or view our X3 deals here.


Also consider: Jaguar F-Pace

What Car? Personal Shopper: safest large SUV for less than £40,000

Excellent to drive and resonably spacious inside. You also get plenty of kit as standard, including automatic emergency braking.

Read our full Jaguar F-Pace review or see our great deals.

Also consider: Audi Q5

What Car? Personal Shopper: safest large SUV for less than £40,000

The Q5 has one of the finest interiors you'll find in any new car, while its boot is spacious and comes with a powered tailgate as standard. Automatic emergency braking is standard, too.

Read our full Audi Q5 review or see our great deals.

Next: our recommended used car choice >