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Best cars

Top 10 best small company cars 2024

Are you after a small company car with equally compact Benefit-in-Kind bills? These 10 cars should be on your shortlist

Best small company cars

Work perks don’t get much better than a company car, but not everyone needs something as big as an SUV or even a saloon car. Not only will a small company car save space, it could save you cash too – a lower purchase price often translates to a smaller Benefit-in-Kind tax bill for the driver.

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The Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company car tax system incentivises drivers to choose low-emissions models, with electric cars offering much lower monthly payments than their petrol rivals. For that reason, many of the cars on this list are electric as their value for money is hard to beat. However, electric cars don’t suit everyone’s driving habits, so we have included some hybrid and petrol cars, too.

Our comprehensive guide to the BiK company car tax system covers everything you need to know about leasing a company car and how much it’ll cost you.

Best small company cars to lease now

Below we have listed the best small company cars but if size isn’t a priority for you, you can read our more general list of the best company cars. We have also covered the top 10 best small cars if you’d like a broader overview of the current small car market.

Cupra Born review – a good-value and fun electric hatchback

Best Small Company Car: Cupra Born
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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Two-time winner of the Best Small Car category at our annual Car of the Year Awards, the Cupra Born rightfully sits at the top of this list. Based on the Volkswagen ID.3, the all-electric Born outshines its German twin in practically every area, despite costing less. It’s great to drive, has all the standard equipment you could need, and is styled with just the right balance of flair and subtlety. 

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Standard cars come with a 58kWh battery capable of up to 264 miles which should satisfy most drivers’ needs. If you plan to use your company car for big motorway miles, there’s a larger 77kWh battery – good for up to nearly 340 miles. A rapid charger will top up the battery from 0-80% in roughly 35 minutes, which isn’t too far off a Tesla Model 3.

At just over 4,300mm long, it’s not the tiniest car on this list, but interior and boot space benefit as a result. Opting for the larger battery drops the Born from five seats to four, so it’s worth considering whether range or passenger capacity is more important to you.

Starting at just over £36,000, and benefitting from the lowest 2% BiK rate, the Cupra Born ticks all the small company car boxes and won’t cost a fortune either.

BYD Dolphin review - our favourite new car

carbuyer car of the year 2024
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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Outright winner of our Car of the Year 2024, the BYD Dolphin should be on any small-car buyer’s shortlist, company car or not. With a focus on affordability, the Chinese electric supermini undercuts many models from more established brands, while still delivering impressive range and interior tech.

The Dolphin falls between the Ford Fiesta and Focus in terms of size, but the interior is more spacious than both, with excellent rear passenger legroom and a respectable 345-litre boot. Every model comes with a rotating, 12.8-inch infotainment touchscreen plus a small digital display behind the steering wheel. The general cabin design won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s hard to argue against the fit and finish of the Dolphin considering it starts from just over £30,000.

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That affordable price, combined with the electric car 2% BiK rating, makes the Dolphin an excellent value proposition for company car drivers.

Jeep Avenger review – a characterful and value-packed small SUV

Jeep Avenger petrol front 3/4
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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Another electric offering, the Jeep Avenger differs from the previous two entries with its chunky small SUV looks. It’s a far cry from the Jeeps of yesteryear, trading diesel power for a 154bhp electric motor and 248-mile range, and it’s all the better for it. The Avenger is smooth to drive with a stylish cabin and impressive practicality.

Underneath the rugged bodywork are the same electrical gubbins found in various Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall models. It’s a system we’re fond of, with 100kW DC rapid-charging capability and nippy acceleration around town. The SUV design results in a higher view of the road than a typical hatchback, which some drivers may prefer, and even bestows the Avenger with some light off-roading abilities.

For most company-car drivers, we doubt the off-road prowess will be of much concern – more important is the Avenger’s spacious interior, plentiful equipment and affordable starting price. Jeep also offers a petrol Avenger costing over £10,000 less but, due to its emissions, it will actually cost company-car drivers nearly 10 times more per year!

Vauxhall Corsa Electric review - cheap to run, but expensive to buy

Vauxhall Corsa Electric facelift UK drive front dynamic
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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The Vauxhall Corsa Electric packages the same electric powertrain found in the Jeep Avenger into a conventional supermini body, and at a slightly more affordable list price of £32,390. Like the Avenger, the electric Corsa is a relative company-car bargain compared to its equivalent petrol-powered model, thanks to its much lower BiK rate.

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Its 51kWh battery eeks out 246 miles of range – behind the Cupra Born, but still adequate for most drivers. There’s a cheaper, less powerful battery option with a 222-mile range, but opting for the bigger 51kWh unit won’t add much to your monthly BiK bill. Regardless, all Corsa Electric models get 100kW DC rapid-charging, brisk acceleration and sharp styling that was updated in 2023. 

Its interior lags behind rivals in terms of design and space and doesn’t feel as premium as you’d expect from a car costing over £32k. That’s less of an issue for company-car drivers who won’t be paying anywhere near that figure, but you can find better tech and a bigger boot in the aforementioned EVs.

Renault Clio review - E-Tech hybrid takes on EV rivals

Renault Clio UK
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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If you’re not prepared to make the switch to battery-power for your next company car, then a hybrid is likely your best bet – their low CO2 emissions figures will save you money compared to a regular petrol car. Out of the small hybrid cars on the market, the Renault Clio E-Tech is one of the best. 

Inside the Clio, you’re greeted by a surprisingly premium interior, equipped with plenty of tech and excellent materials. It’s comfortable on the motorway but really shines around town – the hybrid system is smooth, quiet and capable of powering the car up to 40mph. Get onto a twisty B-road and the Clio is equally impressive, striking a well-judged balance between handling and ride quality.

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The rear seats aren’t as spacious as some rivals, but the 301-litre boot is better than other hybrid superminis. A five-star NCAP safety rating tops off the Clio’s list of strengths, making it the hybrid hatchback to beat for company-car drivers.

Toyota Yaris review - a frugal hybrid supermini

Toyota Yaris Carbuyer drive
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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For commuting in and around towns and cities, cars like the Toyota Yaris make a lot of sense. It’s small, manoeuvrable and easy to place accurately on the road and, while not exactly bristling with power, it’s peppy enough to keep up with traffic. 

The Yaris comes as standard with a frugal hybrid system with either 114bhp or 129bhp. It's an automatic-only car, so there’s no need to deal with a clutch pedal in stop-start rush hour congestion. The standard equipment list is long and front passengers have plenty of space, but the Clio is both more interesting and roomy on the inside.

Being a hybrid, fuel economy is impressive (we achieved around 65mpg during our in-depth test), with that efficiency resulting in low CO2 emissions and a corresponding competitive Benefit-in-Kind rate of 22% for the entry-level model. That’s one band below the more expensive Clio, saving you some extra cash every month.

Peugeot E-208 review - stylish EV, but tight on space

Peugeot E-208
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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While many of the electric cars available now tend to be big and expensive, there are still options out there if you’d prefer something a bit smaller. For those looking for an electric supermini as their next company car, the Peugeot e-208 makes a tempting proposition – after all, it has the same stylish looks as the regular Peugeot 208, yet promises to be far more affordable to run.

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Being fully electric, the Peugeot e-208 doesn’t emit any CO2, so its Benefit-in-Kind rate is at 2% rather than the 25% rate for the least-emitting combustion-engined Peugeot 208s. With a range of up to 225 miles, longer commutes and drives to business meetings shouldn’t be too tricky, and since there’s spec parity across the range, the Peugeot e-208 gets the same stylish cabin and good standard equipment levels as the conventionally powered versions.

Mercedes A 250 e hatchback review

Best Plug-in Hybrid: Mercedes A 250 e
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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If you’d prefer a compact company car with a classy badge on the bonnet, then you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of premium models out there. One potential pick that’s worth considering is the Mercedes A-Class, thanks to its stylish, well-built interior, smooth ride and efficient engines that help make it a compelling option.

For company car buyers, the plug-in hybrid A250e model is the most sensible pick in the range. This is primarily because its low CO2 emissions and electric driving range of up to 46 miles put it in a very competitive company car tax band. Other A-Class models’ Benefit-in-Kind rates vary from 30% to 37% depending on the model, whereas the A250e’s rate is just 8%.

Honda Jazz review – an easy-to-drive hybrid supermini

honda jazz ex style
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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The Honda Jazz may not be the last word in style or fun handling, but where it does stand out is its overall usability. Its small, boxy proportions provide bags of interior space, and the cabin is also surprisingly stylish. Slightly sparse entry-level models aside, the equipment levels on the Jazz are pretty generous, too.

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Being an automatic-only hybrid car, the Honda Jazz is also easy to drive and handily economical around town, which will be music to the ears for drivers with urban commutes. With emissions from 102g/km to 110g/km, the Honda Jazz’s Benefit-in-Kind rates vary from 25% to 27%, which are fairly good when compared to other superminis and will help reduce the amount you’ll pay in company car tax.

Skoda Fabia review - a great-value, practical supermini

Carbuyer best small car Skoda Fabia
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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In comparison with the overwhelmingly electrified selection of cars here, the Skoda Fabia is a noticeable outlier. As things stand, it’s impossible to buy one with any form of electrified powertrain – even mild-hybrid options are exempt from the engine range. However, this doesn’t mean the Skoda Fabia shouldn’t be on your radar if you’re after a small company car that’s affordable to run.

Claimed fuel economy of up to 55.4mpg will help keep fuel bills down and, while the Fabia’s Benefit-in-Kind rates of between 27% and 31% aren’t the lowest on this list, they’re still respectable for a supermini that eschews any form of hybrid drive assistance. The Fabia’s also noticeably cheaper than many of its hybrid rivals, which in turn helps bring down the Skoda’s P11D value and saves you some money on your company car tax. Its roomy cabin, generous spec and comfy ride make the Fabia an even more compelling pick, too.

Company car buying advice

If you’re lucky enough to have one, a company car is a fantastic perk. It’s difficult not to get excited by a choice list with a catalogue of different cars to choose from and, as much fun as that is, it also makes sense for businesses to have their employees in modern, safe and fuel-efficient vehicles.

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It isn’t always the case, but most companies typically source their cars from leasing companies, which means they pay a fixed rate for the vehicles each month. As well as being a big draw for employees, that setup also works well for the business, because the contract with the leasing company usually includes the likes of maintenance and a replacement vehicle if the main car breaks down, so it’s an easy way of keeping your workers mobile.

Company cars are taxed in a different way to private ones, as drivers have to pay Benefit-in-Kind (BIK), which is worked out based on the price of the car including any options (known as the P11D value), the vehicle’s CO2 emissions and whether the employee using the car is a lower (20%) or a higher (40%) rate taxpayer. 

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), or private car tax, is also governed by CO2 emissions, but they make even more of a difference to company car Benefit-in-Kind. As a result, cars with a low P11D value and the lowest possible CO2 figures make the most sense for employees. 

Generally, this will mean affordable electric cars incur the cheapest company car costs and make for the best value proposition. Of course, not everyone is prepared to drive an electric car yet, be it due to a lack of a place to charge at home, or range limitations, so the next best alternative is often a hybrid car. They offer low CO2 emissions figures – especially plug-in hybrids – while providing the range typical of a combustion-engined car.

Where diesels were once the popular choice for company car drivers, their relatively high emissions figures, when compared to hybrids, mean a bigger BiK bill is practically guaranteed.

Read out lists of the top 10 best small cars or the top 10 best company cars...

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