The car is reasonably spacious within, has an SUV-lite body that is very much on trend, and is trimmed in interesting materials that give the cabin a singularly cosy and likeable atmosphere.
Dynamically, the MX-30 also stands out – although only when you’re travelling with a bit of pace on an interesting road. With 143bhp and 199lb ft, the electric version didn’t blow our socks off in a straight line, but the weighting of the steering and the supple manner in which the suspension transfers weight while cornering are genuinely reminiscent of the MX-5 sports car. The R-EV version is heavier, with less settled body control – but still enjoyable to drive.
There is plenty to like about the unusual Mazda MX-30, then; not least as a rare sub-£35k PHEV that can qualify for eight per-cent benefit-in-kind tax.
Read our Mazda MX-30 R-EV review
9. Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e
Pros: plenty of design appeal, impressive digital technology, useful electric range
Cons: hybrid powertrain isn’t the smoothest when working hard, can lack traction in the wet
Modern hybrid company cars can be deceptive things. Many come with a headline tax qualifying electric range attached that can look attractive; but, once you dress the car up with the equipment, bodystyle, wheels and trim you want, five per-cent ‘BIK’ can turn into eight per-cent; or eight per-cent into twelve-.
This is because PHEVs now have to lab-tested right down to a level of detail that takes in optional extras and trim levels. If you want to be sure of getting a particular tax rate, then, it pays to reckon on a bit of extra breathing space when you look at electric range figures in a brochure or on a car review. And one PHEV that gives you that space is the Mercedes CLA 250e.
This is Mercedes’ compact ‘style saloon’. Sharing its platform with the bigger-selling A-Class, it adds swoopier bodywork and frameless doors, for that extra helping of visual allure. And, besides as a four-door coupe, it can also be had as a designer ‘shooting brake’ estate.