Best company cars
There are so many attractive choices these days that picking the best company car can be quite a challenge. We look at the best of today's most popular models
Half of all new cars registered in the UK are purchased for company car fleets. When choosing a company car, you'll want to keep a close eye on costs, with a car's Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability a deciding factor.
For decades the diesel engine was the default choice of the company-car driver. Now, however, a diesel model that doesn’t comply to RDE2 standards incurs a 4% BiK surcharge (up to 37%) over petrol models with the same emissions figure. This means you need to consider if you will drive enough miles to justify the amount you’d save in fuel over the higher BiK cost and related income tax.
In recent years though, petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid, and electric cars have all become increasingly popular with company-car drivers thanks to more beneficial BiK tax rates. For 2020-21, business users of electric cars will pay absolutely no BiK tax whatsoever. By comparison, a former company-car favourite, the Ford Mondeo, now attracts a steep BiK rate when specced with a 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Here is our list of the 10 best company cars you can buy today.
The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate hybrid is a great choice for company-car drivers who are looking for impressively low running costs, low company car tax and lots of space. The estate version also uses the hatch’s 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre hybrid powertrains, which can both can return over 60mpg in its most frugal specification. Low CO2 emissions of 83 to 89g/km ensure a low company car BiK liability. It’s not the last word in driver engagement but it does offer a well-designed, comfortable cabin and a huge 581-litre boot, matching more expensive rivals with ease.
The latest BMW 3 Series has again proven an easy choice for company-car drivers, following on from the previous generation model as it does with a very well equipped and beautifully built interior, good handling and strong engines. You'll not be disappointed on a twisty road; the car's rear-wheel drive (or optional four-wheel-drive xDrive) setup is responsive and well balanced, and even the less powerful models are fun to drive. With an electrically assisted engine, the 330e plug-in hybrid is the model to pick. It can cover up to 37 miles on electric power, and is a potential money-saver due to a low BiK rate as a result of 39g/km of CO2.
The Jaguar I-Pace is the firm’s first attempt at an electric car and undercuts the rival Tesla Model X with a starting price of just under £64,000. As a zero-emissions electric car it gets an affordable BiK rating and boasts stunning exterior design and a beautiful interior, even on the entry-level S spec. It’s also practical, thanks to a 656-litre boot and a small boot under the bonnet. With a range of up to 292 miles and a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds, the I-Pace easily matches a majority of the cars on offer here for range and ability.
The Peugeot 3008 has managed to gain a strong foothold in the highly competitive SUV market, thanks to its design, build quality, and a spacious and practical interior, all of which make it one of the best offerings in its class. Our pick would be the GT Line trim level, which gets you kit such as Peugeots’ i-Cockpit infotainment and LED headlights. When specced with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, the 3008 GT Line is capable of up to 56.3mpg while emitting 104g/km of CO2, giving it an affordable BiK rating.
The new Clio offers a much more upmarket interior, hybrid technology and more space. Those factors are not only plus points for a supermini but also for a good company car. The soft touch materials and 9.3-inch portrait infotainment touchscreen inside the cabin impress, as does the Clio’s great balance between comfort and handling. Renault reckons the Clio E-Tech hybrid version will save 40% of the fuel normally used in urban driving. Most company-car drivers will pick the three-cylinder 1.0-litre TCe 100 petrol engine as it has a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band. The BiK surcharge levied against diesel engines means the 1.5-litre diesel is in a slightly higher BiK band, so it'll only be worth it for long-distance drivers who don’t want a bigger car.
Volvo has been on a hot streak in recent years; the latest models have maintained the brand’s reputation for safety while gaining an upmarket edge to rival anything from Germany. The Volvo XC60 is an excellent example of this progress with an SUV that is good-looking, comfortable, refined and packed with an array of modern tech. Our pick for company car drivers would be the XC60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid model. This can manage around 30 miles on electric power, producing only 49g/km of CO2 when specced with smaller wheels in sporty R-Design trim, giving it a low BiK rating.
If you’re looking for an electric SUV with one of the best ranges, look no further than the Kia e-Niro, which can travel up to 282 miles. This puts it in the same league as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron, which are almost double the price of the e-Niro. The exterior might be a little bland but the Kia’s boxy dimensions provide a spacious interior and a 451-litre boot capacity. Reliability and owner satisfaction is well proven too, as the Niro finished 10th out of 100 cars in our recent Driver Power survey. We can think of no other EV that is better suited to everyday family life and it’s a car that’s almost unbeaten as an all-round electric car package. Even better, company-car drivers will appreciate the low rate of BiK tax, which drops to absolutely nothing for the 2020/21 tax year.
The Skoda Superb iV plug-in hybrid joined the Superb range as Skoda’s first electrified car, and is expected to account for up to a quarter of sales. Company drivers will appreciate the Superb’s comfort and relaxed driving manners, as well as the excellent build quality. The Superb iV uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery, which together can deliver up to 34 miles of electric range. The main reason company-car drivers will go for this powertrain over the diesel is because of the significant BiK tax savings but they should also love the Superb iV as it's such a great all-rounder.
The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most famous hybrid, mainly because it was one of the first on the market back in the 1990s. The current fourth-generation model has undergone a recent facelift but it still looks and feels like an evolution of previous versions. There may now be a plug-in version but we still think the standard hybrid is the one to go for if you’re a company-car driver. It returns up to 67.2mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 75g/km for a very reasonable BiK tax rating. The Prius doesn’t provide drivers with much in the way of enjoyment but it’s easy to live with thanks to tidy handling and a CVT gearbox.
Mercedes offers the plug-in hybrid E-Class with both petrol and diesel engines, known as the E 300 e and the E 300 de respectively. The E-Class was already a great all-rounder but the added bonus of plug-in hybrid economy boosts its appeal as a company car. The E 300 de diesel plug-in hybrid uses the same 191bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine from the E 200 d along with a 121bhp electric motor for a maximum output of 302bhp. It can travel up to 34 miles on electric power alone, meaning many drivers won’t have to use any diesel for their daily commutes. The battery of the E 300 de can be fully charged in two hours from a 7.4kW wallbox.
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