What’s the Best Company Car for You?
Here are the top 12 company cars, using information from a variety of industry sources and the latest award winners. You might notice that the majority of them come from German manufacturers who have tended to be the dominant marques in this area:
- Best City Car: Volkswagen up!
- Best Small Car: Ford Fiesta
- Best Lower-Medium Car: Volkswagen Golf
- Best Premium Lower-Medium Car: Mercedes-Benz A Class
- Best Mid-Market Upper-Medium Car: VW Passat/Vauxhall Insignia
- Best Premium Upper Medium: BMW 3 Series
- Best Family MPV: Peugeot 5008/Citroen C4 Picasso.
- Best Compact SUV: SEAT Ateca
- Best Mid-sized SUV: Volvo XC60.
- Best Large SUV: Land Rover Discovery
- Best Executive Saloon: BMW 5 Series
- Best Luxury Saloon: Audi A8
Best City Car: Volkswagen up!
Numerous experts say the little VW captures all that’s good in cars this size and that the Up! is simply the best of the best. Its excellent residual values mean it has low whole-life costs. It has the typical great Volkswagen build quality, a decent spec and with its classic `wheel-in-each-corner’ chassis is quite entertaining to drive too and it’s a multiple winner in this hard fought category.
Best Small Car: Ford Fiesta
It’s hard to beat Britain’s best-selling car here, the Ford Fiesta. A new generation has recently arrived on the scene which is bigger, has more technology, is already seeing good residual values and looks set to be the market standard again.
It is significant though that many trade experts and journalists again mention a Volkswagen group product, the SEAT Ibiza, as a car which comes highly commended.
Best Lower-Medium Car: Volkswagen Golf
No contest, the Volkswagen Golf. This is THE benchmark for the mid-size hatchback market, the complete car which some say is as near faultless as a manufacturer can get. It has a good image, excellent residuals, good spec and interior and a wide range of engines which, crucially in the business market, includes a plug-in hybrid and an electric version.
Frankly, despite the best efforts of Vauxhall (Astra), Ford (Focus), Skoda (Octavia), Honda (Civic) and everyone else, the VW Golf is the undisputed king and perhaps the clearest winner of any category listed here.
Best Premium Lower-Medium Car: Mercedes-Benz A Class
The Golf-based Audi A3 is due to be replaced in 2019, but is still a strong seller and BMW’s rear-wheel drive is a fine handling machine, but both struggle to match the appeal of the all-new Mercedes-Benz A Class. This does ask a price premium and for the time being has a restricted range of engines, with no hybrid option, but it’s arguably the most sophisticated of the group and has a lot of cockpit features which have filtered down from Merc’s bigger cars.
Best Mid-Market Upper-Medium Car: VW Passat/Vauxhall Insignia
The main protagonists here are the Skoda Superb, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.
The Passat is currently not available in hybrid form, as production simply cannot keep pace with demand and the Skoda will have to wait until 2019, but that apart both are predictably outstanding in every area. The Ford does have a hybrid and the Vauxhall doesn’t, but the Insignia looks inviting.
Best Premium Upper Medium: BMW 3 Series
This is a very close sector with some evenly matched and highly capable machines fighting for honours, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Jaguar XE, Volvo S60, Lexus IS300 and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Of them all the BMW 3 Series Efficient Dynamics version makes a compelling case for itself. Arguably the best chassis, tax-friendly, good engines, a brilliant cockpit and rock solid residual just inch it ahead of the Audi and Merc, but there’s not a great deal to choose between the three German contenders.
Best Family MPV: Peugeot 5008/Citroen C4 Picasso
What is a car supposed to do, how well does it do it, how well does it perform relative to the opposition? These are the three questions any road tester will ask and these two French cars do precisely what you would look for in a family people carrier, perform their role extremely well and do it better than their rivals. Job done.
A super ride from both, low CO2 emissions for tax conscious business drivers, the Peugeot’s i-Cockpit, the Citroen’s style – this pair put a clear gap between themselves and the rest.
Best Compact SUV: SEAT Ateca
Now one of the most important markets of all, this is another ultra-competitive sector of the market, but the top step of the podium is reserved for yet more Volkswagen group products, either the SEAT Ateca or VW T-Roc. Very much the same car in their essentials, both tick all the boxes here.
Surprisingly good small capacity engines, a proper ride, bullet-proof build quality and good spec and high residuals which helps whole life costs.
It’s a fine balance, but the Ateca just feels that little bit more fun to drive so it gets the nod over the VW T-Roc, but by the narrowest of margins.
Best Mid-sized SUV: Volvo XC60
With a barrage of new models funded by huge (Chinese) resources, Volvo is on a roll at the moment. The XC60 is a winner in this category, it has a plug-in hybrid version, looks smart, the interior is as good and well equipped as anything you will find in rivals and better than many – its list of advantages is long. Brilliant.
Best Large SUV: Land Rover Discovery
Pedigree shows and Land Rover knows better than anyone how to marry on-road sophistication, cabin luxury and true off-road and towing capability better than anyone. The new, fifth generation Discovery is much lighter than before, thanks to its aluminium construction; it rides on air spring suspension, has the cabin quality to match your expectations and will genuinely pull your horsebox, caravan or other such heavy trailer with ease. Other than the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 the nearest rivals to the Discovery are other Range Rovers.
Best Executive Saloon: BMW 5 Series
Last year’s European Car of the Year and multiple award-winner since, the BMW 5 Series is the most convincing all-rounder here, beating Audi, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes. Just about faultless in every regard, it would take something exceptional to topple the German wundercar.
Best Luxury Saloon: Audi A8
For so many years the Mercedes-Benz S Class has been the category champion, usually put ahead of its nearest rival which was the BMW 7 Series; both are still extraordinarily capable machines.
The next generation Jaguar’s XJ promises to be something else though, if even half of what Jaguar is trailing comes off; for the time being the new Audi A8 arguably rules the roost. Not the most eye-catching of cars to look at maybe, but it has an incredible array of safety, driver aid and connectivity technology, a beautiful ride and a good engine range. A technical tour de force.