Christianne Harris has a 2006 Prius, which suits her duties as a GP, but her Bernese Mountain Dog is finding life cramped in the back. Her budget is around £20,000 to £30,000.

A Car for the Head

I think that another hybrid is out of the question. Just at the moment there are no van-like petrol/electric cars around. A great big Lexus RX 450h 4x4 might have room for the dog, but it won't fit into Christianne's parking space and would blow the budget. She shouldn't worry too much about paying a bit of road tax, especially as she will save a fortune if she goes for a small, spacious car such as a Skoda Roomster. Especially as its GreenLine II model has technological advancements such as a stop/start system, gear-change recommendation, and energy recuperation, improving economy and lowering CO2 emissions. The Roomster GreenLine II emits just 109g/km CO2 so that road tax is band B, which means free for the first year and £20 thereafter. Fuel consumption is 76mpg combined and it costs £16,195.

A Car for the Heart

If Christianne really wants a hybrid, then there is a dual-power version of the Toyota Auris called the HSD coming soon. A smaller Prius, with the same Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, may be more practical. There is plenty of room in the back for three adults so it should be fine for a dog, even a big one. The boot is also a decent size. Thanks to its full hybrid technology, Auris HSD can be driven in EV (electric vehicle) mode, powered by its electric motor alone, for up to 2km at speeds up to about 50kph, generating zero CO2 and NOx emissions. But Christianne will have to wait until the summer when the Auris will become the first of Toyota's standard models to be offered with the option of full hybrid, petrol and diesel engines.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.

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